Cyanamide (NH2CN) was initially discovered in Sgr B2 in the mid 1970s by
Turner et al. with
the NRAO 36-foot radio telescope
based upon two rotational transitions. Since these line positions were estimated rather than measured, a
later experimental study by Johnson et al.
served as important confirmation of the detection and as the basis for subsequent assignments. As of the
2002 revision of Frank Lovas' NIST Recommended Rest
Frequencies for Observed Interstellar Molecular Microwave Transitions, nearly 30 lines have been
assigned to cyanamide. Many of these were assigned in the line surveys of Sgr B2 by
Cummins et al. (1986) and
Nummelin et al. (1998). Later experimental
work by Read et al. contributed to many of these
assignments. While most of the cyanamide observations have been restricted to Sgr B2, one blended line was
assigned to cyanamide in observations of the Orion molecular cloud by
Jacq et al. in 1990.
Cyanamide has been observed in at least two extragalatic sources: in
NGC 253 (the
Silver Dollar galaxy) by
Martín et al. and in
Cigar galaxy) by
Aladro et al.
Cyanamide is used in agriculture,
for example, to control dormancy of
grape vines, as a feedstock in the production of pharmaceuticals, and as an