December 2014

Silicon Nitride

The discovery of the diatomic radical silicon nitride (SiN) was reported in 1992 by Turner, who detected it toward the circumstellar cloud IRC+10216 (CW Leo) via five rotational transitions that were observed with the NRAO 12 m telescope on Kitt Peak. Schilke et al. subsequently reported the presence of SiN in the interstellar medium, toward Sgr B2(M), in 2003.

Other Si-containing diatomics that have been detected to date include: SiO (1971), SiS (1975), and SiC (1989). Diatomic SiN is too reactive to persist very long once formed, but silicon nitride (Si3N4) is a very stable material.

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