• Donald Fleming, a University of British Columbia chemist involved with the experiment, thought that perhaps as bromine and muonium co-mingled, they formed an intermediate structure held together by a “vibrational” bond—a bond that other chemists had posed as a theoretical possibility earlier that decade.
  • At the time of the experiment, the necessary equipment was not available to examine the milliseconds-long reaction closely enough to determine whether such vibrational bonding existed. Over the past 25 years, however, chemists' ability to track subtle changes in energy levels within reactions has greatly improved, so Fleming and his colleagues ran their reaction again three years ago.
  • Based on calculations from both experiments and the work of collaborating theoretical chemists, they concluded that muonium and bromine were indeed forming a new type of temporary bond. Its vibrational nature lowered the total energy of the intermediate bromine-muonium structure—thereby explaining why the reaction slowed even though the temperature was rising

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