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Molecules that smell like camphor

Molecules that smell like camphor

A700/0093

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Credit

DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Similar-smelling molecules. Computer-generated molecular graphics of 6 molecules which all smell like camphor, despite the fact that they all have very different shapes. The aromatic properties of these and other chemicals suggest that their smell is dependent upon their molecular bond vibrations, rather than the molecules' shape. The molecules seen here are (clockwise from top centre): camphor, 1-8 cineole, ferrocene, bicyclooctane, 1-4 dichlorobenzene, and naphtalene. The spheres are colour-coded to represent different atoms: carbon is grey, hydrogen is blue and chlorine is green. The red spheres represent oxygen in camphor & 1-8 cineole, and represent iron in ferrocene.

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