Image of one troy ounce of arc melted iridium

Facts about Iridium:

  • Iridium: Iridium is a metallic element with a silvery-white appearance at standard temperature and pressure (STP)
  • Fun fact about Iridium: Iridium is named after the greek goddess of rainbow, Iris, due to the discovery of the element in strongly coloured salts.
  • Chemical symbol: Ir
  • Atomic number: 77

A crystal structure containing Iridium:

Image showing a tetrairidium (blue atoms) cluster with bulky supporting ligands.

Facts about this structure:

  • Formula: C207 H255 Ir4 O21 P3,3(C H Cl3)
  • Structure name: tris(μ2-Carbonyl)-hexacarbonyl-tris(5,11,17,23-tetra-t-butyl-25-(diphenylphosphinomethoxy)-26,27,28-tri-n-propoxycalix(4)arene-P)-tetra-iridium chloroform solvate
  • Fun fact about the structure: The number of calixarene phosphine ligands bound to the iridium cluster core contributes to the unique chemical and mechanical stability of the cluster
  • CSD refcode: WAWBIH (What's this?)
  • Associated publication: Alexander Okrut, Oz Gazit, Namal de Silva, Rita Nichiporuk, Andrew Solovyov, Alexander Katz, Dalton Transactions, 2012, 41, 2091, DOI: 10.1039/C1DT11734C

More info:

Iridium was discovered in 1803 as part of a residue left when crude platinum was dissolved in aqua regia. Iridium has many applications due to its attractive physical and chemical properties. Iridium is resistant to corrosion and most acids; therefore, is used as a catalyst and as an alloying agent. Iridium alloys are used in aircraft engine parts, deep-water pipes and spark plugs. Iridium is also used in devices such as high-temperature crucibles due to its high melting point. In Marvel's The Avengers, Dr. Erik Selvig needed iridium to stabilize the tesseract-created portal to bring the Chitauri to Earth. However, there is no known use of iridium in stabilizing space portals.

More info about the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) in crystals project:

This project (#IYPTCrystals) is part of the International Year of the Periodic Table celebration (#IYPT2019), read more about the project here. You can follow us on social media using #IYPTCrystals and learn more about the wonders of crystals by following the CCDC on Twitter @ccdc_cambridge on Facebook ccdc.cambridge, on Instagram ccdc_cambridge or on YouTube CCDCCambridge.

If you want to find out more about some of the terms and concepts we have a Frequently Asked Questions Page.

A visualisation showing the structure containing Iridium alongside other structures published in the same scientific article: