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Cubane (C8H8) is named appropriately; its skeleton is in the shape of a cube. At each corner of this cube there is a carbon atom (carrying a hydrogen) bound to three identical neighboring carbons. This molecule was thought only to exist in theory up until it was synthesised in1964 by Philip E. Eaton, a professor at the University of Chicago, and ever since has it proved fascinating, providing some unique chemistry.

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It was such a radical molecule at the time, and still is, as the whole system is highly strained. The internuclear C-C-C bond angles sit at 90º, far from the tetrahedral angle of 109.5º. This causes huge amounts of energy to be stored within the bonds of cubane and so gives birth to a whole range of applications.

Cubane was the first from a growing family of highly strained ring sytems which have been synthesised in the years following cubane. Triprismane and pentaprismane are two other such examples: