Science 321, 1069–1071 (2008)

The formation of compounds containing silicon usually involves the silicon atoms changing their oxidation states. But Gregory Robinson, Paul von Schleyer and their colleagues at the University of Georgia in Athens have produced a stable silicon compound in which the silicon stays in its 'zero oxidation state'. Silicon atoms in this state are normally highly reactive, but on this occasion are attached to large carbon-based rings that stabilize them.

The researchers verified this outcome with X-ray crystallography: if the silicon atoms were in an oxidation state of '+2', the molecule would be flat, but it is bumpy. And from bond-length measurements, it seems that the two silicon atoms in the compound are connected to each other by a double bond. They have one free pair of electrons and another pair donated by the organic attachment.