Karl O. Christe

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Karl Otto Christe
Born Karl Otto Christe
(1936-07-24) July 24, 1936 (age 78)
Ulm, Germany
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, University of Southern California, USC
Alma mater University of Stuttgart
Doctoral advisor Josef Goubeau
Known for Fluorine Chemistry and homoleptic nitrogen compounds
Notable awards Tolman Award (2011)

Karl Otto Christe (born July 24, 1936) is an inorganic chemist. His research covers fluorine chemistry of nitrogen and halogens and the synthesis of new energetic materials. For his research, Christe was most recently awarded the Richard C. Tolman award in 2011.


In 1957 Christe began his chemistry studies at the University of Stuttgart. He prepared both his diploma- (1960) and Ph theses (1961) under the supervision of Josef Goubeau. In 1962 Christe immigrated to the USA and settled in California. He started working as a senior research chemist with Stauffer Chemical Co in Richmond/CA. In 1967 he joined Rocketdyne Division Rockwell International in Canoga Park where he became the manager of research in 1978. In 1994 he accepted split positions between the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base and the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute of USC. In 2005, he moved full-time to USC where he is working as a research professor.[1][2][3][4]


Since the 1960s, Christe is investigating the synthesis of new fluorides of nitrogen, halogen and the halogen oxides as well as their ions. Notable examples are the synthesis of both NF4+ and ClF6+. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Henri Moissans first production of fluorine, Christe in 1986 reported about the first truly chemical synthesis of fluorine. Another important field of his work covers the research on homoleptic nitrogen compounds for use in energetic materials. In this context he synthesizing the bent Pentazenium, N5+, and was the first to experimentally detect the cyclic Pentazolate, N5-. Both compounds are considered important mile-stones on the way to even heavier polynitrogen compounds. In 1996 Christe was the first to propose the use of ionic liquids as energetic materials in propulsion systems. He is currently working on the development of oxidizers to replace banned ammonium perchlorate. Christe has authored over 400 peer-review publications, and has more than 60 patents.


Publications (selection)[edit]

  • Guertin, Jacques P.; Christe, Karl O.; Pavlath, Attila E. (1966). "Complex Fluoro Cations. II. Tetrafluoronitrogen(V) Cation, NF4+. Synthesis and Properties of NH4+AsF6-". Inorganic Chemistry 5 (11): 1921. doi:10.1021/ic50045a018. 
  • The hexafluorochlorine (VII) cation, CIF6+, K. O. Christe, Inorg. Nucl. Chem. Lett. 8, 751, (1972)[5]
  • Christe, Karl O. (1973). "Hexafluorochlorine(VII) cation, CIF6+. Synthesis and vibrational spectrum". Inorganic Chemistry 12 (7): 1580. doi:10.1021/ic50125a021. 
  • Christe, Karl O. (1986). "Chemical synthesis of elemental fluorine". Inorganic Chemistry 25 (21): 3721. doi:10.1021/ic00241a001. 
  • Christe, Karl O.; Wilson, William W.; Sheehy, Jeffrey A.; Boatz, Jerry A. (1999). "N5+: A Novel Homoleptic Polynitrogen Ion as a High Energy Density Material". Angewandte Chemie International Edition 38 (13–14): 2004. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1521-3773(19990712)38:13/14<2004::AID-ANIE2004>3.0.CO;2-7. 
  • Vij, Ashwani; Pavlovich, James G.; Wilson, William W.; Vij, Vandana; Christe, Karl O. (2002). "Experimental Detection of the Pentaazacyclopentadienide (Pentazolate) Anion, cyclo-N5-ˆ’". Angewandte Chemie 114 (16): 3177. doi:10.1002/1521-3757(20020816)114:16<3177::AID-ANGE3177>3.0.CO;2-I. 
  • Jones, C. Bigler; Haiges, Ralf; Schroer, Thorsten; Christe, Karl O. (2006). "Oxygen-Balanced Energetic Ionic Liquid". Angewandte Chemie International Edition 45 (30): 4981. doi:10.1002/anie.200600735. 
  • Christe, Karl O. (2007). "Recent Advances in the Chemistry of N5+, N5- and High-Oxygen Compounds". Propellants, Explosives, Pyrotechnics 32 (3): 194. doi:10.1002/prep.200700020. 


  1. ^ "Prof. Karl O. Christe". Zoominfo.com. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "2011 Karl O. Christe, USC". Scalacs.org. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Karl O. Christe, ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CANOGA PARK CA ROCKETDYNE DIV.". Google.com.np. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  4. ^ BROWNE, MALCOLM W. "New Nitrogen Ion Carries Warning: Handle With Care". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "The hexafluorochlorine (VII) cation, CIF6". Sciencedirect.com. 1972-08-31. Retrieved 2013-10-27. 

External links[edit]