Tetranitratoxycarbon, more formally known as tetrakis(nitratoxycarbon)methane, is a hypothetically-possible molecule, not yet synthesised, and unknown to science until ten-year-old Clara Lazen (a fifth-grader in Kansas City, Missouri) assembled a model of it in 2012. She is credited as co-author of a scientific paper on the molecule.
Science teacher Kenneth Boehr was using ball-and-stick models to represent simple molecules during a fifth-grade class, when ten-year-old Clara Lazen assembled a complex model and asked whether it was a real molecule.
Unsure of the answer, Boehr sent a picture of the model to a chemist friend, Robert Zoellner, a Professor in Chemistry at Humboldt State University. Zoellner checked the molecule against the 'Chemical Abstracts' database and confirmed that Lazen's had a unique and previously unrecognized structure.
Tetranitratoxycarbon consists of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon, with molecular structure C(CO3N)4. As an oxygen-rich compound of carbon and nitrogen, similar to nitroglycerin, it is predicted to have explosive properties, but to be too thermally unstable for practical use.
- Zoellner, Robert W.; Clara L. Lazen; Kenneth M. Boehr (2012-01-01). "A computational study of novel nitratoxycarbon, nitritocarbonyl, and nitrate compounds and their potential as high energy materials". Computational and Theoretical Chemistry 979: 33–37. doi:10.1016/j.comptc.2011.10.011. ISSN 2210-271X. Retrieved 2012-02-03.
- "Professor Confirms, Publishes 10-year-old’s New Molecule". Humboldt State Now. Humboldt University. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "10-Year-Old Accidentally Creates New Molecule in Science Class". Popular Science. Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- "Ten Year Old "discovers" explosive". Explosci.com Now. Explosci. Retrieved 20 March 2012.