Cage effect

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The cage effect in chemistry describes how properties of a molecule are affected by its surroundings.

In a solvent a molecule is often more accurately described existing in a cage of solvent molecules, the so-called solvent cage. Reactions occur when a molecule occasionally "jumps out" and meets another molecule. Typical cage lifetime in a solvent cage is 10−11s.[1]

Other examples include how in a gas at low pressure a normally highly reactive and short lived molecule can be contained. Also, specific host-guest interactions occur in inclusion compounds.


  1. ^ Herk, L.; Feld, M.; Szwarc, M. Studies of "Cage" Reactions. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1961, 83, 2998-3005.