The Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction is named after B. P. Belousov who discovered the reaction and A. M. Zhabotinsky who continued Belousov´s early work. The mechanism of this oscillating reaction was published in 1972 by R. J. Field, Endre Körös, and R. M. Noyes. The work by Field, Körös and Noyes opened an entire new research area: nonlinear chemical dynamics.
In its classical form the BZ reaction consist of a one-electron redox catalyst, an organic substrate that can be easily brominated and oxidized, and bromate ion in form of NaBrO3 or KBrO3 all dissolved in sulfuric or nitric acid. As catalysts mostly Ce(III)/Ce(IV) salts, Mn(II) salts and ferroin are used. Also Ruthenium complexes are now extensively studied, because of the reaction´s sensitivity against light and light perturbations. As organic substrate normally malonic acid (HOOC-CH2-COOH, MA) is used, instead of Belousov´s original citric acid. Alkyl-substituted malonic acids have been found useful in mechanistic studies, particularily by NMR.
– Peter Ruoff