We report the observation of a covalently bound species, formic sulfuric anhydride (FSA), that is produced from formic acid and sulfur trioxide under supersonic jet conditions. FSA has been structurally characterized by means of microwave spectroscopy and further investigated by using density functional theory and ab initio calculations. Theory indicates that a π2 + π2 + σ2 cycloaddition reaction between SO3 and HCOOH is a plausible pathway to FSA formation and that such a mechanism would be effectively barrierless. We speculate on the possible role that FSA may play in the Earth's atmosphere.
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