Current Chemistry News

The latest research news.

Electron rivers
Rivers of Electrons

Usually, the movement of electrons in a real material is rather different from the flow of water in a river. However, in extraordinary materials like the metal oxide palladium cobaltate, "electron rivers" can exist, as predicted theoretically over fifty years ago and now demonstrated by scientists from the MPI CPfS.

Image: One of the created "electron rivers". The flow takes place along the purple channel, and is studied using instruments attached to the blue, red, green and gold-coloured parts [Image credit: MPI CPfS].

Mechanism for Radiation Damage Identified
Mechanism for Radiation Damage Identified

Heidelberg scientists examine electronic decay processes with the aid of quantum chemistry.

What exactly are the processes when x-ray photons damage biomolecules with a metal centre?

[Credit: Internetchemie]

 Mistakes in the blueprint for proteins
About the Formation of Protein Aggregates in Cells

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry report on the decryption of a cellular mechanism that explains the formation of protein aggregates.

Figure: Mistakes in the blueprint for proteins (mRNA) lead to the production of useless proteins in the ribosomes. Since the quality control is broken, these proteins accumulate and form toxic aggregates.

[Credit: Monika Krause (C) MPI of Biochemistry]

Burgundy truffles
No Radioactive Caesium in Truffles

Screening truffles for radioactivity 30 years from Chernobyl.

Image: Burgundy truffles ready for analysis. Scientists have analysed Burgundy truffles collected in central Europe and found they contain only negligible amounts of radioactive caesium, being safe for consumption.

[Credit: Simon Egli, WSL]

Magnetic Handshake
Magnetic Handshake between Iron Atoms

A research team was able to switch the magnetic handedness of an iron pair between left- and right-handed.

The Figure shows a pair of magnetic iron atoms on top of a platinum crystal surface as 'seen' with a scanning tunneling microscope. The spectra of the left and right atom, taken with the same microscope, show characteristic gaps, that tell the scientists a clockwise rotation of the atoms' magnetization exists, as illustrated by the clockwise rotation of the arrows from the green to the red sphere representing the iron atoms. The reason for this right-handedness is a peculiar magnetic handshake mediated by the platinum atoms in the substrate below the iron pair which breaks the mirror symmetry, as apparent from the mirror image on the bottom.

[Credit: University of Hamburg]

Sisyphus cooling
Ultracold Formaldehyde by Sisyphus Cooling

Scientists at MPQ produce an extremely cold gas of organic polar molecules.

Figure: Illustration of the various processes that take place during Sisyphus cooling of polar molecules [Graphic: MPQ, Quantum Dynamics Division].

Alkali Fulleride K3C60
Footballs With No Resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Image: Intense laser flashes remove the electrical resistance of the alkali fulleride K3C60.

This is observed at temperatures at least as high as minus 170 degrees Celsius.

[Credit, picture: J. M. Harms/MPI for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter]

Magnesium quantum logic spectroscopy
First direct observation of a quantum leap in a molecule

A deep look into a single molecule: The quantum state of a magnesium molecular ion has been measured live and in a non-destructive fashion for the first time.

Figure - Basic concept of the experiment: MgH+ (orange) and Mg+ (green) are trapped together in a linear ion trap. The two-ion compound is cooled to the motional ground state via the atomic ion.

An oscillating dipole force changes the motional state according to the rotational state of the molecular ion. This motional excitation can be detected on the atomic ion.

[Credt: PTB]

Arylboronates made easy
Arylboronates Made Easy

Abandoning expensive and toxic materials in chemical synthesis: This is the goal pursued by scientists at the University of Wurzburg. In the magazine Angewandte Chemie, they describe a new way to achieve this goal, a surprise included. [Image Credit: Todd Marder]

Colloid Neutron Scattering
A Model System for so-called Soft Colloids

A New Study shows Correlation between Microscopic Structures and Macroscopic Properties - and offers a Recipe Book for Colloids.

Image: Using neutron scattering, researchers were able to study the structure of their samples. The size of the rings in the image can, for example, define the distance between two colloid particles.

[Image credit: Forschungszentrum Julich]

A stable borole
Boroles get a stability boost

Boroles could be a highly interesting class of materials for practical use in photovoltaic or LED applications - if it weren't for the molecules' extreme instability. Chemists from Wurzburg have now discovered a powerful stabiliser.

Image: Fluoromesityl groups boost the stability of boroles. F stands for fluorine, B for boron and C for carbon.

[Credit, picture: Todd Marder]

Van der Waals Force Re-Measured
Van der Waals Forces Re-Measured

Julich physicists verify nonlinear increase with growing molecular size.

Image: Schematic experimental setup. When different types of molecules are removed from the metal surface, the van der Waals forces can be determined by frequency changes at the tip of the atomic force microscope. Their findings have been published in Nature Communications and could help to improve fundamental simulation methods for chemistry, physics, biology, and materials science.

[Image Credit, Copyright: Forschungszentrum Julich]

Molecular Banister
Chemists Build a Molecular Banister

Chemists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have succeeded in twisting a molecule by combining molecular strands of differing lengths.

Image: Based on the strands of different lengths (blue and gray), the new helical molecule (right) adopts a spatial arrangement (schematic diagram in the center) that resembles the banister of a spiral staircase [Credit, Illustration: University of Basel, Department of Chemistry].

Buckyball Molecules Grow
Buckyballs: Live Images from the Nano-cosmos

Researchers watch layers of football molecules grow.



This is an artist's impression of the multilayer growth of buckyballs.

[Credit: Nicola Kleppmann/Technical University Berlin, Germany]

Normalized activity
Decay rates of radioactive substances are constant

Precise activity measurements on Cl-36 samples refute a dependence of the decay rate on the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

Image: The normalized activity as a function of time shows no dependence on the season in PTB's data, contrary to the data obtained at the Ohio State University Research Reactor (OSURR) [Image credit: PTB].

Strongest material
Carbon's New Champion

Rice University theorists calculate atom-thick carbyne chains may be strongest material ever.



Rice University researchers have determined from first-principle calculations that carbyne would be the strongest material yet discovered.

The carbon-atom chains would be difficult to make but would be twice as strong as two-dimensional graphene sheets.

[Credit: Vasilii Artyukhov, Rice University].

Biomass catalytic tandem reaction
A Tandem for Biomass

Catalytic tandem reaction for the conversion of lignin and bio-oil by hydroxylation of phenols to form arenes.

Image: The conversion of lignin into low-boiling-point arenes instead of high-boiling-point phenols could greatly facilitate conventional refinery processes. A new procedure for the depolymerization of lignin and simultaneous conversion phenols into arenes is described.

[Source: Angewandte Chemie]

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H He
Li Be B C N O F Ne
Na Mg Al Si P S Cl Ar
K Ca Ga Ge As Se Br Kr
Rb Sr In Sn Sb Te I Xe
Cs Ba Tl Pb Bi Po At Rn
Fr Ra Uut Fl Uup Lv Uus Uuo

Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn
Y Zr Nb Mo Tc Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd
  Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg
  Rf Db Sg Bh Hs Mt Ds Rg Cn

La Ce Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu Gd
  Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu

Ac Th Pa U Np Pu Am Cm
  Bk Cf Es Fm Md No Lr