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Buckyballs: Live Images from the Nano-cosmos
Researchers watch layers of football molecules grow.
Image: This is an artist's impression of the multilayer growth of buckyballs [Credit: Nicola Kleppmann/Technical University Berlin, Germany].
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].
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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].
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. The method can also be rendered as a fundamental finding for the upgrade of bio-oils to arenes under mild conditions [Source: Angewandte Chemie].
Direct Imaging of Covalent Bond Structure
Atom by atom, bond by bond, a chemical reaction caught in the act - Berkeley Lab scientists make the first-ever high-resolution images of a molecule as it breaks and reforms chemical bonds.
Image: The original reactant molecule, resting on a flat silver surface, is imaged both before and after the reaction, which occurs when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Celsius. The two most common final products of the reaction are shown [Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley].
Add Boron for Better Batteries
Rice University theorists say graphene-boron mix shows promise for lithium-ion batteries.
Image: A theory developed at Rice University determined that a graphene/boron compound would excel as an ultrathin anode for lithium-ion batteries. The compound would store far more energy than graphite electrodes used in current batteries [Credit: Vasilii Artyukhov/Rice University].
Nano-forest for Solar Water-splitting
Berkeley Lab researchers report first fully integrated artificial photosynthesis nanosystem.
Image: This is a schematic of the nanoscale tree-like heterostructures used for solar-driven water splitting in which TiO2 nanowires (blue) are grown on the upper half of a Si nanowire (gray), and the two semiconductors absorb different regions of the solar spectrum. Insets display photoexcited electron-hole pairs separated at the semiconductor-electrolyte interface to carry out water splitting with the help of co-catalysts (yellow and gray dots) [Credit: Peidong Yang group/Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley].
Elaborate nanostructures blossom from a chemical reaction perfected at Harvard.
Image: These false-color SEM images reveal microscopic flower structures created by manipulating a chemical gradient to control crystalline self-assembly [credit: Wim L. Noorduin, Harvard University].
First Ionization Potential of Astatine
Scientists uncover the fundamental property of astatine, the rarest atom on Earth.
Image: An international team of scientists, including a University of York researcher, has carried out ground-breaking experiments to investigate the atomic structure of astatine (Z=85), the rarest naturally occurring element on Earth. The element is of significant interest as its decay properties make it an ideal short-range radiation source for targeted alpha therapy in cancer treatment.
Sulfate aerosols cool climate less than assumed
Life span of cloud-forming sulfate particles in the air is shorter than assumed due to a sulfur dioxide oxidation pathway which has been neglected in climate models so far.
Image: Measurement Station Schmücke. HCCT 2010 (Hill Cap Cloud Thuringia 2010) - A ground-based integrated study of chemical-aerosol-cloud interactions at the Schmücke Mountain in the Thuringian Forest in September/October 2010 [Credit: Dr. Stephan Mertes, TROPOS].
Mysterious Catalyst Explained
How tiny gold particles aid the production of plastic components.
Image: At the interface between a gold particle and the titanium dioxide surface, an oxygen molecule is activated by a charge transfer and becomes catalytically active. Thus, methanol can be efficiently and selectively oxidized to formaldehyde; water is produced as well [Credit: M. Farnesi Camellone, D. Marx].
Inexpensive, super-sensitive device detects even low levels of toxic metals in water, fish.
Image: Commercial strip of glass covered with a film of 'hairy' nanoparticles, a kind of a 'nano-velcro,' that can be dipped into water to measure mercury levels [Credit: The Grzybowski Group, Northwestern University].
Shine and Rise - Light-activated Reversal of Anesthesia.
Azobenzene derivatives of propofol increase GABA-induced currents in the dark form and loose this property upon light exposure and thus function as photochromic potentiators. The coumpound can be employed as a light-dependent general anesthetic in translucent tadpoles.
IU chemist develops new synthesis of most useful, yet expensive, antimalarial drug.Key to the success of the strategy was the development of mild, complexity-building reaction cascades that allowed the use of readily available, affordable cyclohexenone as the key starting material.
Luminescent ink from eggs: C-dots can be made by plasma pyrolysis and used as printer ink.
Image: How do you like your eggs? Amphiphilic carbon dots (CDs) with intense blue fluorescence have been produced from chicken eggs by treatment with plasma. They are used as effective 'fluorescent carbon inks' for multicolor luminescent inkjet and silk-screen printing [Credit: Angewandte Chemie].
Northwestern University researchers have broken a world record by creating two new synthetic materials with the greatest amount of surface areas reported to date.
Image: Researchers have synthesized, characterized, and computationally simulated the behavior of two new metal-organic framework (MOF) materials displaying the highest experimental Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface areas of any porous materials reported to date (7000 m2/g) [Credit: JACS, ACS].
Rice University researchers fine-tune time-resolved spectroscopy for the study of molecular-scale fluorescent targets.
Image: Researchers at Rice are working to optimize results from photoluminescent probes essential to the study of microscopic structures like cells, proteins and DNA. The technique doubled the efficiency of a hairpin-shaped probe called a molecular beacon (at left) to find a specific DNA sequence by maximizing the amount of signal pulled from the background noise.
Caltech chemists identify the molecular mechanism by which such catalysts work.
Image: Harry Gray's group at Caltech added a set of ligands to cobalt, slowing the reaction so that they could observe a key intermediate and then determine the chemical mechanism [Credit: Caltech/Marinescu et al.].
A new feedback mechanism operating between vegetation and cloud formation could enhance the climate change.
Image: The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes an evaporation decrease of plants. As a result fewer cumulus clouds form, more sunlight reaches the ground - the climate change intensifies [Picture: Bart van Stratum].
RUB-Biophysicists use surface-sensitive spectroscopy to analyse the interaction between proteins and pharmaceuticals.
Image: New Bochumer Combination Method - Infrared spectra provide information about structural changes in proteins. To study proteins that are activated through ligand-binding, the Bochumer researchers anchored the molecules to a lipid bilayer (gray) via a His-Tag [Credit: Philipp Pinkerneil und J. Gueldenhaupt].
Potassium salts from fungi and plants initiate the formation of aerosol particles upon which moisture from the air condenses.
Image - Plant salts in clouds over rainforests: organic compounds condensate at potassium salts out of plants and fungi, so that aerosol particles form. They act as condensation seeds for fog and cloud droplets. How and why plants emit nonvolatile anorganic salts is as of yet unknown [Credit: C. Poehlker, MPI for Chemistry]
Image: This is the first time sugar been found in space around such a star, and the discovery shows that the building blocks of life are in the right place, at the right time, to be included in planets forming around the star. The astronomers used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to detect the molecules.
Image: Scientists have long debated whether it was a hydroxyl (OH) radical or a form of iron known as the ferryl ion, [Fe(IV)O]2+, that functioned as the reaction intermediate for the Fenton reaction, with data to support both theories [Credit: Chemical Science, DOI 10.1039/C2SC20099F]
Designing tiny molecules that glow in water to shed light on biological processes: University of Miami researchers are creating fluorescent molecules that can be turned on and off in aqueous environments to visualize activity within cells [Image credit: Francisco Raymo / University of Miami].
Unraveling intricate interactions, 1
molecule at a time: In key step towards design of better
organic electronic devices, Columbia engineering team makes
first single-molecule measurement of Van Der Waals
interactions at a metal-organic interface [image
credit: Columbia Engineering].
Genetic Code for Gold Nanoparticle Morphologies: DNA holds the genetic code for all sorts of biological molecules and traits. But University of Illinois researchers have found that DNA's code can similarly shape metallic structures.
A German-Danish team is now presenting new findings about mustard oils in plant science in Nature - with interesting prospects for agriculture.
Image: When caterpillars or other hungry insects feed on glucosinolate-containing plants like broccoli, the glucosinolates get in contact with the enzyme myrosinase, that releases mustard oils. These ward off the insects [Picture: Dietmar Geiger].
A network of porous carbon tubes that is three-dimensionally interwoven at nano and micro level - this is the lightest material in the world.
Image: An Aerographite in the making. It offers enormous potentials - e.g. for the production of batteries. Aerographite is water-repellent, jet-black and electrically conductive [Credit: Kiel University].
Image: Bacteria are often classified into Gram-positive and Gram-negative strains by staining with crystal violet (CV). The described bioorthogonal modification of CV with trans-cyclooctene (TCO) can be used to render Gram-positive bacteria magnetic with tetrazine-functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNP-Tz). This method allows class-specific automated magnetic detection and magnetic separation [Credit: Angewandte Chemie, Wiley-VCH].
Ions, not particles, make silver toxic to bacteria. Rice University researchers report too small a dose may enhance microbes' immunity.
Image: Silver ions delivered by nanoparticles to bacteria promote lysis, the process by which cells break down and ultimately die, which makes silver nanoparticles a superior and widely used antibacterial agent [Credit: Zongming Xiu/Rice University].
New method knocks out stubborn electron problem: A newly published article in Physical Review Letters eliminates one of the top unsolved theoretical problems in chemical physics as ranked by the National Research Council in 1995.
Illustration of the two-electron model: David Mazziotti, a professor in chemistry at the University of Chicago, has solved a longstanding problem in quantum theory: how to compute the energies and properties of any atom or molecule in terms of just two of its electrons [Credit: Kasra Naftchi-Ardebili].
Vanadium pentoxide nanoparticles mimic natural enzymes and inhibit surface build-up of algae and bacteria.
Like the natural enzyme vanadium bromoperoxidase vanadium pentoxid nanoparticles act as a catalyst for the formation of hypobromous acid from bromide ions (contained in sea water) and small amounts of hydrogen peroxide that are formed upon exposure to sun light.
Synthetic diamond steps closer to next generation of high performance electrochemical applications: Element Six and the University of Warwick partnership explores electrochemical properties of boron-doped synthetic diamond electrodes.
Stanford scientists spark new interest in the century-old nickel-iron battery.
Image: Stanford scientists have developed an ultrafast Edison battery by growing iron oxide crystals on graphene sheets and nickel hydroxide crystals on multi-walled carbon nanotubes [Credit: Hialiang Wang, Stanford University].
The blue blood of the emperor scorpion
x-rayed: Biologists from Mainz University are the first to
successfully crystallize the 24-meric hemocyanin of the
emperor scorpion to shed new light on the structure and
active site of the giant oxygen transport protein
[Image credit: E. Jaenicke et al (2012), PLoS One
Rapid test uses origami technology to detect adenosine.
Image: An origami sensor is printed on a single piece of paper, folded into a three-dimensional fluidic device, and encapsulated by thermal lamination. Aptamer is trapped in the fluidic channel, where it binds to the target and releases an enzyme to generate a signal. The device is read out using a digital multimeter [Angewandte Chemie].
Graphene? From any lab! - Researchers from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and the Interdisciplinary Research Institute in Lille developed a low cost method for manufacturing multilayered graphene sheets.
Image: A graphene oxide sheet (left top) and a graphene surface with attached tertathiafulvalene (TTF) molecules (right bottom)[Credit: IPC PAS, Piotr Gdziorowski].
UCLA chemists solved a molecular mystery, and report the discovery in the journal Nature Communications.
Image: Achiral triangles form chiral super-structures: colored patches represent parallelogram outlines around pairs of triangles that have formed chiral super-structures. Parallelograms having different 'handedness' and orientations are color-coded and superimposed over each other.
Chemical engineers at UMass Amherst find
high-yield method of making p-xylene from biomass.
Image: Reasearchers investigated a renewable
route to p-xylene from biomass-derived dimethylfuran and
ethylene with zeolite catalysts. Cycloaddition of
ethylene and 2,5-dimethylfuran and subsequent
dehydration to p-xylene has been achieved with 75%
selectivity using a H–Y zeolite and an aliphatic solvent
at 300 °C [Credit: University of Massachusetts,
Scientists at the University of Cambridge
and the Babraham Institute have demonstrated a new technique
that will transform epigenetics research: The quantitative
sequencing of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine
at single-base resolution [image credit:
Protein design is technique that is
increasingly valuable to a variety of fields, from
biochemistry to therapeutics to materials engineering.
University of Pennsylvania chemists have taken this kind of
design a step further; using computational methods, they
have created the first custom-designed protein crystal [Image
credit: Christopher MacDermaid, University of
The first seconds in a building’s life:
X-ray diffraction studies of cement hydration on the
Image: Highly dynamic hydration processes that
occur during the first seconds of cement hydration were
studied by time-resolved synchrotron X-ray diffraction.
Polycarboxylate ether additives were found to influence
the formation of the initial crystalline hydration
products on a molecular level [Credit: Angewandte Chemie
Biocompatible, waterproof, self-healing,
and reversible: A new adhesive for medical applications?
Image: Bioinspired underwater chemical bonding
with the possibility of phototriggered debonding is
reported. A four-arm star-poly(ethyleneglycol)
end-functionalized by nitrodopamine was synthesized
[Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition].
An 11,000 year-old deep-sea sponge
provides a record of past environmental changes in the sea.
Image: Microscopic image of a glass sponge. The
image shows a one millimeter cross section of the
skeleton of Monorhaphis chuni. The lamellae grew inside
outwards during the 11,000 years [Credit: Werner E. G.
Müller, University Medical Center Mainz].
Keeping track to selenium metabolism:
Spanish and Danish researchers have developed a method for
the in vivo study of the unknown metabolism of selenium, an
essential element for living beings. The technique can help
clarify whether or not it possesses the anti-tumour
properties that have been attributed to it and yet have not
been verified through clinical trials.
Scientists of the University of
Innsbruck, Austria, tested a new chemical modification of
RNA molecules successfully for the first time. The results
of the close cooperation of two research groups of the
Centre for Molecular Biosciences (CMBI) have been published
in the journal ACS Chemical Biology.
Image: A fluorescent dye lightens up the modified
RNA in the cell [Credit: University of Innsbruck].
A new strategy for selective
Image: A team of researchers have discovered that
individual atoms can catalyze industrially important
chemical reactions such as the hydrogenation of
acetylene, a development with potentially significant
economic and environmental benefits.
[Image/Figure courtesy of
Sykes Laboratory-Tufts University]
2 for 1: Simultaneous size and
electrochemical measurement of nanomaterials.
Image: Schematic of NIST's 'eSANS' cell. A highly
porous, sponge-like carbon electrode maximizes surface
area for electrochemical reactions while structural
details like particle size and configuration are
measured using neutron scattering [Credit: Prabhu/NIST].
PDMAEMA stars as 'premium vectors' for
the life sciences: magnetic nanoparticles.
Image: Schematic presentation of the new magnetic
vectors: PDMAEMA arms attached to a crystalline iron
oxide core stretch in all directions. The nanoparticle
thus assumes a star-shaped appearance[Credit: Department of Process Biotechnology,
University of Bayreuth].
Image or Mirror Image? - Chiral
recognition by femtosecond laser.
Image: A circular dichroism effect in the +/- 10
% regime on randomly oriented chiral molecules in the
gas phase is demonstrated. The signal is derived from
images of photoelectron angular distributions (see
picture) produced by resonance-enhanced multiphoton
ionization and allows the enantiomers to be
distinguished. To date, this effect could only be
generated with a synchrotron source. The new tabletop
laser-based approach will make this approach for more
accessible [Credit: Angewandte Chemie].
Responding to the radiation threat -
Berkeley Lab researchers developing promising treatment for
safely decontaminating humans exposed to radioactive
Image: This octadentate HOPO is a sequestering
agent that can encapsulate actinides, such as this
plutonium atom (gold), into tightly bound cage-like
complexes for excretion out of the body [Image by Zosia
Rostomian, Berkeley Lab].
Breakthrough in designing cheaper, more
efficient catalysts for fuel cells.
Redesigned catalyst for producing hydrogen
Molybdenite (top) is a
popular catalyst, but reactions take place only at edge
sites (circle) where a molybdenum-sulfur-sulfur triangle
protrudes. UC Berkeley/LBNL chemists have created
molecules (bottom) with only an active site triangle
that efficiently convert water to hydrogen.
[Credit: Christopher Chang
and Jeffrey Long, UC Berkeley]
Tellurium detected for the first time in
Image: Ultra pure tellurium crystal. Using
near-ultraviolet spectra obtained with the Space
Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space
Telescope,scientists detect neutral tellurium in three
metal-poor stars [Credit: MIT].
Synthesis and identification of
Image: All metastable and stable phases can be
identified for the solid solution arsenic/phosphorus by
a combination of quantum-chemical calculations and
investigations of the phase formation. Reaction paths
for phase formations and transitions in situ were also
evaluated. The results show that orthorhombic black
arsenic (o-As) is metastable in pure form and has only
been previously obtained by stabilizing impurities
[Credit: Angewandte Chemie].
Tiny silver particles trap mercury:
Hyperstoichiometric reaction between mercury ions and silver
Image: As the diameter of silver particles is
decreased below a critical size of 32 nm, the molar
ratio of aqueous HgII to Ag0
drastically increases beyond the conventional Hg/Ag
ratio of 0.5:1, leading to hyperstoichiometry with a
maximum ratio of 1.125:1. Therein, around 99 % of the
initial silver is retained to rapidly form a solid
amalgam with reduced mercury [Credit: Angewandte
The quest for sugars involved in origin
of life; team from University of the Basque Country manage
to isolate a sugar in gas phase for first time in history.
Image: The search for sugars in interstellar
space is hampered by a lack of spectroscopic
information. D-Ribose is now the first C5
sugar observed in the gas phase using microwave
spectroscopy. The rotational spectrum revealed six
conformations of free ribose, adopting preferentially
ß-pyranose rings and higher-energy α-pyranose forms. No
evidence of α-/β-furanoses or linear forms was found,
unlike biological systems, where β-furanoses are found
in RNA [Credit: Angewandte Chemie, DOI
Berkeley Lab researchers develop a
potential low cost alternative to platinum for splitting
Image: Using a molybdenite complex and thePY5Me2
ligand, Berkeley Lab researchers synthesized a molecule
that mimics catalytically active triangular molybdenum
disulfide edge-sites. The result is an entire layer of
catalytically active material. Molybdenum atoms are
shown as green, sulfur as yellow.
A bronze matryoshka doll - The metal in
the metal in the metal: New way to highly efficient
catalysts and nanotubes with unusual symmetry.
Image: Just like in the Russian wooden toy, a
hull of 12 copper atoms encases a single tin atom. This
hull is, in turn, enveloped by 20 further tin atoms.
With their large surfaces these structures can serve as
highly efficient catalysts.
All foamed up: synthesis of macroporous
polystyrene through polymerization of foamed emulsions.
Image: An ideal template for the production of
macroporous polystyrene can be prepared from foamed
oil-in-water emulsions containing styrene, water,
glycerol, and sodium dodecylsulfate. After addition of a
photoinitiator the mixture is polymerized with UV light
and the foam structure of the precursor is transferred
to the polymer. The resulting materials display densely
packed cells with windows between adjacent pores (SEM
image; scale bar: 250 µm) [Credit: Angewandte Chemie].
Bright lights of purity: Berkeley Lab
researchers discover why pure quantum dots and nanorods
Image: This shows the luminescence of CdSe/CuS
nanocrystals prepared by cation-exchange. On the left
are crystals prior to purification, on the right are the
same nanocrystals after impurities have been removed
[Credit: Berkeley Lab].
Deadly chinese mushrooms: Amino acids
revealed as cause of deaths in Yunnan province.
Image: Two unusual and toxic amino acids,
2R-amino-4S-hydroxy-5-hexynoic acid and
2R-amino-5-hexynoic acid have been isolated from the
fruiting bodies of the mushroom Trogia venenata [Credit:
The planet Jupiter keeps asteroids on
stable orbits - and in a similar way, electrons can be
stabilized in their orbit around the atomic nucleus;
calculations carried out at the Vienna University of
Technology have now been verified in an experiment.
Image: The Bohr model assumes that the electron
moves around the nucleus, much like a planet around its
star [Credit: Vienna University of Technology].
Meteorite contains evidence of formation
of sulfur molecules in the ejecta of a supernova explosion.
Image: The electron microscopic image shows a
silicon carbide grain from the meteorite Murchison. The
approximately one micrometer small grains originate from
a supernova as an isotopic analysis has shown [Credit:
Peter Hoppe, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry].
The art of molecular carpet-weaving:
Synthesis of well-ordered COF monolayers.
Image: A scanning electron microscopy image with
a superimposed molecular model. Two different
straightforward synthetic approaches are presented to
fabricate long-range-ordered monolayers of a covalent
organic framework (COF) on an inert, catalytically
inactive graphite surface [Credit: TU Munich].