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Chemistry News Archive August 2011

Chemistry News August 2011

News of the year 2011 in the fields of chemistry and chemistry-related topics like biochemistry, nantechnology, medicinal chemistry etc.

Main focus: press releases, scientific research results and summaries of chemistry articles, that are published in chemistry journals.

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Synthesis of a Neutral Tricoordinate Boron Derivative

Chemists transform acids into bases: Research performed in Guy Bertrand's lab offers vast family of new catalysts for use in drug discovery, biotechnology.

Cryptophane Xenon

First Binding Measurement of Radon and Xenon

Even in trace quantities, the radioactive gas radon is very dangerous; it is second only to cigarette smoking as a cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States. The expense and precautions necessary to study it safely have limited research into its properties. Now, University of Pennsylvania chemists have for the first time measured how well radon binds to a molecule, paving the way for future research on it and other noble gases.

Image: A rendering of a water-soluable cryptophane molecule binding a xenon atom [Credit: Penn University].

Ethanol to isobutene

Direct Conversion of Ethanol to Isobutene

A new catalyst for ethanol made from biomass: Researchers potentially find a renewable path to fuel additives, rubber and solvents.

Image: The right balance of zinc and zirconium oxides in this catalyst (purple block) converts ethanol to isobutene with low amounts of unwanted byproducts such as acetone and ethylene [Credit: PNNL].

Dual Catalytic Site

Researchers Uncover New Catalysis Site

A new collaborative study at the University of Virginia details for the first time a new type of catalytic site where oxidation catalysis occurs, shedding new light on the inner workings of the process.

Image: A dual catalytic site causing the catalytic activation of an oxygen molecule (dark blue) at the perimeter of a gold nanoparticle held on a titanium dioxide support. A carbon dioxide molecule, produced by oxidation of adsorbed carbon monoxide, is liberated [Image by Matthew Neurock, University of Virginia].

Polymer nicotine trap

A Polymer Trap for Nicotine

Newly synthesized polymer, fitted with molecular pincers of carefully tailored structure, effectively captures nicotine molecules and its analogues.

Image: Polymer nicotine trap is composed of a porphyrin derivative (black), in which amide pincers (green) are attached to the zinc (violet) containing macrocycle (blue). The nicotine molecule is shown in red [Credit: IPC PAS/Tentaris/ACh].

One-stop Shop for the Suzuki reaction

A crucial type of intermediate in the so-called Suzuki reaction can now be synthesized using an economical 'one-pot' strategy. These compounds are used on an industrial scale to make the carbon scaffolds that form the basis of useful drugs and innovative materials.

Tricolor Liquid Crystals

Tricolor Liquid Crystals

Thermal and mechanical stimuli switch the luminescence of a liquid-crystal mixture between three different colors.

A glowing image: The photoluminescent colors reddish-orange, yellow, and green, are generated from a single liquid-crystalline mixture containing one luminophore (see picture). The colors are easily distinguished by the naked eye and can be reversibly written and erased. Moreover, these luminescent colors can be switched by mechanical and thermal stimuli [Credit: Angewandte Chemie].

Trifluoromethylation of Heteroatomic Systems

Scientists find easier, cheaper way to make a sought-after chemical modification to drugs.


A New Material With Outstanding Supercapacitor Properties

New rechargeable batteries needed: A microporous polymer is an unusually powerful supercapacitor.

Supercapacitor - A π conjugated microporous polymer with aza-fused framework is reported. The porous framework is conductive and allows electrolyte ions to move into the pores because of structural features (see picture). The material becomes highly co-operative in the formation of electrostatic charge-separation layers, shows exceptional capacitance in supercapacitive energy storage, provides high energy densities, and offers an excellent cycle life [Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition].

Total Synthesis of Synechoxanthin

A new set of building blocks for simple synthesis of complex molecules.




Intriguing Structures

Flowing Structures in Colloidial Crystals

A liquid does not have to be a disordered bunch of particles: A team of researchers has discovered intriguing structures formed by tiny particles floating in liquids. Under mechanical strain, particle clusters in liquids can spontaneously form strings and dramatically alter the properties of the liquid.

Image: Intriguing structures are formed by tiny particles floating in liquids [Credit: Vienna University of Technology].




Meteorites Contain a Large Variety of Nucleobases

Extraterrestrial Nucleobases: DNA Building Blocks Can be Made in Space

NASA-funded researchers have evidence that some building blocks of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic instructions for life, found in meteorites were likely created in space. The research gives support to the theory that a "kit" of ready-made parts created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorite and comet impacts assisted the origin of life.

Image: Meteorites contain a large variety of nucleobases, an essential building block of DNA [artist concept credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith].

DNA Synbody

Synbodies - A New Way of Producing Antibody-like Binding Agents

Improved method for capturing proteins holds promise for biomedical research.

Image: Two peptide chains are attached to a segment of double-stranded DNA, displaced by a distance which can be modified to improve binding affinity with a target protein (seen in blue) [Credit: The Biodesign Institute Arizona State University].

Sesquiterpene Diversity

Researchers have used tools of paleontology to gain new insights into the diversity of natural plant chemicals.


Geochemistry, Astrochemistry:


Oxygen's watery past

New research shows evidence of early oxygen on our planet.

Reaction Chamber Gas Air Exchange

Soil Nitrite Cleans the Air

Nitrogen-containing soil is a source of hydroxyl radicals that remove pollutants from the atmosphere.

Image: What is the source of nitrous acid in the atmosphere? Mainz scientists study the exchange of gases between soil samples and the air in this reaction chamber [Credit: Su, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry].


Chemistry and Environment:

Chemistry and Environment


Nitrous Oxide Decomposition Mechanism

How the N2O greenhouse gas is decomposed.

Image: The N2O-reductase enzyme possesses four reactive centers for the decomposition of nitrous oxide into elemental nitrogen [Source: BIOSS/ University of Freiburg].


Kewords: Chemistry, news, reports, August 2011
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