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Chemistry News

Current Chemistry News

Latest News in the fields of chemistry and chemistry-related topics like biochemistry, nanotechnology, medicinal chemistry etc.

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

Please send us a eMail to publish your press release!

October 2012

Buckyball Molecules Grow

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].

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].




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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. The method can also be rendered as a fundamental finding for the upgrade of bio-oils to arenes under mild conditions [Source: Angewandte Chemie].

Reactant and Product Molecules

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].

Graphene/Boron for Batteries

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].

Integrated Artificial Photosynthesis Nanosystem

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].

Beautiful Nano Flowers

Beautiful Nano-Flowers

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.

Hill Cap Cloud Thuringia 2010

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].

Gold/titanium dioxide catalyst in action

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].

Chemical memory of water

The Chemical History of the Oceans

The chemical memory of seawater: scientists examine the biomolecules dissolved in the ocean and read them like a history book of the sea.

Image: The subsequent analysis in the mass spectrometer generates a chemical fingerprint which indicates the origin of the organic substances [Credit: Yves Nowak, Alfred Wegener Institute].

Iridium-Catalyzed Hydrosilylation

Iridium Catalyzed Carbon Fixation

Made out of thin air - fixation of carbon dioxide through iridium catalyzed hydrosilylation.

Image: An air- and moisture-stable iridium(III) catalyst effectively promotes the hydrosilylation of carbon dioxide [Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition].

September 2012

Decay of element 113

New Result in the Production of Ununtrium

Search for element 113 concluded at last - After many years of painstaking work, Japanese researchers prove third time's a charm.

Image: The observed decay chain of element 113 (Ununtrium).

[Credit: RIKEN]

Mercury detection

Mercury Detected with Nanotechnology

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.


A Short, Low-cost Synthesis of Artemisinin

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.

Amphiphilic carbon dots

Fluorescent Carbon Dots

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].

Enzymatic etching

Enzymatic Etching

Enzymes dig channels - enzymatic etching used to build nano- and microscale surface topologies [Image credit: Angewandte Chemie].

Highest surface area material

New World Record Set for Highest Surface Area

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].

Optimized results from photoluminescent probes

Optimizing the Sensitivity of Photoluminescent Probes

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.

[Credit: Marti Group/Rice University]

Dynamic Force Spectroscopy

The Way in Which Molecular Bonds Form and Rupture

Forcing the molecular bond issue: New and improved model of molecular bonding from researchers at Berkeley Lab's molecular foundry.

Image: Under dynamic force spectroscopy, the bonds of a molecular system are subjected to controlled stretching until the bonds break.

[Image courtesy of Jim DeYoreo, Berkeley Lab].


Stellar Nucleosynthesis of Silver in Supernovae

Heidelberg scientist shows that silver and gold materialised in different stellar explosions.

Image: The illustration is an artist’s impression of the first moments of an explosion before the star is completely torn apart [Source: European Southern Observatory/ESO].

Methane producing fungus

Methane Source Discovered in the Underbrush

Max Planck Institute for Chemistry: Greenhouse gas is also released by fungi.

Image: Methane producers in the underbrush - New research shows that fungi can also produce methane [Credit Katharina Lenhart].

Water-Splitting Catalysts

A Way to Improved Water-splitting Catalysts

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.].

Two-step procedure to detect blood cyanide

Fast Detection of Blood Cyanide

Rapid response in cases of smoke poisoning by a two-step procedure to detect blood cyanide.

Image: A chemosensor added to the blood sample detects cyanides [Credit: UZH].

Graphene Illustration

Mechanisms of Graphene Growth

Every atom counts in graphene formation - Rice University lab's nanoreactor theory could advance quality of material's growth.

Image: Researchers have come up with a set of calculations to predict how graphene grows in the process known as chemical vapor deposition.

[Credit: V. Artyukhov/Rice University].

More CO2 leads to less clouds

More Carbon Dioxide Leads to Less Clouds

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].

Surface sensitive spectroscopy

Anchored proteins

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].

August 2012

DNA-templated synthesis

DNA-Templated Synthesis on Solid Support

Direction Selection: new method for template-directed DNA synthesis in the 3' and 5' directions [Image credit: Angewandte Chemie].

How salt in the rainforest becomes clouds

Formation of Aerosols in the Rainforest

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]

Sugar found in space

Glycolaldehyde Found in a Solar-type Protostar

Building blocks of life found around young star.

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.

[Credit: ESO/L. Calçada & NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team]

Photocatalytic Nanocrystal

Synthesis of Nanocrystals that Harvest Solar Energy

A new video protocol in Journal of Visualized Experiments focuses on the liquid phase synthesis of two nanocrystals that produce hydrogen gas or an electric charge when exposed to light.

Image: This is a schematic of the photocatalytic nanocrystal [Credit: Journal of Visualized Experiments].

Fenton Reaction

Fenton Reaction Mystery Solved

Ames Laboratory scientists crack long-standing chemistry mystery.

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]

Fluorescent photoswitchable system

A New Fluorescent Photoswitchable System

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].

Bipyridine on gold surface

First Single-Molecule Measurement of Van Der Waals Interactions

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].

Heaviest elements

Superheavy Elements: Stabilizing Shell Effects Directly Measured

Results will help to pin down the 'Island of Stability'.

Image: Chart of nuclides in the region of the heaviest elements [Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS].

Genetic Code for Gold Nanoparticle Morphologies

DNA Code Shapes Gold Nanoparticles

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.

[Image credit: Zidong Wang and Yi Lu].


Synthesis of Ultrathin Superlong Platinum Nanowires

First high electrocatalytic active ultrathin platinum nanowires with aspect ratio of at least 104 become a reality.

[Image credit: Faming Gao; JACS]

Dual role for carbon dioxide

Dual Role for Carbon Dioxide

Continuous hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to pure formic acid in supercritical CO2.

Scheme: Pure formic acid can be obtained continuously by hydrogenation of carbon dioxide in a single processing unit [Credit: Angewandte Chemie].

Mustard oils as chemical mace

Mustard Oils as Chemical Mace

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].

Strawberries as sunblock

Strawberry Extract as Sunblock

An experiment has shown that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing its viability and reducing damage to DNA.

Image: The reported experiment shows that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against UVA rays [Credit: SINC].

July 2012

Carbon dioxide hydrogenation

Carbon Dioxide as a Carbon Source?

Homogeneous catalysis: ruthenium phosphine complex hydrogenates carbon dioxide to make methanol.

Image: The homogenously catalyzed hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to methanol is achieved by using a ruthenium phosphine complex under relatively mild conditions.

[Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition]


Aerographite - The Lightest Material in the World

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].

Fetid fluorite

Elemental Fluorine Found in Nature

200-year-long dispute over smelly mineral from Upper Palatinate resolved.

Image: The mineral antozonite ('fetid fluorite') [Credit: Dr. Rupert Hochleitner, Mineralogische Staatssammlung Muenchen].

Quinolone amide

With Quinolone Amides Against Tropical Parasites

There is an urgent need for better drugs to treat African sleeping sickness. Würzburg scientists have developed a very promising new agent, which is now to be further optimized.

[Image credit: Georg Hiltensperger, Nicola Jones].

Magnetic Gram Staining

Magnetic Gram Staining

Magnetizing diagnostics detects bacteria.

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].

Antibacterial silver ions

Antibacterial Activity of Silver

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].

High-pressure nmr

High Pressure-NMR

New Technology provides a deep view into protein structures.

Image: Under pressure - scientists investigate hydrogen bonds under pressures of up to 2500 bar [Credit: University of Basel].

Diels-Alder Dynamics

Diels-Alder Reaction: New Insights

How the most ionic reaction in organic chemistry really works: Diels and Alder won the Nobel; now UCLA's Kendall Houk makes the movie.

Image: A snapshot of one of Houk's Diels-Alder movies [Credit: UCLA].

Metal-peptide complex

Metal-Peptide Complexes: A New Avenue to Better Medicines

German-American research team produces metal-peptide complexes.

Image: Via metal coordination, rhodium is bound between the two carbon rings [Credit: Florian Wieberneit, Raphael Stoll].

Two-Electron Model

The 'N-representability Problem' Solved

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].

Activation of substrate water molecules

Some Key Secrets of Photosynthesis Unlocked

Research on the water oxidation reaction in plants and bacteria helps solve an important piece of the solar energy conversion puzzle; represents a major step toward a new generation of photovoltaics.

[Image credit: RPI]

Metal-organic spin crossover molecule

A Metal-Organic Spin Crossover Molecule

By electricity, researchers switch the magnetic state and electric resistance of a single molecule on and off - Blueprint for novel, compact storage media.

Image: Using a scanning tunneling microscope tip, defined electricity pulses were applied to the molecule, which switches between different magnetic states [Credit: CFN/KIT].

Terminal uranium nitride

A Stable Uranium Nitride Triple Bond

Experts at The University of Nottingham are the first to create a stable version of a 'trophy molecule' that has eluded scientists for decades.

Image: A team of chemists has shown that they can prepare a terminal uranium nitride compound which is stable at room temperature [Credit: University of Nottingham].

Marine biofouling

Bioinspired Nanoparticles against Marine Fouling

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.

[Source/Copyright: Tremel research group, JGU]

June 2012

Synthetic Diamond

Boron-doped Synthetic Diamond Electrodes

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.

[Image credit: Element Six]

Sulfate-respiring bacteria

Dolomite Formation

How does Dolomite form?

Scientists in Kiel show the influence of marine bacteria on mineral formation.

This picture shows the biofilm of a sulfate respiring bacteria species. Small white dots show Dolomite crystals. Photo taken with a confocal laser microscope.

[Credit: ETH Zurich/Uni Zurich]

Nuclear landscape

New Map of the Nuclear Landscape

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee team has used the Department of Energy's Jaguar supercomputer to calculate the number of isotopes allowed by the laws of physics.

[Image by Andy Sproles, Oak Ridge National Laboratory]

Ultrafast Edison Battery

The Return of the Edison Battery

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].


Tin-100 - A Doubly Magic Nucleus

Key experiment in nuclear physics: Scientists have now succeeded in producing tin-100, a very instable yet important element for understanding the formation of heavier elements.

[Image credit: Thomas Faestermann, TUM].

24-meric protein complex

Crystallization of Hemocyanins

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 7(3):e32548].

Silicon Nanowires as Photoelectrodes

Ibuprofen by Photosynthesis

Selective and effective: silicon nanowires as photoelectrodes for carbon dioxide fixation.

Image: When illuminated, p-type Si nanowires donate photogenerated electrons to aromatic ketones, producing reactive radicals that can harvest CO2 to yield α-hydroxy acids.

[Credit: Angewandte Chemie].

An origami sensor

New Concept for Paper Biosensors

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 Oxide Sheet

A Low Cost Method for Producing Graphene

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].

Molecule with a boron-boron triple bond

News from the Boron Universe

It is safe to say that no one in the whole world knows as much about the element boron as the team of Professor Holger Braunschweig at the University of Würzburg.

Image: Molecule with a boron-boron triple bond, synthesized for the first time by chemists at the University of Würzburg [Credit: Rian Dewhurst / Krzysztof Radacki].

May 2012

Chiral Super-Structures

How Handedness Arises

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.

[Credit: Thomas G. Mason and Kun Zhao]

Enhanced and Original White Light Quantum Dots

Ultrasmall Cadmium Selenide Nanocrystals Brighten the Future of Lighting

Vanderbilt researchers have boosted the efficiency of a novel source of white light called quantum dots more than tenfold, making them of potential interest for commercial applications.

Image: Enhanced and original white light quantum dots [Credit: Rosenthal Lab].

Xylene from Biomass

Catalytic Production of Renewable Xylene

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, Amherst].

April 2012

Fruit ripeness sensor

A New Nanotube-based Chemoresistive Sensor for Ethylene

Comparing apples and oranges: New sensor can accurately measure fruits' ripeness, helping prevent loss of produce from spoilage.

Image: The selective detection of ethylene gas using a carbon nanotube-based devices is described in the journal Angewandte Chemie [Credit: MIT].

Levels of 5mC and 5hmC chemical modifications

A New Technique that will Transform Epigenetics Research

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: Miguel Branco].

Custom-Designed Protein Crystal

Custom Designed Protein Crystals

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 Pennsylvania].

A Two-Legged Molecule

A Molecular Walker

A small molecule moves independently along a track.

Image: A molecule is able to walk back and forth upon a five-foothold pentaethylenimine track without external intervention [Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition].

Cement hydration

Cement Hydration

The first seconds in a building’s life: X-ray diffraction studies of cement hydration on the millisecond scale.

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 International Edition].


The Chemical Composition of Caramel

Sticky stuff: Jacobs researchers reveal the sweet secret of caramel.

Image: At least 4000 chemical components can be found in caramel [Cedit: iStockphoto].

Mussel glue

Improved Mussel Adhesive

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].

Single-step DNA detection

Microfluidic Electrochemical DNA Amplification

Everything flows in rapid diagnostic tests: A new amplification technique allows for the rapid, sensitive, and quantitative detection of pathogenic DNA.

[Image credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition]

Chemistry of Defects

Processes at the Surface of Catalysts

Using infrared spectroscopy, scientists detect that oxygen defects act as active centers [Graphics: Dr. M. Xu, RUB].

Monorhaphis chuni

Monorhaphis chuni: A Living Climate Archive

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].

March 2012

Keeping Track to Selenium Metabolism

In Vivo Study of the Selenium Metabolism

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.

[Credit: J. Giner et al.].

2'-Azido RNA

Efficient Fluorescent Labeling of the RNA

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].


Solvent-free Luminescent Organic Liquids

Glowing white: researchers develop uncharged organic substances that are luminescent liquids at room temperature and require no solvent.

[Image Credit: Angewandte Chemie]

Gold for Fuel Cells

A New Structure-Control Strategy to Tune and Optimize NP Catalysis

Touch of gold improves nanoparticle fuel-cell reactions.

[Image credit: Sun Lab/Brown University]

Meteorite in Antarctica

N-omega-Amino Acids in Antarctic Meteorites

Meteorites reveal another way to make life's components.

Image: A meteorite is analyzed in the study at its collection site in Antarctica.

[Credit: Antarctic Search for Meteorites program, Case Western Reserve University].

Single Atoms Acting as Catalysts

Single Atoms as Catalysts in Hydrogen-Related Reactions

A new strategy for selective heterogeneous hydrogenations.

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]


DnaK: A Key Player of Protein Folding
Max Planck scientists identify one of the key players of the folding process: the molecular chaperone DnaK.

Schematic of NIST's 'eSANS'

Electrochemical Small-Angle Neutron Scattering

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].


A Star-Shaped Molecule with a Magnetic Core

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].

Circular dichroism effect

New Method for the Detection of Chiral Molecules

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].

Octadentate HOPO

Actinide-Specific Decontaminating Agents

Responding to the radiation threat - Berkeley Lab researchers developing promising treatment for safely decontaminating humans exposed to radioactive actinides.

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].

February 2012

Redesigned Catalyst for Producing Hydrogen

Synthesizing Catalysts that are all Edge

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 Found in Space

Tellurium detected for the first time in ancient stars.

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].

Metastable Black Arsenic

Black Arsenic

Synthesis and identification of metastable compounds.

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 nanoparticles.

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 Chemie].


Sugars Found in the Gas Phase

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 10.1002/anie.201107973].


New molecule can tangle up DNA for more than 2 weeks

Molecule is important step along the path to someday creating drugs that can go after rogue DNA directly.

Image: This shows a model of the "threading tetra-intercalator" bound up in the double helix of a DNA sequence [Credit: Brent Iverson].


MoleculaRnetworks: A PageRank for Atoms

WSU chemist applies Google software to webs of the molecular world [Image sredit: Wiley Periodicals, Inc.].

Structure of the two-dimensional polymer

A Molecular Carpet Made of 2-Dimensional Polymers

Startling results in synthetic chemistry presented in Nature Chemistry: ordered 2-dimensional polymers created for the first time.

Image: The regular (periodic) structure of the two-dimensional polymer is shown in images taken with a transmission electron microscope (TEM). Each bright spot corresponds to a monomer molecule.

[Credit: Empa/ETH Zurich]

Molybdenite Catalyst

Hydrogen from Acidic Water

Berkeley Lab researchers develop a potential low cost alternative to platinum for splitting water.

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.

[Credit: Berkeley Lab]


A Carbon Dioxide Absorbing Zeolite
NIST provides octagonal window of opportunity for carbon capture.

Bronze Matryoshka

Matryoshka Molecules

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.

[Credit: TUM]

Macroporous polystyrene

Macroporous Polystyrene

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].

Luminescent Nanocrystals

Luminescent Nanocrystals

Bright lights of purity: Berkeley Lab researchers discover why pure quantum dots and nanorods shine brighter.

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].

Trogia venenata

Toxic Amino Acids

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: Angewandte Chemie].

January 2012

Semiconductor oxygen

Oxygen as Insulator, Semiconductor and Metal

Oxygen molecule survives to enormously high pressures - RUB researcher calculates stability thresholds and structures of solid oxygen.

Image: Structures of solid oxygen under high pressure - at 1.9 TPa, oxygen polymerizes and assumes a square spiral-like structure, which is semi-conducting ... [Figure: Jian Sun].

Rydberg Atoms

Jupiter's 'Trojans' on an Atomic Scale

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].

Silicon carbide from the meteorite Murchison

Sulfur Chemistry of Exploding Stars

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 Great Gas Escape

The Great Gas Hydrate Escape

Computer simulations revealing how methane and hydrogen pack into gas hydrates could enlighten alternative fuel production and carbon dioxide storage industries.

Image: Computer simulation of methane, also known as natural gas, escaping from a methane hydrate [Credit: Sotiris Xantheas, PNNL].


Amphotericin B - New Studies on the Mechanism of Action

Powerful drug's surprising, simple method could lead to better treatments [image credit: Martin Burke].

Artemisinin Synthesis

Continuous-Flow Synthesis of Artemisinin

Anti-malaria drug synthesised with the help of oxygen and light [Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition].

Electrodissolution of Platinum

Electrodissolution of Platinum

Recycling platinum by electrochemical dissolution in an ionic liquid.

Image: Dissolving platinum: A noncorrosive, basic ionic liquid has been developed as a solvent system for the electrodissolution of platinum [Credit: Angewandte Chemie International Edition].

Superimposed molecular model

2-D Networks from Boron Acids

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].

December 2011

Flerovium and Livermorium

Flerovium and Livermorium

Livermore and Russian scientists propose new names for elements 114 and 116.

Image: The place of Flerovium and Livermorium in the Periodic Table of the Elements.


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