Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels

Chemists have developed two novel methods to characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels -- materials that hold great promise for developing 'smart' responsive materials that can be used for catalysts, chemical detectors, tissue engineering scaffolds and absorbents for carbon capture.

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Graphene flexes its electronic muscles

Flexing graphene may be the most basic way to control its electrical properties, according to calculations by theoretical physicists.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Aromatic couple makes new chemical bonds

Making carbon-carbon bonds continues to be an important strategy to synthesize useful pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and organic materials. Chemists have now expanded the scope of a Nobel Prize-winning carbon-carbon bond forming reaction by using aromatic esters and boronic acids as coupling partners in the presence of an economically and environmentally friendly nickel catalyst.

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New method for rapid authentication of edible oils and screening of gutter oils

Researchers have developed a new method for rapid authentication of edible oils and screening of gutter oils.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Analysis shows increased carbon intensity from Canadian oil sands

Gasoline and diesel refined from Canadian oil sands has a higher carbon impact than fuels derived from conventional domestic crude sources, a new study concludes.

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Optimizing shale gas production from well to wire

A researcher has analyzed the life-cycle of the shale gas supply chain and operations and found that the process systems can be made more environmentally and economically friendly.

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Eco-friendly oil spill solution developed

An eco-friendly biodegradable green 'herding' agent that can be used to clean up light crude oil spills on water has been developed by researchers. Derived from the plant-based small molecule phytol abundant in the marine environment, the new substance would potentially replace chemical herders currently in use, they say.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Towards graphene biosensors

For the first time, a team of scientists has succeeded in precisely measuring and controlling the thickness of an organic compound that has been bound to a graphene layer. This might enable graphene to be used as a sensitive detector for biological molecules in the future.

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Giving atoms their marching orders

Building self-assembled 'molecular straws' from bis-urea macrocycles, a research team has developed a new nanotube system that can be used to directly compare single-file diffusion dynamics with Fickian diffusion dynamics. The team uses hyperpolarized xenon-129 NMR to study gas transport dynamics in two highly homogeneous nanotubes, one with a narrow-bore, hollow interior that can accommodate xenon gas atoms only in single file.

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Synthetic biology used to engineer new route to biochemicals

Chemists create a new pathway that allows E. coli bacteria to feed on sugar and acetate to make isobutyl coA, a raw material for fuels and chemicals.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What your clothes may literally say about you

Researchers have designed a responsive hybrid material that is fueled by an oscillatory chemical reaction and can perform computations based on changes in the environment or movement, and potentially even respond to human vital signs.

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Unlocking fermentation secrets open door to new biofuels

Researchers have, for the first time, uncovered the complex interdependence and orchestration of metabolic reactions, gene regulation, and environmental cues of clostridial metabolism, providing new insights for advanced biofuel development.

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Artifical neuron mimicks function of human cells

Scientists have managed to build a fully functional neuron by using organic bioelectronics. This artificial neuron contain no ‘living’ parts, but is capable of mimicking the function of a human nerve cell and communicate in the same way as our own neurons do.

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New technique to accurately detect 'handedness' of molecules in a mixture

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time the ability to rapidly, reliably and simultaneously identify the 'handedness' of different molecules in a mixture.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rapid chemical synthesis of proteins by a new amino acid partner

The development of new methods for the chemical synthesis of proteins is highly significant to access a range of proteins inaccessible by conventional approaches. Chemists have succeeded in the first synthesis of oxazetidine amino acids as a new ligation partner for the rapid and chemoselective synthesis of proteins.

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Nanoparticle 'wrapper' delivers chemical that stops fatty buildup in rodent arteries

In what may be a major leap forward in the quest for new treatments of the most common form of cardiovascular disease, scientists report they have found a way to halt and reverse the progression of atherosclerosis in rodents by loading microscopic nanoparticles with a chemical that restores the animals' ability to properly handle cholesterol.

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Biomanufacturing of CdS quantum dots

Engineers have demonstrated a bacterial method for the low-cost, environmentally friendly synthesis of aqueous soluble quantum dot nanocrystals at room temperature.

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Robust new process forms 3-D shapes from flat sheets of graphene

Researchers have developed a new approach for forming 3-D shapes from flat, 2-D sheets of graphene, paving the way for future integrated systems of graphene-MEMS hybrid devices and flexible electronics.

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Making Sexy Catalytic Converters in Power Point

Today, I’ll be moving away from explaining how to use Powerpoint to make sexy molecules and show how it can be used to make compelling science graphics too.

In next week’s issue of Chemical & Engineering News I highlight some recent advances in catalytic converter technology. I did not know much about catalytic converter chemistry before I began writing it so I started to hit the books to learn the material. One of the first articles I read was by Josef Heveling’s 2012 (J. Chem. Educ., DOI: 10.1021/ed200816g). Heveling has a nice figure in the paper that really helped me understand the main metals involved in catalytic chemistry and overall products after conversion.


I really fell in love with the simplicity of the figure so I made a similar figure for my story. But in the end, my editor had some changes to the final art, and what you see next week will look different than this one below.

If you want to make something similar here are the steps I took. Start with making spheres (width=0.5″) and rectangles (width=0.73″ and height=2.76″):


Then group the contents of the two rectangles (Don’t group the two rectangles together), and do the preset10 trick I discussed before:

My setting for the sphere and rectangles are below:
Spheres:

Rectangle:

These settings will get you this:

I then made the fill and line color 30% transparent and used these settings to get a better perspective:

Just use the “2.5pt distance from ground” for the speheres and have the rest of the objects 0. Once you set the fill and line transparency to 30% you’ll end up with this, assuming you changed the colors along the way:

One final note about Art. I would never use the word artist to describe me, but I have done more than my fair share of schemes/graphics in Powerpoint and feel I can have some opinion on the process of making compelling Art. Art is about executing your vision with the tools and methods you are most skilled in. A lot of commenters off-site seemed to think my time would have been better served learning Gimp/Illustrator or Python. Maybe that is true, but I’ve already learned PowerPoint so it is a bit easier to stick with what you know. However, I do plan to look at other people’s suggestions and I’ll report back what seems to work best. One of the points for my original post was to find out what all of you are using out there.



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New technique for 'seeing' ions at work in a supercapacitor

A new technique which enables researchers to visualize the activity of individual ions inside battery-like devices called supercapacitors, could enable greater control over their properties and improve their performance in high-power applications.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Scientists create synthetic membranes that grow like living cells

Chemists and biologists have succeeded in designing and synthesizing an artificial cell membrane capable of sustaining continual growth, just like a living cell.

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Printing electronics with nanomaterials a cost-friendly, eco-friendly alternative

Researchers are focusing on printed electronics: using inkjet technology to print electronic nanomaterials onto flexible substrates. When compared to traditional methods used in microelectronics fabrication, the new technology conserves material and is more environmentally friendly.

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New material with superfast electrons: 300 kilometers per second

It may be significantly easier to design electronic components in future. Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a compound of niobium and phosphorus increases enormously when the material is exposed to a magnetic field.

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Molecular sunscreen: How DNA protects itself from UV light

Using X-rays, scientists measured the ultrafast response of DNA nucleobases to UV light. They found that the UV excited state in the nucleobase thymine decays rapidly, harmlessly dissipating the potentially destructive UV energy. The findings give new insight on how the nucleobases inside DNA protect themselves from light-induced damage.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Ultrafast chemistry in motion

Scientists for the first time tracked ultrafast structural changes, captured in quadrillionths-of-a-second steps, as ring-shaped gas molecules burst open and unraveled. Ring-shaped molecules are abundant in biochemistry and also form the basis for many drug compounds. The study points the way to a wide range of real-time X-ray studies of gas-based chemical reactions that are vital to biological processes.

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Five new calcium carbides: Unique reducers and new hydrocarbon synthesis methods

Scientists have used computer simulation to predict the existence of five completely new compounds of carbon and calcium with varied chemical and physical properties, obtaining two of them by experiment.

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Roaming dynamics in bimolecular reactions

For the first time, researchers have shown that a dissociation pathway called roaming radical dynamics is a possibility for not just simple, single molecule reactions but more complex, multiple molecule, or bimolecular, reactions.

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Hot nanostructures cool faster when they are physically close together

A full description of nanoscale thermal transport has defied understanding for decades. In a new study, researchers uncovered a regime of thermal transport near nanoscale structures, where counterintuitively, nanoscale hot spots cool more quickly when placed close together than when they are widely separated. The results suggest new approaches for addressing the significant challenge of heat management in nanosystems, with design implications for integrated circuits and other uses.

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Designer electronics out of the printer

They are thin, lightweight, flexible and can be produced cost- and energy-efficiently: printed microelectronic components made of synthetics. Flexible displays and touch screens, glowing films, RFID tags and solar cells represent a future market. Physicists have now observed the creation of razor thin polymer electrodes during the printing process and successfully improved the electrical properties of the printed films.

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High-tech nanofibers could help nutrients in food hit the spot

New research outlines how the creation of 'nanofibers' could provide new and improved products and delivery systems for supplementary foodstuffs.

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Wearable electronics, stretchy displays: Transparent conductors created using nano-accordion structure

Researchers have created stretchable, transparent conductors that work because of the structures' 'nano-accordion' design. The conductors could be used in a wide variety of applications, such as flexible electronics, stretchable displays or wearable sensors.

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Hematite 're-growth' smoothes rough edges for clean energy harvest

By smoothing the surface of hematite, a team of researchers achieved the first 'unassisted' water splitting using the abundant rust-like mineral and silicon to capture and store solar energy within hydrogen gas.

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Chemistry: Simplistic beauty of a free radical

Scientists experimented with nitric oxide, a highly stable molecule of supreme importance in science. NO is highly reactive and a free radical, meaning a single, unpaired electron is present in its molecule.

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Automated ion analyzer for space missions

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is scheduled to launch its Eu:CROPIS research satellite into orbit in early 2017. Its purpose is to test a biological life-support system for future human space missions. The satellite’s payload includes an ion analyzer. This compact device will automatically monitor all of the system’s internal processes.

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Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage

Chemists have developed a major improvement to capture and retain energy from sunlight, where the stored energy can last dramatically longer than current solar technology allows -- up to several weeks, instead of the microseconds found in today's rooftop solar panels.

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Going back to Californium: A changing view of covalency

Challenging previously held views, scientific results show that californium can covalently bond with borate, dramatically altering the electronic characteristics of the californium ion. This research may show how to further optimize nuclear reactor fuel processes.

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A diode a few atoms thick shows surprising quantum effect

A quantum mechanical transport phenomenon demonstrated for the first time in synthetic, atomically-thin layered material at room temperature could lead to novel nanoelectronic circuits and devices.

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'Crumpled' filter has potential to slash energy consumption in industry

Scientists have developed an ultra-thin, super-strong membrane to filter liquids and gases, with the potential to cut energy consumption in industry.

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First solar cell made of highly ordered molecular frameworks

Researchers have developed a material suited for photovoltaics. For the first time, a functioning organic solar cell consisting of a single component has been produced on the basis of metal-organic framework compounds (MOFs). The material is highly elastic and might also be used for the flexible coating of clothes and deformable components.

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New methane bioreactor produces environmentally friendly energy, mitigates climate change

A new methane bioreactor boosts environmentally friendly energy to the markets. The reactor stores renewable energy and produces synthetic biomethane with good efficiency. The new technology can help in achieving a carbon-neutral society, developers report.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Simplifying recycling of rare-earth magnets

Researchers have now pioneered a process that could enable the efficient recycling of two rare-earth metals, neodymium and dysprosium. These elements comprise the small, powerful magnets that are found in many high-tech devices. In contrast to the massive and energy-intensive industrial process currently used to separate rare earths, the new method works nearly instantaneously at room temperature and uses standard laboratory equipment.

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