Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How protein misfolding may kickstart chemical evolution

Researchers have demonstrated a connection between abnormal protein folding and the potential to kickstart chemical evolution.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

A research team has improved an important catalytic reaction commonly used in the oil and gas industries. The innovation could lead to dramatic energy savings and reduced pollution, they say.

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Triboelectric nanogenerators boost mass spectrometry performance

Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) convert mechanical energy harvested from the environment to electricity for powering small devices such as sensors or for recharging consumer electronics. Now, researchers have harnessed these devices to improve the charging of molecules in a way that dramatically boosts the sensitivity of a widely-used chemical analysis technique.

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Nano 'sandwich' offers unique properties

Nanoclusters of magnesium oxide sandwiched between layers of graphene make a compound with unique electronic and optical properties, according to researchers who built computer simulations of the material.

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Let it glow: Researchers design new photoluminescent compounds

Chemical compounds that emit light are used in a variety of different materials, from glow-in-the-dark children’s toys to LED lights to light-emitting sensors. As the demand for these compounds increases, finding new efficient methods for their production is essential. New research describes a new strategy for producing photoluminescent (PL) compounds with increased capabilities.

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Materials that emit rainbows

Mechanochromic luminescent (MCL) materials change their color in response to a change in their environment, like pressure and temperature. To date, most MCL materials only change between two colors, limiting their applications. A international research team has developed tricolor-changing MLC materials. Not only that, the developed materials exhibited efficient thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) and allowed high performance organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) devices.

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Sunday, February 26, 2017

New polymer additive could revolutionize plastics recycling

Only 2 percent of the 78 million tons of manufactured plastics are currently recycled into similar products because polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which account for two-thirds of the world's plastics, have different chemical structures and cannot be efficiently repurposed together. That could all change with a new discovery.

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Researchers find new clues for nuclear waste cleanup

A new study of the chemistry of technetium-99 has improved understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and could lead to better cleanup methods.

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High levels of chemicals found in indoor cats

A study has now established what was previously suspected, that the high levels of brominated flame retardants measured in cats are from the dust in our homes.

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Oil and gas wastewater spills alter microbes in West Virginia waters

Wastewater from oil and gas operations -- including fracking for shale gas -- at a West Virginia site altered microbes downstream, according to a new study. The study showed that wastewater releases, including briny water that contained petroleum and other pollutants, altered the diversity, numbers and functions of microbes. The shifts in the microbial community indicated changes in their respiration and nutrient cycling, along with signs of stress.

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Improved polymer and new assembly method for ultra-conformable 'electronic tattoo' devices

Researchers have developed processes and materials for ultrathin devices using SBS elastomeric film, achieving ease of production, high elasticity and flexibility fifty times better than previously reported polymer nanosheets. Production of circuits with a household type inkjet printer, without the need for clean room conditions, along with fixing of electronic components without soldering promise to greatly increase wearing comfort and to radically lower barriers to manufacturing.

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As thin as an atom: A revolutionary semiconductor for electronics

Semiconductors that are as thin as an atom are no longer the stuff of science fiction. A new two-dimensional material could revolutionize electronics, say researchers.

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Light-driven reaction converts carbon dioxide into fuel

Researchers have developed tiny nanoparticles that help convert carbon dioxide into methane using only ultraviolet light as an energy source. Having found a catalyst that can do this important chemistry using ultraviolet light, the team now hopes to develop a version that would run on natural sunlight, a potential boon to alternative energy.

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Electronics: Organic material self-assembles next to borophene with nearly perfect interface

Engineers discover that an organic material self-assembles directly next to borophene, forming an ideal interface for electronic applications.

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Artificial synapse for neural networks

A new organic artificial synapse could support computers that better recreate the way the human brain processes information. It could also lead to improvements in brain-machine technologies.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

The unexpected supramolecular chemistry of nitrate anions

A team of researchers argues that the nitrate anion can display a counterintuitive Lewis acidity. Their findings may serve as a (retrospective) guide to interpret data involving the chemical behavior of nitrate anions, which are ubiquitous in nature.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Unravelling the atomic and nuclear structure of the heaviest elements

Little is known about the heaviest, radioactive elements in Mendeleev's table. But an extremely sensitive technique involving laser light and gas jets makes it possible for the very first time to gain insight into their atomic and nuclear structure.

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Scientists discover how essential methane catalyst is made

New ways to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into methane gas for energy use are a step closer after scientists discovered how bacteria make a component that facilitates the process. Recycling CO2 into energy has immense potential for making these emissions useful rather than a major factor in global warming. However, because the bacteria that can convert CO2 into methane, methanogens, are notoriously difficult to grow, their use in gas production remains limited.

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Understanding 'glass relaxation' and why it's important for next-generation displays

Display manufacturers can account for a certain level of relaxation in the glass, referring to the intermolecular rearrangement, if it’s known and reproducible. But fluctuations in this relaxation behavior tend to introduce uncertainty into the manufacturing process, possibly leading to misalignment of pixels within displays. Now, researchers reports on a new modeling technique to quantify and predict glass relaxation fluctuations, important for next-generation displays.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chemists reveal novel biocatalysts for bioactive alkaloid synthesis

Alkaloids are natural nitrogen-containing compounds produced by plants and microbes. These molecules, such as morphine and quinine, are important human medicines. Alkaloids are typically polycyclic in nature. While the polycyclic characteristics are important for their bioactivities, these features impede their chemical syntheses in the laboratory and their applications as pharmaceuticals.

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Stabilizing energy storage

Chemists predict a better future for these types of batteries, called redox flow batteries. Using a predictive model of molecules and their properties, the team has developed a charge-storing molecule around 1,000 times more stable than current compounds.

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Novel plasma jet offshoot phenomenon explains blue atmospheric jets

Physicists working with plasma jets, made of a stream of ionised matter, have discovered a new phenomenon. They found a new type of discharge phenomenon in an atmospheric pressure plasma. Their findings are particularly relevant for the development of novel applications in medicine, health care and materials processing.

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6,600 spills from fracking in just four states

Each year, 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances, according to a new study. The analysis identified 6,648 spills reported across Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania during a 10-year period.

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New hydronium-ion battery presents opportunity for more sustainable energy storage

A new type of battery shows promise for sustainable, high-power energy storage.It's the world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier.

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Switched-on DNA: Sparking nano-electronic applications

DNA, the stuff of life, may very well also pack quite the jolt for engineers trying to advance the development of tiny, low-cost electronic devices. Much like flipping your light switch at home -- only on a scale 1,000 times smaller than a human hair -- a team has now developed the first controllable DNA switch to regulate the flow of electricity within a single, atomic-sized molecule.

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Molecular phenomenon discovered by advanced NMR facility

Cutting edge technology has shown a molecule self-assembling into different forms when passing between solution state to solid state, and back again -- a curious phenomenon in science.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Quest for climate-friendly refrigerants finds complicated choices

Researchers have just completed a multiyear study to identify the 'best' candidates for future use as air conditioning refrigerants that will have the lowest impact on the climate.

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Developing a catalytic conveyor belt

Capitalizing on previous studies in self-powered chemo-mechanical movement, researchers have developed a novel method of transporting particles that utilizes chemical reactions to drive fluid flow within microfluidic devices.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

The glow of food dye can be used to monitor food quality

Allura Red, a synthetic food and pharmaceutical color widely used within the U.S., boasts special properties that may make it and other food dyes appropriate as sensors or edible probes to monitor foods and pharmaceuticals. A team of researchers recently made this discovery during an extension of their work identifying and characterizing molecules in foods or food ingredients that might provide signals of food quality, stability or safety.

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Looking for the next leap in rechargeable batteries

Researchers may have just found a solution for one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the next wave of rechargeable batteries -- small enough for cellphones and powerful enough for cars.

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In-mouse catalysis

A gold catalyst can be delivered to a target organ in a higher organism where it performs a chemical transformation visualized by bioimaging. This intriguing approach could make organometallic catalysis applicable for therapy or diagnostics.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Printable solar cells just got a little closer

A new innovation could make printing solar cells as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. Researchers have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of a relatively new class of solar devices called perovskite solar cells. This alternative solar technology could lead to low-cost, printable solar panels capable of turning nearly any surface into a power generator.

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Four-stroke engine cycle produces hydrogen from methane, captures carbon dioxide

When is an internal combustion engine not an internal combustion engine? When it's been transformed into a modular reforming reactor that could make hydrogen available to power fuel cells wherever there's a natural gas supply available.

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Metal-organic frameworks used as looms

Researchers have made major progress in the production of two-dimensional polymer-based materials. To produce cloths from monomolecular threads, the scientists used SURMOFs, i.e. surface-mounted metal-organic frameworks, developed by KIT. They inserted four-armed monomers, i.e. smaller molecular building blocks, into some SURMOF layers. Cross-linking of the monomers then resulted in textiles consisting of interwoven polymer threads.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Graphene foam gets big and tough

Graphene foam reinforced with carbon nanotubes can hold thousands of times its own weight and still bounce back to its full height. The material is thermally stable and highly conductive, making it suitable for batteries and other electrical applications.

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Learning how to fine-tune nanofabrication

Researchers developed a new computational method that may be used to produce tiny wires with diameters 1/100,000th that of a piece of hair, or tiny electrical circuits that can fit on the tip of a needle.

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How to roll a nanotube: Demystifying carbon nanotubes' structure control

A key advancement in the design of high performance carbon-based electronics has been made by scientists, outlines a new report.

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New metalloid oxide reducing bacteria found in Manitoba's Nopiming gold mine tailings

Researchers have identified new toxic metalloid-reducing bacteria in highly polluted abandoned gold mine tailings in Manitoba's Nopiming Provincial Park. Uncovering new bacteria with high resistance to toxic waste in Canada's extreme environments has potential to contribute to future bioremediation technologies.

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New economic water-splitting catalyst: Ruthenium-based material

Researchers in South Korea have developed an exiting new catalyst -- a ruthenium (Ru)-based material -- that can split water into hydrogen almost as well as platinum can.

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Closer look at atomic motion in molecules may benefit biotech researchers

Every molecule holds a complex landscape of moving atoms – and the ability to single out and examine individual nuclear vibrations may unlock to the secret to predicting and controlling chemical reactions. Now a new method enables biotech researchers to do just that.

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A new contrast agent for MRI

A specially coated iron oxide nanoparticle could provide an alternative to conventional gadolinium-based contrast agents used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In rare cases, the currently used gadolinium agents have been found to produce adverse effects in patients with impaired kidney function.

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Learning chemistry within Minecraft video game

Scientists are exploring whether teaching real-world science through a popular computer game may offer a more engaging and effective educational approach than traditional concepts of instruction. A group of 39 college students from diverse majors played an enhanced version of the popular video game "Minecraft" and learned chemistry in the process, despite being given no in-class science instruction.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Chemical engineers boost bacteria's productivity

Chemical engineers have designed a novel genetic switch that allows them to dramatically boost bacteria cells' production of useful chemicals by shutting competing metabolic pathways in the cells. The researchers showed that they could significantly enhance the yield of glucaric acid, a chemical precursor to products such as nylons and detergents.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Eco-friendly concrete created

In the future, wide-ranging composite materials are expected to be stronger, lighter, cheaper and greener for our planet, thanks to a new invention. Nine years ago, an American researcher invented an energy-efficient technology that harnesses largely low-temperature, water-based reactions.

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Nicotine Changes How Nicotinic Receptors Are Grouped on Brain Cells

Nicotine the primary compound found within tobacco smoke is known to change the grouping of some subtypes of nicotinic receptors, but the mechanisms for nicotine addiction remain unclear.

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Luminescence switchable carbon nanodots follow intracellular trafficking and drug delivery

Tiny carbon dots have, for the first time, been applied to intracellular imaging and tracking of drug delivery involving various optical and vibrational spectroscopic-based techniques such as fluorescence, Raman, and hyperspectral imaging. Researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that photo luminescent carbon nanoparticles can exhibit reversible switching of their optical properties in cancer cells.

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Organo-metal compound seen killing cancer cells from inside

Cancer cells have been observed being targeted and killed from the inside with metal-based compound, report researchers. The compound, Organo-Osmium FY26, attacks the weakest part of cancer cells. FY26 is 50x more active than metal drugs used in current cancer treatments, say researchers.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

50+ Year-Old Protein Volume Paradox Resolved

New research makes it possible to predict how volume for a given protein will change between the folded and unfolded state. Computations accurately predict how a protein will react to increased pressure, shed light on the inner-workings of life in the ocean depths, and may also offer insights into alien life.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Chemicals hitch a ride onto new protein for better compounds

Chemists have developed a powerful new method of selectively linking chemicals to proteins, a major advance in the manipulation of biomolecules that could transform the way drugs are developed, proteins are probed, and molecules are tracked and imaged. This technique, called ReACT, is akin to a chemical Swiss army knife for proteins.

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Genetic tool to improve arsenic studies

Arsenic-contaminated drinking water impacts millions of people worldwide. Groundwater contamination is primarily caused by microbes that convert one form of arsenic into another form that can infiltrate groundwater. Researchers have now developed a genetic tool that makes it easier to identify which microbial species have arsenic-converting genes.

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