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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.



Issue 12

Multivalency for the nanotech age

The simultaneous interaction between mutually complementary multiple functionalities which are also known as multivalent interactions, such as those between proteins and carbohydrates, are increasingly being utilised by supramolecular chemists working in nanotechnology. Jurriaan Huskens and colleagues from the University of Twente, the Netherlands, discuss this important area of research and its potential as a tool in the area of self-assembly. Multivalency combines the attractive features of self-assembly with kinetic and/or thermodynamic stability at very low concentrations. 

Palladium doubles up

A new tandem catalytic cycle has been uncovered by researchers from the University of Calabria, Italy. It uses simple reagents and involves two species of palladium catalyst to synthesise complex benzofuran derivatives. The method mimics the way enzymes perform sequential reactions. This reaction comprises a one-pot deprotection followed by cyclisation to generate the desired product. Applications of this technique could have many practical advantages; for example benzofurans are potent insecticides.   

NO interference

Jonathan Sweedler and co-workers at the University of Illinois, US, have developed a new way to measure NO levels in biological tissues. 4,5-Diaminofluorescein (DAF-2) is widely used to measure NO levels in tissues, but is subject to interference from cellular compounds. By freezing a sample next to frozen DAF-2, the team found the NO diffuses from the sample and reacts with the DAF-2, allowing detection without any interferences. The approach is expected to be useful to validate new fluorescent probes for NO detection.   

Platinum plus one

Platinum catalysts are important in the development of fuel cells as alternative power sources; their performance improves on addition of a second noble metal. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,US, have reviewed electrocatalysis on platinum surfaces modified by other noble metals focussing on surfaces of well-defined structure and composition. They hope that future research will increase the activity and stability of electrochemical catalysts to support robust fuel cell performance.   

Essential Elements

RSC breaks boundaries with new journals

The RSC has unveiled plans to launch two new interdisciplinary journals.

And finally.....

News

Research Highlights

Catalytic behaviour

Small changes mean big effects for designer catalysts

Hanging out with single droplets

Aerosol measurements are improved with optical tweezers

Making bonds all over again

Recycling catalysts brings new dimension to carbon-carbon bond formation

Toxic oxygen

Toxic products in biological systems linked to applied magnetic fields

Boat-shaped by design

A miniature protein with a stable folded boat-shaped structure has been designed by a team of Indian chemists.

Metal mimics

German scientists have made progress in the quest to mimic the activity of catechol oxidase, the copper-containing enzyme found in fungi, bacteria and plants.

Buckyballs get a soft landing

When the 1996 Nobel prize in chemistry went to the discoverers of C60, or 'buckyballs' as they were affectionately known, the fullerenes suddenly shot to superstar status. And inte...

Macromolecular menagerie

How polymers, whether man-made or biological, organise themselves into structures ranging in size from nanometres to micrometres was the subject of a Faraday Discussion meeting, Se...

New ligand on the block

UK scientists have found an alternative to the cyclopentadienyl (Cp) ligand, historically the dominating anion in olefin polymerisation catalysis.

A-peeling polymers

Researchers at the University of Hull, UK, have developed a new self-assembly technique to make arrays of microlenses.

Searching for drugs

A new set of simple empirical rules for drug design that avoids any 'wet' chemistry or complicated calculations has been mooted by chemists in Cambridge, UK.