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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Issue 6

Hair today, drugs tomorrow

An elegant and flexible synthesis which could lead to new anti-cancer drugs has been developed by researchers from Sweden. Peter Somfai and Staffan Torssell have prepared D-erythro-sphingosine, a member of a family of so-called sphingolipids from cell membranes which includes the ceramides many of us are more familiar with from hair-care commercials. Somfai and Torssell hope to maximise the proven anti-tumour activity of D-erythro-sphingosine by changing their synthesis to make more potent analogs.

Rings galore

Researchers in Canada present a simple method for making tiny rings made of Fe/Co nanoparticles. Polyferrocenylsilanes (PFS) are metallopolymers that can be readily polymerised. Ian Manners and his colleagues from the University of Toronto apply a PFS to a pre-patterned substrate to form 2D-arrays of Co-PFS rings, which form Fe/Co alloy nanoparticle rings after pyrolysis. Self-assembly of these rings, Manners speculates, could lead to cylinders which could be co-assembled with rods and spheres to build tiny machines.

Simultaneous monitoring

Researchers in the USA have successfully demonstrated the coupling of a gas chromatograph to an inductively coupled plasma Mattauch-Herzog geometry mass spectrograph, including a novel detector array, for the detection/determination of organometallic and halogenated hydrocarbon species. Gary Hieftje and colleagues claim the system can simultaneously monitor up to 15 m/z ratios, achieve low limits of detection and eliminate some shortcomings often associated with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometric instrumentation.

Templating macrocycles

Functionalised calixarenes can be converted into multi-macrocyclic compounds using another calixarene as a template reports a team from Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany. Volker Böhmer and colleagues exploit the configuration of one hydrogen-bonded calixarene dimer as a template for the preparation of tetra- and octa- substituted calixarenes with specific geometries. They propose that this methodology could be useful in the preparation of rotaxanes, catenanes, and large functional macrocycles.

Essential Elements

Gaseous bioactive molecules

Gaseous bioactive molecules

Publishing - a global activity

Publishing - a global activity

Want to write nano style?

The novel properties, applications and commercial opportunities presented by developments in nanoscience and nanotechnology research, all feature in a forthcoming book series from ...

Research Highlights

Keeping an eye on diabetes

Modifying contact lenses will allow easy monitoring of blood glucose levels.

Come fly with me

Acoustic levitation of micro droplets leads to test tubes without walls.

Secrets of the active site

Effects of fluorine on enzyme-inhibitor interactions.

Belt up for new nanomaterials

Simple method to prepare conducting polymer nanostructures.

Sensitively measuring radiation

Radiation doses can be measured and calculated more sensitively thanks to a new material being developed by Norwegian researchers.

Non-explosive route to green reagent

Hydrogen peroxide can be efficiently synthesised from hydrogen and oxygen without the need for strong acids or the risk of explosion.

Chemistry and the war on terror

A recent report from US scientists concludes that biologically inspired sensors and lab-on-a-chip devices will be at the heart of future counter-terrorism technologies.

Shedding light on protein structure

Scientists from Umeå University in Sweden have come up with a straightforward way of measuring distances within protein molecules using fluorescence spectroscopy.

Linking large and small

Connecting microfluidic devices may not be as problematic in the future as it is now.

Growing smarter

Materials are becoming increasingly smart and now, by utilising known biological applications, a 'smart Petri dish' is being developed.

Haute-couture catalysts

Tailor-made ligands have allowed researchers to develop a unique catalytic system.