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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.



Issue 2

The golden gate to catalysis

Contrary to the popular belief that gold is just too stable and unreactive to be used in catalytic reactions, Norbert Krause from the University of Dortmund, Germany and Anja Hoffmann-Röder from ETH Zürich, Switzerland, highlight how effective a catalyst this element can be in certain reactions. Gold salts are quite unique since they can activate both carbon-carbon double and triple bonds, as well as carbon-hydrogen bonds of certain compounds. This dual activation makes reactions possible that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in a single vessel.

Modelling molecules in space

Researchers in California have used time-dependent density functional theory calculations and matrix isolation spectroscopy to investigate transitions in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their radical ions. Martin Head-Gordon and co-workers prove that electronic transitions in PAH ions can be responsible for features in the mid-infrared spectral region. This supports the model that unidentified infrared bands associated with gas and dust, and found throughout the galaxy, originate from PAHs.

Catalyst's role reversal

Portugese researchers have helped to open up a fresh area of chemistry - the catalysis of reductions by transition metals in high oxidation states - by demonstrating the excellent efficiency of a high divalent dioxomolybdenum complex in typical hydrosilylation reactions The MoO2 fragment is familiar in oxidation catalysis, but its reducing capabilities have never been seen before. Encouraged by these results, the chemists are now pursuing studies towards the further application of the novel reactivity of the molybdenum-oxygen pi bond.

All change please

Raymond Roulet and co-workers at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Lausanne, Switzerland, demonstrate that the two main mechanisms of carbonyl exchange in cluster compounds can be distinguished by calculating the activation volume of the compound. Studies of transition metal carbonyl clusters such as these give a useful insight into how carbon monoxide and other small molecules move around on metal surfaces in processes such as catalysis.

Essential Elements

Access more with the RSC

Access more with the RSC

Have grants - will travel!

Have grants - will travel!

And finally....

And finally....

Research Highlights

Molecular Lego

Simple metal complexes as building bricks for luminescent systems

Olive extraction

Wastewater from olive mills could prove a useful antioxidant source

Going with the flow

Microreactors allow direct fluorination of organic compounds

Bright future for LCD-TVs

New materials with better properties could soon be coming to a LCD-TV near you

Fluorescent magnesium paddle wheels

The first luminescent complex to contain magnesium has been made by chemists in India and the UK

Probing pyrene

Canadian researchers have been shedding light on the nature of the underlying photophysical processes in fluorescent probes.

Measuring with sensitivity

Biological samples can be tested for ultra trace levels of uranium and plutonium with higher sensitivity than has been possible in the past.

Rotational rigidity at room temperature

Metal arylphosphine complexes that are rigid above room temperature have been studied for the first time.

Double laser hit to probe vibrations

Lasers can both initiate and investigate a molecular change to shed light on how molecules vibrate.

Enzyme through the looking glass

Researchers at Keio University, Japan, have inverted an enzyme's enantioselectivity despite not knowing its structure or reaction mechanism.

Zipping up the strands

In their search for new anticancer drugs medicinal chemists are developing compounds that inhibit DNA replication and cell proliferation.

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