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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.



Issue 6

Environmental suspects nailed

Thai researchers have developed an electrochemical method using redox catalysts for improved detection of organohalides, linked with ozone depletion and climate change. Mithran Somasundrum and co-workers utilized a better catalyst immobilized within a liquid crystal film. The redox catalyst reacts with an analyte and regenerates at an electrode, the resulting current being used to measure the analyte concentration. Future work will focus on portable hand-held sensors for on-site detection of suspected environmental contamination.

Bouncing water balls

Recent advances in the field of water repellency are discussed by Mathilde Callies and David Quéré who are based at CNRS in France. Superhydrophobicity is the unusual property of some materials to repel water, where drops of water barely stick to the surface and bounce back upon impact. This property is shown to be related to the presence of microtextures at the surface. The design of the solid surface and how the water contacts it is discussed.   

Inhibition activities

Peter Wipf and Robert Halter from the University of Pittsburgh, US, describe recent work on the synthesis, reactivity and biology of wortmannin - a potent enzyme inhibitor whose chemistry and biology has challenged scientists since it was first isolated in 1957. New potential biomedical applications of this steroid-like molecule continue to be found.   

Responsive brushes

Bacteria and proteins have been attached to stimuli-responsive polymer brushes. Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) brushes grown on micropatterned gold surfaces by atom transfer radical polymerisation show reversible physicochemical changes around the lower critical solution temperature. The associated hydrophilic-hydrophobic switch of the brushes allows the variable attachment of bacteria and proteins to distinct areas using temperature control. This development could lead to surface arrays that can be tuned to adsorb or reject specific cell types. 

Essential Elements

The softer side of science

Soft matter - what is it, and just what area of science does it cover? Nobel Prize winner and 'founding father' of soft matter research, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, offers his views o...

RSC journal scores Top Ten hit

A paper detailing a new breed of organocatalyst used in asymmetric reactions, published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, is among the Chemical Abstracts Service top ten mos...

And finally......

Nobel prize winner Ryoji Noyori from Nagoya University, Japan, is the author of the third in a series of 40th Anniversary Articles in ChemComm

Research Highlights

Researchers measure realistic UV exposure

Skiers' UV exposure has been measured on the slopes with a device developed in New Zealand that can also monitor children's UV exposure levels.

Improved anti-cancer drugs

Researchers in New Zealand have found a radical way to help develop anti-cancer drugs.

Proteins studied by optical probe

A new technique to measure the compressibility of proteins accurately has been developed.

Furan synthesis made easy

Easy access to a versatile group of furan compounds has been provided in a one-pot procedure by scientists in Germany.

Atmospheric mystery still unsolved

The removal of dimethyl sulfide (DMS) from the atmosphere remains a mystery as reaction with iodine monoxide (IO) is ruled out by researchers from Leeds, UK.

Deciphering chemical architecture

In a bid to understand large crystal architectures, three rare ternary co-crystals have been made by chemists in the US.

Exclusive home for molecules in nano-capsules

A remarkably selective nano-capsule has been created by chemists from Japan. The nanocapsule has two cavitand molecules bound to silver ions to form the 'top' and 'bottom' parts an...

Prototype molecules for interstellar chemistry

A likely interstellar molecule has been detected and analysed

Ligand helps chain extension reaction

A method to modify terminal epoxide groups and lengthen carbon chains has been developed. In traditional substitution reactions, anions formed at the end of the carbon chain can be...

Tissue engineering helps control nerves

Modifying an adsorbed extracellular matrix protein (ECM) on tissue engineered for use in patients can selectively change the nervous response of cells, say researchers from Notting...

Two charges better than one

Compounds with both positive and negative charges can be made in abundance thanks to a method developed by scientists in France.

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