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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Issue 9

Peptide nanotubes

Hisakazu Mihara from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, and co-workers from Fuji Xerox have engineered peptides to form desirable bases for functional nanomaterials. They synthesised three sorts of biotinylated peptides with different linkers between biotin and beta-sheet peptide. These self-assembled to form uniform tubular nanostructures. Anti-biotin antibody preferentially bound the tubes made from the peptides with the most hydrophilic linker. This implies that the surface properties and functions of the nanotubes can be controlled by the peptide design.

A flash of inspiration

Decomposition of a nickel(II) polyamine complex proceeds via either thermodynamically or kinetically controlled routes
depending on how quickly acid is added. Luigi Fabbrizzi and colleagues from Pavia, Italy, noticed that if acid is added
slowly a violet-coloured nickel species is formed. If, however, the acid is added in one go, then a short-lived yellow species is seen. The violet complex is shown to be an octahedrally coordinated high-spin species with the yellow complex having square-planar geometry with a low-spin nickel centre.

One-pot wonders

The immense advances made by synthetic chemistry have led some to declare it a 'mature science', but Tyler McQuade and colleagues at Cornell University, US, counter this viewpoint by highlighting the resource-intensive nature of modern synthetic methods using separate flasks or reactors. The authors promote the use of 'one-pot' syntheses with catalyst site-isolation and substrate-selective catalysis which improve efficiency by avoiding lengthy separation and purification procedures.

Thin-film organic electronics

Gregor Witte and colleagues from Ruhr-Universitšt Bochum, Germany, have grown the first crystalline thin films of rubrene, a promising molecular semiconductor, using 'hotwall' deposition. They demonstrated that the molecules in the film assume a planar conformation that differs from the chiral conformation of the molecule in the gaseous phase. The experiments will stimulate development of potential applications of thin film organic electronic materials.

Essential Elements

Beauty through the eyes of a chemist

Have you ever wondered where the true beauty resides in experimental chemistry?

Two new RSC weeklies announced

Two more of the RSC's journals are to be published weekly from January 2006.

And finally....

Nanochemistry: A Chemical Approach to Nanomaterials.

Research Highlights

Microwaveable microfluidic devices

Domestic microwave ovens could soon replace expensive radio frequency plasma cleaners used to make microfluidic devices.

Dissolving boron for cancer therapy

A new complex for more effective delivery of closo-carborane agents to tumour sites has been developed by chemists in Australia.

Fungus fighting tomatoes get sugar boost

Super tomatoes fighting off killer fungi sounds like the plot for a bad sci-fi movie, but could be closer to reality than we thought.

Controllable molecular shuttles

A molecular shuttle whose speed can be precisely controlled has been developed by researchers in Germany.

Cooking up a storm in a frying pan

Teflon-coated cookware does not pose a threat to human health, according to scientists in the US.

Changing colours of latex

A new approach to making colour changing, light sensitive materials has been developed by researchers in Scandinavia.

Why silver speeds photocatalysis

Why silver deposits on the surface of titanium dioxide make the material a better photocatalyst for breaking down some organic molecules but not others.

Polymeric micelles guide the way in anticancer treatment

A new type of polymeric micelle drug carrier has been developed by scientists in Japan.

Extended aromatic system gives new dyes

A new class of compounds for making yellow and violet dyes has been discovered by chemists in Germany.

Active organosilicas with ion selectivity

An all in one approach for preparing ion-selective mesoporous organosilica structures has been developed.

Rapid enzyme screening

A fast, efficient screening method that could test vast numbers of enzymes for specific applications has been discovered by researchers in the UK, bringing made to order enzymes a ...

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