RSC - Advancing the Chemical Sciences

Chemistry World


News October 2011


Pee-powered fuel cell turns urine to energy

31 October 2011

Urine could be processed into power and fertiliser by bacterial biofilms

Flexible displays HD TV

Organic LEDs set to become displays' flexible friend

31 October 2011

Researchers find a way to put OLEDs on flexible plastic while retaining efficiency

Kilogram redefined

The kilogram is dead! Long live the kilogram!

31 October 2011

Four of the base SI units, including the kilogram and mole, are set to be redefined

Click chemistry

Clicking your way to synthetic antibody therapies

28 October 2011

Enzymes can be used as templates to produce synthetic antibodies via click chemistry reactions

Exploding cucumbers

Exploding cucumbers inspire drug delivery

28 October 2011

A capsule that squirts cancer drug at its target in a new drug delivery strategy

Heparin ultra low weight

Simpler enzymatic route to synthetic heparin

28 October 2011

Researchers hope new synthetic pathway could lead to cheaper treatment for deep vein thrombosis


Almac to hire 500 in next year

27 October 2011

The Northern Ireland based company has increased its workforce six fold in the last 5 years to over 3000

Two jigsaw puzzle parts fitting together, one part graphene and the other a zeolite

Graphene and zeolite team up for catalysis

27 October 2011

Graphene enhances the photocatalytic activity of zeolites


Graphene robot has some smooth moves

27 October 2011

Scientists have added a graphene layer to a polyethylene actuator to convert IR into energy to move the actuator

Aromatic-aliphatic space compound

Complex organic matter may have been found beyond the Solar System

26 October 2011

Scientists in Hong Kong pick up traces of chemical structures similar to coal and oil

EU scoreboard

Europe risks being outstripped by R&D rivals

26 October 2011

Investment in R&D by top European firms grew by 6 per cent last year, but competitors are growing faster


Dismissing gatekeepers for enhanced nerve control

26 October 2011

A calcium-ion absorbing coating could improve electrodes being used to treat conditions such as epilepsy

STEM researchers

US STEM graduates look beyond science for careers

25 October 2011

Nearly half of Americans with STEM degrees have left the field 10 years later, a new report finds

DNA methylation modification detection

Carbon nanotubes detect DNA 'flipping out'

25 October 2011

Epigenetic modification of DNA can be spotted by measuring changes in its conductance

Ancient cooking pot

Dirty pots reveal ancient fish suppers

24 October 2011

Isotope ratios and fatty acids residues in ancient pottery indicate that Europeans carried on fishing after farming began


UK government pulls the plug on CCS plant

24 October 2011

The UK's first large scale carbon capture and storage scheme has been binned with the government blaming technical problems

Lab safety

US universities' lab safety under new scrutiny

24 October 2011

US Chemical Safety Board 'greatly concerned' by frequency of academic lab accidents, recommends nationwide reporting system

Hydrogel click chemistry

Clicking together cultural niches

23 October 2011

Click reactions have been used to control cells' culture media to study cellular processes in greater detail

Cutting drugs in half

Abbott splits to set pharma portfolio free

21 October 2011

US drug maker divides the firm into two parts as part of a rebalancing strategy

Nanomaterial definition

EU proposes nanomaterial definition

21 October 2011

The chemical industry says it's too broad; the environmental lobby says it's too narrow

Nanotube heterojunction solar cells

Nanotubes with a split personality show solar promise

20 October 2011

Self-assembled semiconducting nanostructures with two distinct electronic domains form the first nanowire heterojunctions

Smart battery woven into smart garments

New power for smart garments

20 October 2011

Batteries could now be integrated into cotton or polyester to power smart textiles

Triodes aeacus butterfly

Mimicking mother nature's solar panels

20 October 2011

Black butterfly wings provide inspiration for new solar collection devices

Blood vessel

Bubble trouble eliminated in cancer treatment

20 October 2011

A device to make droplets to cut off blood supply to tumours

M13 phage

Twisted self-assembly may lead to artificial bone

19 October 2011

Bacteriophages have been coaxed into three different arrangements that possess a tooth and bone-like microstructure

Graphene nanoribbons

Ironing out the wrinkles in graphene ribbon fabrication

19 October 2011

Chinese scientists have developed a technique that can produce regular parallel arrays of graphene nanoribbons

Dow flag

Dow reels from former scientist's economic espionage

19 October 2011

Dow pledges to improve security after a researcher stole trade secrets and passed them to a Chinese university

Cofactor catalysis

Cofactor control of catalysis enantioselectivity

18 October 2011

Catalysts can turn from achiral to chiral using cofactors and can perform asymmetric reactions with high enantiomeric selectivity

shale rock

European fracking boom 'doubtful'

18 October 2011

The high surface activity needed for shale gas extraction is likely to put off Europeans, says the boss of Shell Chemical

Hydrophobic effects

Water erodes 'lock and key' drug model

17 October 2011

Protein binding is not ruled by increases in entropy when ligands displace water, contrary to long-held 'hydrophobic effect' theory

DNA cell sorting

Quickly sorting cells using DNA

17 October 2011

Magnetic sorting method uses DNA to bind and release multiple targets

Brazil scientists

Universities around the world prepare to welcome an influx of Brazilian students

14 October 2011

Brazil plans to boost scientific knowhow by sending 75,000 students abroad to study

Gene therapy

Twist in the tale to improve gene therapy

14 October 2011

Unravelling the physical properties of DNA molecules can help to up the efficiency of gene delivery into living cells

Potential energy surface conical intersection

Following electrons' chemical reaction quickstep

13 October 2011

Researchers have taken a series of snapshots to watch how electrons rearrange during a photochemical reaction

Nanotube artificial muscle

Carbon nanotubes give artificial muscles a new twist

13 October 2011

A powerful artificial muscle fibre has been made from carbon nanotubes that twist in response to an electrochemical stimulus

Beating the counterfeiters

Beating the counterfeiters

13 October 2011

A multifunctional anti-counterfeit ink to stay one step ahead of fake money makers


Fluoride shuttle batteries lift off

13 October 2011

Rechargeable batteries based on fluoride ions could have a better storage capacity than current batteries


Probes inspired by butterflies

13 October 2011

An artificial proboscis made from electrospun polymer fibres

David MacMillan

Hot chemistry

12 October 2011

Temperature played a crucial role in David MacMillan's decision to study chemistry. Joanne Thomson finds out more


A polymer plug for blood vessels

11 October 2011

The makers of the gel say it is less damaging than using clamps to block blood vessels for surgery

Arsenic wells drinking water

Hope for arsenic free water from deep underground

11 October 2011

Sediment deep underground could protect communities from water contaminated with arsenic by locking the toxic element away

Gallium nitride LEDs grown on glass

Growing gallium nitride LEDs on glass

09 October 2011

A technique that grows gallium nitride crystals on glass could cut the cost of making LEDs

Cellular lipid probe

New probe throws light on cellular lipids

09 October 2011

Signalling lipids in living cells have been tracked using highly specific binding proteins coupled with an organic dye

Chameleon cloth

Chameleon clothes to detect falling oxygen levels

07 October 2011

Dye particles woven into cloth to monitor oxygen levels


European doctoral students struggle to find funding

07 October 2011

New survey finds that in some European countries only half of doctoral students secure enough research funding

Primer strands attached to a gold nanoparticle

Detecting diseases with DNA sensors

07 October 2011

DNA sensors based on gold nanoparticles could improve sensitivity in disease detection

Zeolite nanosheets

Smoothing out zeolite nanosheet synthesis

06 October 2011

A new technique overcomes a major problem with the production of zeolite nanosheets

Australian academics quit

Half of young Australian academics ready to quit

06 October 2011

Dissatisfaction with poor job security and low pay is rife in Australian universities

Water structure

Oxygen isotopes help to probe water's structure

06 October 2011

Quantum effects in water are revealed by substituting its oxygen with isotopes

Pouring tea

Detecting plasticisers in drinks

06 October 2011

A simple analytical test could prevent phthalates from entering the food chain

An eggshell

Using eggshells to remove toxic water pollutants

06 October 2011

Eggshell membranes can remove toxic hexavalent chromium from contaminated water


Crystals that aren't quite crystalline win Nobel

05 October 2011

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Dan Shechtman for his discovery of quasicrystals

Hungary red mud disaster

One year on from Hungary's red mud disaster

05 October 2011

On the first anniversary of the country's worst environmental accident the area has recovered surprisingly quickly

Formamide building blocks

Turning carbon dioxide into chemicals with an amine

05 October 2011

The reduction and functionalisation of carbon dioxide in a single step yields chemically versatile molecules

Inorganic graphene analogues

Mixed solvents exfoliate graphene analogues

04 October 2011

Chemists in China open up more possibilities to produce single-layer inorganic nanomaterials


US firm to 'mine' lithium from geothermal plant brines

03 October 2011

Simbol Materials opens pilot facility to separate lithium from geothermal power plant wastewater