Happy Birthday to Marie Curie


Learn more about why Marie Curie’s birthday is an event worth celebrating!

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Large Scale, Stable “Redox-Flow” Batteries using Vanadium have the potential to reduce pollution

Learn more about Redox Flow batteries:

The missing Link to renewable energy

Laws in Chemistry; Learn more about the law of Definite Composition

The 2017 Nobel Prize for Chemistry goes to ….


The Nobel prize for chemistry was announced yesterday.  The winning research allows for enhanced visualization of molecules.  The 2017 prize went to the “development of cryo-electron microscop.”  This is  a technique that allows the structures of biomolecules to be revealed.

This technique provides scientists with insights into how proteins move and interact with other molecules, as well as potentially improving our understanding of how drugs act on protein targets.

 

 

 

In 2015 the Nobel Prize in chemistry went to a technique that “spellchecked” DNA:

Mushrooms that emit light make use of a catalyst to speed up the reaction rate


More interesting information about how catalysts help to speed up reaction rates in glow in the dark mushrooms

Read the article here:  Mechanism and color modulation of fungal bioluminescence

Abstract

“Bioluminescent fungi are spread throughout the globe, but details on their mechanism of light emission are still scarce. Usually, the process involves three key components: an oxidizable luciferin substrate, a luciferase enzyme, and a light emitter, typically oxidized luciferin, and called oxyluciferin. We report the structure of fungal oxyluciferin, investigate the mechanism of fungal bioluminescence, and describe the use of simple synthetic α-pyrones as luciferins to produce multicolor enzymatic chemiluminescence. A high-energy endoperoxide is proposed as an intermediate of the oxidation of the native luciferin to the oxyluciferin, which is a pyruvic acid adduct of caffeic acid. Luciferase promiscuity allows the use of simple α-pyrones as chemiluminescent substrates.”

Chemists with enzyme envy. Chemists use plant models to design a new catalyst.

“Through photosynthesis, plants and some bacteria use energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into useful organic chemicals.

Now researchers have developed a catalyst that can turn CO2 into ethanol and propanol when operating at voltages that solar cells could provide (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2017, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1711493114).
This process of powering chemical synthesis via solar power, called artificial photosynthesis, could enable carbon-neutral fuels. In such a system, every molecule of CO2 emitted when a fuel is burned could be captured to make another fuel molecule. But developing catalysts that can recycle CO2 is challenging, says Peidong Yang, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley.”

Using catalysts based on iron, copper, indium, and other metals, researchers have successfully transformed CO2 into single-carbon compounds, including carbon monoxide, formate, and methanol. Making multicarbon compounds directly has proved more difficult.

The team discovered this better catalyst by systematically studying the performance of different densities of copper nanoparticles on support structures made of various materials. Graduate student Dohyung Kim found the best catalytic performance when he covered carbon paper with about 45 µg of the copper particles per square centimeter of the paper.

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Despite these fastidious efforts, Yang says the researchers are not yet sure why the catalyst works so well. The researchers observed that after seven minutes under reaction conditions, the spherical nanoparticles fuse into larger cubic ones, with an interface between copper, copper oxide, and carbon from the paper. The group is still investigating the mechanism, but they believe this interface is key to the structure’s catalytic activity. “We’ve finally identified a key active interface to produce two- and three-carbon compounds,” Yang says.

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The role of nano units in helping to learn more about tattoo ink and tattoo removal

What was I thinking? Science helps out.

“Nanoparticles from tattoos circulate inside the body, study finds”


Learn more about the movement of tattoo ink from skin to lymph nodes