Chemistry articlesInvisibility shields one step closer with new metamaterials that bend light backwards
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have for the first time engineered 3-D materials that can reverse the natural direction of visible and near-infrared light, a development that could help form the basis for higher resolution optical imaging, nanocircuits for high-powered computers, and, to the delight of science-fiction and fantasy buffs, cloaking devices that could render objects invisible to the human eye.
Strange molecule in the sky cleans acid rain, scientists discover
Researchers have discovered an unusual molecule that is essential to the atmosphere's ability to break down pollutants, especially the compounds that cause acid rain. It's the unusual chemistry facilitated by this molecule, however, that will attract the most attention from scientists.
Water is 'designer fluid' that helps proteins change shape, scientists say
According to new research, old ideas about water behavior are all wet. Ubiquitous on Earth, water also has been found in comets, on Mars and in molecular clouds in interstellar space. Now, scientists say this common fluid is not as well understood as we thought.
Polymer electric storage, flexible and adaptable
The proliferation of solar, wind and even tidal electric generation and the rapid emergence of hybrid electric automobiles demands flexible and reliable methods of high-capacity electrical storage. Now a team of Penn State materials scientists is developing ferroelectric polymer-based capacitors that can deliver power more rapidly and are much lighter than conventional batteries.
That tastes... sweet? Sour? No, it's definitely calcium!
Chemists in Philadelphia are reporting a discovery that could expand the palate of human tastes - sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory - to include a new taste sensation that they term "calcium."
New process extracts pure hydrogen from contaminant in unrefined oil
A commercial-scale process to extract and reuse pure hydrogen from the hydrogen sulfide that naturally contaminates unrefined oil, including oil sands, is one step closer to reality thanks to a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and Kingston Process Metallurgy Inc. (KPM) of Kingston, Ontario.
From sugar to gasoline
Following independent paths of investigation, two research teams are announcing this month that they have successfully converted sugar-potentially derived from agricultural waste and non-food plants-into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and a range of other valuable chemicals.
'Buckyballs' have high potential to accumulate in living tissue
Research at Purdue University suggests synthetic carbon molecules called fullerenes, or buckyballs, have a high potential of being accumulated in animal tissue, but the molecules also appear to break down in sunlight, perhaps reducing their possible environmental dangers.
New carbon material shows promise of storing large quantities of renewable electrical energy
Engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have achieved a breakthrough in the use of a one-atom thick structure called "graphene" as a new carbon-based material for storing electrical charge in ultracapacitor devices, perhaps paving the way for the massive installation of renewable energies such as wind and solar power.
Plants in forest emit aspirin chemical to deal with stress
Plants in a forest respond to stress by producing significant amounts of a chemical form of aspirin, scientists have discovered. The finding, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), opens up new avenues of research into the behavior of plants and their impacts on air quality, and it also has the potential to give farmers an early warning signal about crops that are failing.
More flexible method floated to produce biofuels, electricity
Researchers are proposing a new "flexible" approach to producing alternative fuels, hydrogen and electricity from municipal solid wastes, agricultural wastes, forest residues and sewage sludge that could supply up to 20 percent of transportation fuels in the United States annually.
Alberta researchers solve mystery of massive global extinction event 252 million years ago
The shorelines of ancient Alberta, British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic were an important refuge for some of the world's earliest animals, most of which were wiped out by a mysterious global extinction event some 252 million years ago.
As sticky as a gecko ... But ten times stronger!
The gecko's amazing ability to stick to surfaces and walk up walls has inspired many researchers to manufacture materials that mimic the special surface of a gecko's foot. The secret behind the gecko's ability to stick so well is a forest of pillars at the micro-/nano-scale on the underside of the gecko's foot. Because there are so many pillars so close together, they are held tightly to the surface the gecko is walking on by a molecular force called the Van der Waals force. This relatively weak force causes uncharged molecules to attract each other.
Better beer: college team creating anti-cancer brew
College students often spend their free time thinking about beer, but some Rice University students are taking it to the next level. They're using genetic engineering to create beer that contains resveratrol, a chemical in wine that's been shown to reduce cancer and heart disease in lab animals.
Superglue from the sea
Sandcastle worms live in intertidal surf, building sturdy tube-shaped homes from bits of sand and shell and their own natural glue. University of Utah bioengineers have made a synthetic version of this seaworthy superglue, and hope it will be used within several years to repair shattered bones in knees, other joints and the face.
Supercritical CO2 boosts super optimism in sequestering greenhouse gas
Scientists appear to have the rock-solid evidence that suggests carbon dioxide can be safely and permanently sequestered in deep, underground basalt rock formations, without risk of it eventually escaping to the atmosphere. The findings have potential implications for sequestering carbon in other reservoir systems as well.
Strong and lightweight material provides new use for coal ash
Each year, coal-burning power plants, steel factories and similar facilities in the United States produce more than 125 million tons of waste, much of it fly ash and bottom ash left over from combustion. Mulalo Doyoyo has plans for that material.
Fast molecular rearrangements hold key to plastic's toughness
Plastics are everywhere in our modern world, largely due to properties that render the materials tough and durable, but lightweight and easily workable. One of their most useful qualities, however - the ability to bend rather than break when put under stress - is also one of the most puzzling.
Argonne scientists discover possible mechanism for creating 'handedness' in biological molecules
The basic molecules that make up all living things have a predetermined chirality or "handedness," similar to the way people are right- or left-handed. This chirality has a profound influence on the chemistry and molecular interactions of living organisms. The creation of chirality from the elementary building blocks of matter is one of the great mysteries of the origin of life. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to induce this handedness in pre-biological molecules.
Plastic as a conductor
Plastic that conducts electricity and metal that weighs no more than a feather? It sounds like an upside-down world. Yet researchers have succeeded in making plastics conductive and cutting production costs at the same time.