Chemistry

Materials scientists have long sought to form glass from pure, monoatomic metals and Scott X. Mao, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues have done it.

How was it accomplished? It's long been conjectured that any metallic liquid can be vitrified into a glassy state provided that the cooling rate is sufficiently high. As is said about the original alchemy, turning lead into gold, it is now simply a matter of having enough energy.  But this of vitrification single-element metallic liquids has needed more than just high energy.


Natural gas proliferation has been a huge boon for the environment - CO2 emissions have plummeted among the U.S. energy sector, primarily because coal emissions have been knocked back to early 1980s levels. But there are concerns by environmentalists that modern hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") has risks, and it has been implicated in everything from earthquakes to methane in water even to claims it will cause the earth to deflate.


For burn victims, guarding wounds against infection is critical but wrapping wound dressings around fingers and toes can be tricky. Scientists have reporting the development of novel, ultrathin coatings - nanosheets - that can cling to the body's most difficult-to-protect contours and keep bacteria at bay. 

Yosuke Okamura, Ph.D., explains that existing wound dressings work well when it comes to treating burns on relatively flat and broad areas. But the human body has curves, wrinkles and ridges that present problems for these dressings. So Okamura's team developed a novel biomaterial out of tiny pieces of nanosheets that are super-flexible and sticky and they have tested them successfully on mice. 


Alcohol, including red wine which has acquired its own modern health food mythology, may be damaging to your health in a way you hadn't thought about before.

It isn't just the booze itself, a group of scholars contends it's the packaging. Phthalate compounds are widespread in our environment and present in many plastics. Obviously, any toxicity of phthalates varies depending on their chemical composition and some compounds are considered to be potential hormone disruptorrs, so they are regulated on an international level, including for those likely to come into contact with food and drink packaging.

A new strategy enables molecules to be disconnected essentially anywhere, even remote from functionality.  

The organic synthesis strategy, developed by Professor Varinder Aggarwal and Dr Ramesh Rasappan in the School of Chemistry, involves a new method for combining smaller fragments together in which there is no obvious history in the product of their genesis.

Their paper describes not only this new strategy, but also its application to the shortest known synthesis, just 14 steps, of hydroxyphthioceranic acid, a key component of the cell wall lipid of the virulent mycobacterium tuberculosis. The method is now being developed to explore the possibility of creating a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. 


Highly purified crystals that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. Producing these crystals often involves etching them with a precise beam of electrons and can be difficult and expensive.

Researchers at Princeton and Columbia universities have proposed a new method that could allow scientists to customize and grow these specialized materials, known as photonic crystals, with relative ease. 




There is a little miracle of science happening in your body right now. As you read this, a minuscule 5 grams of a high-energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate - ATP - is causing all kinds of reactions in order to give you the energy to sit at your computer. In total, 8 ounces of ATP is being recycled hundreds of times each day, so many times that a human can use their body weight - 200 pounds of ATP in my case – every 24 hours. 

 An 'organic cage molecule' called CC3 has been found to separate krypton, radon and xenon from air at concentrations of only a few parts per million. 

Gases such as radon, xenon and krypton all occur naturally in the air but in minute quantities – typically less than one part per million. As a result they are expensive to extract for use in industries such as lighting or medicine and, in the case of radon, the gas can accumulate in buildings.

In the US, radon accounts for around 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.




At a secret enclave in the San Francisco metropolitan area, synthetic biologists and DIYBio tinkerers have been hacking nature up to fix the one thing about the vegan diet that would be difficult for many Americans: going without cheese.

iGEM - the 10th international Genetically Engineered Machine competition - is tackling expressing casein proteins in yeast to make cheese. Not a cheese substitute, real cheese, without milk from a cow or a goat.  

A new assay is inexpensive, simple, and can tell whether or not one of the primary drugs being used to treat malaria is genuine – an enormous and deadly problem in the developing world.

The World Health Organization has estimated that up to 200,000 lives a year may be lost due to the use of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. When commercialized, the new technology may be able to help address that problem by testing drugs for efficacy at a cost of a few cents.