Chemistry

Computer technology has transformed the way we live but that is all old news 35 years into the computer revolution.

Today, consumers expect ever more from their devices - smaller size and faster speeds - and that means designers have to worry about heat. Writing in Industrial  &  Engineering Chemistry,  researchers report that liquids containing nanoparticles could help devices stay cool and keep them running.

Research into mitigating potential global warming caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide usually involves three areas: Developing alternative energy sources, capturing and storing greenhouse gases, and repurposing excess greenhouse gases.

Carbon storage will never happen, we can't even store nuclear waste in what science determined was the safest place on earth, but those other two are still possible.

Liquid Light Inc. of Monmouth Junction, N.J., got together with Andrew Bocarsly, a Princeton professor of chemistry, to devise an efficient method for harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into a potential alternative fuel known as formic acid. 


A new study has found that palladium-gold nanoparticles are excellent catalysts for cleaning polluted water - and can even convert biodiesel waste into valuable chemicals.

In dozens of studies, Rice University chemical engineer Michael Wong and colleagues have focused on using the tiny metallic specks to break down carcinogenic and toxic compounds and have now examined whether palladium-gold nanocatalysts could convert glycerol, a waste byproduct of biodiesel production, into high-value chemicals.


Chemists have constructed liquid crystals with optical properties that can be instantly and reversibly controlled by an external magnetic field and that paves the way for display applications using instantaneous and contactless nature of magnetic manipulation - like a poster that customizes based on the people around it.

Commercially available liquid crystals in electronic displays are composed of rod-like or plate-like molecules. When an electric field is applied, the molecules rotate and align themselves along the field direction, resulting in a rapid tuning of transmitted light.


Recently, Subway declared they would stop using a chemical because a food activist convinced people it was in yoga mats, and was therefore dangerous.

What's really dangerous are the toxic chemicals in solar panels. Soon, they could have the same ingredient as tofu, though you shouldn't stop eating tofu just because Vani Hari, the "Food Babe", can't pronounce any of the the chemicals it contains.

Cadmium chloride is currently a key ingredient in solar cell technology used in millions of solar panels around the world. This soluble compound is highly toxic and expensive to produce, requiring elaborate safety measures to protect workers during manufacture and then specialist disposal when panels are no longer needed.


If there is a spill, the chemical makeup of wastewater generated by fracking could cause the release of tiny particles in soils that might bind heavy metals and pollutants, Cornell University researchers have found.


Biological membranes are like a guarded border. They separate the cell from the environment and at the same time control the import and export of molecules.

The nuclear membrane can be crossed via many tiny pores. Scientists have discovered that proteins found within the nuclear pore function similar to a velcro. In a new paper, they report how these proteins can be used for controlled and selective transport of particles.

There is much traffic in our cells. Many proteins, for example, need to travel from their production site in the cytoplasm to the nucleus, where they are used to read genetic information. Pores in the nuclear membrane enable their transport into and out of the cell nucleus.


Erythritol is the sweetener most people in the western world have never heard about. It can only be produced with the help of special kinds of yeast in highly concentrated molasses but it has a number of advantages: it does not make you fat, it does not cause tooth decay, it has no effect on the blood sugar and, unlike other 'artificial' sweeteners, it does not have a laxative effect.

Erythritol is more common in Asia and researchers at TU Vienna have developed a method that could make it popular in the US and Europe - they can produce it from ordinary straw with the help of a mold fungus. The experiments have been a big success, and now the procedure will be optimized for industry.


Scientists have created a one-step process for producing highly efficient materials that let the maximum amount of sunlight reach a solar cell - by finding a simple way to etch nanoscale spikes into silicon that allows more than 99 percent of sunlight to reach the cells' active elements, where it can be turned into electricity.

The more light absorbed by a solar panel's active elements, the more power it will produce. But the light has to get there. Coatings in current use that protect the active elements let most light pass but reflect some as well.

Various strategies have cut reflectance down to about 6 percent but the anti-reflection is limited to a specific range of light, incident angle and wavelength.


An imbalance of female sex hormones caused by vegetarian foods like soy may be contributing to high levels of male obesity, according to a recent paper.