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Archive for the ‘chemistry’ category

Sep 10, 2019

Tesla’s Jeff Dahn Unveils Million-Mile Battery Cell

Posted by in categories: chemistry, sustainability, transportation

Jeff Dahn works with Tesla alongside his individual research pursuits. He’s discovered a chemistry that might make robo-taxis and longer-range EVs a reality.

Sep 7, 2019

AI learns the language of chemistry to predict how to make medicines

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, information science, robotics/AI

Researchers have designed a machine learning algorithm that predicts the outcome of chemical reactions with much higher accuracy than trained chemists and suggests ways to make complex molecules, removing a significant hurdle in drug discovery.

University of Cambridge researchers have shown that an algorithm can predict the outcomes of complex reactions with over 90% accuracy, outperforming trained chemists. The algorithm also shows chemists how to make target compounds, providing the chemical “map” to the desired destination. The results are reported in two studies in the journals ACS Central Science and Chemical Communications.

A central challenge in drug discovery and materials science is finding ways to make complicated organic molecules by chemically joining together simpler building blocks. The problem is that those building blocks often react in unexpected ways.

Sep 7, 2019

Tesla patents new battery cell for faster charge, better longevity, and lower cost

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, sustainability

Tesla’s battery research group led by Jeff Dahn in Halifax has applied for a patent that describes a new battery cell chemistry that would result in faster charging and discharging, better longevity, and even lower cost.

Jeff Dahn is considered a pioneer in Li-ion battery cells. He has been working on the Li-ion batteries pretty much since they were invented. He is credited for helping increase the life cycle of the cells, which helped their commercialization. His work now focuses mainly on a potential increase in energy density and durability.

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Sep 5, 2019

Scientists find new, long-hypothesized material state with signature of quantum disordered liquid-like magnetic moments

Posted by in categories: chemistry, quantum physics

The future of technology relies, to a great extent, on new materials, but the work of developing those materials begins years before any specific application for them is known. Stephen Wilson, a professor of materials in UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering, works in that “long before” realm, seeking to create new materials that exhibit desirable new states.

In the paper “Field-tunable quantum disordered in the triangular-lattice antiferromagnet NaYbO2,” published in the journal Nature Physics, Wilson and colleagues Leon Balents, of the campus’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Mark Sherwin, a professor in the Department of Physics, describe their discovery of a long-sought “” in the material NaYbO2 (sodium ytterbium oxide). The study was led by materials student Mitchell Bordelon and also involved physics students Chunxiao Liu, Marzieh Kavand and Yuanqi Lyu, and undergraduate chemistry student Lorenzo Posthuma, as well as collaborators at Boston College and at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

At the atomic level, electrons in one material’s lattice structure behave differently, both individually and collectively, from those in another material. Specifically, the “spin,” or the electron’s intrinsic magnetic moment (akin to an innate bar magnet) and its tendency to communicate and coordinate with the magnetic moments of nearby electrons differs by material. Various types of spin systems and collective patterns of ordering of these moments are known to occur, and materials scientists are ever seeking new ones, including those that have been hypothesized but not yet shown to exist.

Sep 4, 2019

Study reveals ‘radical’ wrinkle in forming complex carbon molecules in space

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology, space travel

A team of scientists has discovered a new possible pathway toward forming carbon structures in space using a specialized chemical exploration technique at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The team’s research has now identified several avenues by which ringed molecules known as , or PAHs, can form in space. The latest study is a part of an ongoing effort to retrace the chemical steps leading to the formation of complex carbon-containing molecules in deep space.

PAHs—which also occur on Earth in emissions and soot from the combustion of fossil fuels—could provide clues to the formation of life’s chemistry in space as precursors to interstellar nanoparticles. They are estimated to account for about 20 percent of all carbon in our galaxy, and they have the chemical building blocks needed to form 2-D and 3D carbon structures.

Sep 1, 2019

Astronomers capture rare cosmic collision that’s a chance to ‘understand the chemistry of the universe’

Posted by in categories: chemistry, cosmology

It’s a cosmic collision that has astronomers rethinking one of the universe’s most colossal events: the collision of massive stars.

In a new paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers reveal the finding of a kilonova produced by the collision of two massive stellar objects called neutron stars. The collision is roughly 1,000 times brighter than the death of a massive star called a supernova. And they say it produced several hundred planets’ worth of gold and platinum.

But astronomers almost missed it.

Aug 26, 2019

Drugs that target cell metabolism may lead to new treatment for childhood brain cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, genetics, neuroscience

Scientists have identified a class of drugs that may have potential to treat a rare and deadly form of brain cancer that affects young children.

The research team, led by Ranjit Bindra, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the Yale Cancer Center, also included co-senior authors Charles Brenner, PhD, professor and DEO of biochemistry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and Michael E. Berens, PhD, from the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

The findings, published Aug. 22 in Nature Communications, focus on Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare, incurable cancer that affects the brainstem in children under age 10. Previous work had identified mutations in a gene called PPM1D as a cause of this cancer.

Aug 23, 2019

Is There an Element Zero?

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

The periodic table contains a wide array of elements, numbered from one (hydrogen) to 118 (oganesson), with each number representing the number of protons stored within an atom’s nucleus. Scientists are constantly working to create new elements by cramming more and more protons into nuclei, expanding the periodic table. The effort sparks curiosity and questions: Can the table be enlarged in the opposite direction? Is it possible to make an element zero? Does it already exist?

“Element zero” has been a matter of conjecture for nearly a century, and no scientist searched more ardently for it than German chemist Andreas von Antropoff. It was Antropoff who placed the theoretical element atop a periodic table of his own devising, and it was also he who thought up a prescient name for it: neutronium.

You don’t widely hear Antropoff’’s name today, as his Nazi leanings earned the scientist international disgrace. You do, however, hear about neutronium. Today, the term commonly refers to a gaseous substance composed almost purely of neutrons, found within the tiniest, densest stars known to exist: neutron stars.

Aug 22, 2019

Self-assembled membrane with water-continuous transport pathways for precise nanofiltration

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering, food, nanotechnology, sustainability

Self-assembled materials are attractive for next-generation materials, but their potential to assemble at the nanoscale and form nanostructures (cylinders, lamellae etc.) remains challenging. In a recent report, Xundu Feng and colleagues at the interdisciplinary departments of chemical and environmental engineering, biomolecular engineering, chemistry and the center for advanced low-dimension materials in the U.S., France, Japan and China, proposed and demonstrated a new approach to prevent the existing challenges. In the study, they explored size-selective transport in the water-continuous medium of a nanostructured polymer template formed using a self-assembled lyotropic H1 (hexagonal cylindrical shaped) mesophase (a state of matter between liquid and solid). They optimized the mesophase composition to facilitate high-fidelity retention of the H1 structure on photoinduced crosslinking.

The resulting nanostructured polymer material was mechanically robust with internally and externally crosslinked nanofibrils surrounded by a continuous aqueous medium. The research team fabricated a with size selectivity at the 1 to 2 nm length scale and water permeabilities of ~10 liters m−2 hour−1 bar−1 μm. The membranes displayed excellent anti-microbial properties for practical use. The results are now published on Science Advances and represent a breakthrough for the potential use of self-assembled membrane-based nanofiltration in practical applications of water purification.

Membrane separation for filtration is widely used in diverse technical applications, including seawater desalination, gas separation, food processing, fuel cells and the emerging fields of sustainable power generation and distillation. During nanofiltration, dissolved or suspended solutes ranging from 1 to 10 nm in size can be removed. New nanofiltration membranes are of particular interest for low-cost treatment of wastewaters to remove organic contaminants including pesticides and metabolites of pharmaceutical drugs. State-of-the-art membranes presently suffer from a trade-off between permeability and selectivity where increased permeability can result in decreased selectivity and vice-versa. Since the trade-off originated from the intrinsic structural limits of conventional membranes, materials scientists have incorporated self-assembled materials as an attractive solution to realize highly selective separation without compromising permeability.

Aug 21, 2019

Rapid tissue regeneration induced by intracellular ATP delivery—A preliminary mechanistic study

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry

Circa 2017


We have reported a new phenomenon in acute wound healing following the use of intracellular ATP delivery—extremely rapid tissue regeneration, which starts less than 24 h after surgery, and is accompanied by massive macrophage trafficking, in situ proliferation, and direct collagen production. This unusual process bypasses the formation of the traditional provisional extracellular matrix and significantly shortens the wound healing process. Although macrophages/monocytes are known to play a critical role in the initiation and progression of wound healing, their in situ proliferation and direct collagen production in wound healing have never been reported previously. We have explored these two very specific pathways during wound healing, while excluding confounding factors in the in vivo environment by analyzing wound samples and performing in vitro studies. The use of immunohistochemical studies enabled the detection of in situ macrophage proliferation in ATP-vesicle treated wounds. Primary human macrophages and Raw 264.7 cells were used for an in vitro study involving treatment with ATP vesicles, free Mg-ATP alone, lipid vesicles alone, Regranex, or culture medium. Collagen type 1α 1, MCP-1, IL-6, and IL-10 levels were determined by ELISA of the culture supernatant. The intracellular collagen type 1α1 localization was determined with immunocytochemistry. ATP-vesicle treated wounds showed high immunoreactivity towards BrdU and PCNA antigens, indicating in situ proliferation. Most of the cultured macrophages treated with ATP-vesicles maintained their classic phenotype and expressed high levels of collagen type 1α1 for a longer duration than was observed with cells treated with Regranex. These studies provide the first clear evidence of in situ macrophage proliferation and direct collagen production during wound healing. These findings provide part of the explanation for the extremely rapid tissue regeneration, and this treatment may hold promise for acute and chronic wound care.

Wound healing is a complex and dynamic process involving the replacement of devitalized and missing structures. The traditional view of wound healing is that it involves hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling, and these steps result in a lag of 3–6 d before reepithelialization starts [1,2]. We have discovered that the intracellular delivery of adenosine triphosphate using ATP-vesicles as an acute wound treatment enhances wound healing [3,4]. The most unprecedented finding was that new tissue started to generate within 24 h, and it continued to grow to eliminate the wound cavity quickly [4–6]. This growth was attained by early and massive monocyte/macrophage trafficking, proliferation, and fast collagen production for direct formation of extracellular matrix (ECM).

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