Energy researchers invent error-free catalysts  March 4, 2020 Catalytic enhancement of chemical reactions via heterogeneous materials occurs through stabilization of transition states at designed active sites. An international team of researchers (University of Minnesota, University of Delaware, UC Santa Barbara, UMass Amherst) designed a new class of catalysts that greatly accelerated the primary surface reactions using waves. When the applied wave frequency and amplitude match up with characteristics of the primary chemistry, the reaction becomes thousands of times faster than all other side reactions and essentially stops making any errors to side products. The researchers were able to broadly explain the relationship between different […]

Lights, camera, action… the super-fast world of droplet dynamics

Eurekalert  February 25, 2020 The chemistry behind emerging 3D-printing technologies involves having chemicals deposited onto a surface in a highly specific way. But how to make that happen in the printing process is poorly understood. Researchers in the UK used two synchronised cameras to see what was happening both on the surface and inside the droplets and to make a better assessment of mixing, whether they have mixed or has one droplet just passed over the other. The research provides understanding of the way chemicals react when they are deposited by a 3D printer which will lead to significant advances […]

Self-assembled artificial microtubules developed

Science Daily  January 17, 2020 Microtubule is one of the principal cellular components formed via hierarchical self‐assembly of nanometer‐sized tubulin heterodimers into protofilaments, which then associate to form a micron‐length‐scale, multi‐stranded tube. Researchers in South Korea discovered that a cucurbituril (pumpkin-shaped chemical compound)-based host-guest complex polymerized into a linear polymer chain, which was further associated with each other into a hollow microtubule via van der Waals interactions arising from their shape self-complementarity. It formed a tubular structure with a length over tens of micrometers. The polymer chain became straight and stiff by itself, and eventually LEGO brick-like shape emerged during […]

Light-based ‘tractor beam’ assembles materials at the nanoscale

Nanowerk  November 4, 2019 A team of researchers in the US (University of Washington, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) adapted optical tweezers which act as a light-based “tractor beam” that can assemble nanoscale semiconductor materials precisely into larger structures. They demonstrated the technique by assembling a heterostructure starting with shorter nanorods of crystalline germanium and capped each with a metallic bismuth nanocrystal. As all the components are suspended in solution the size and shape of the nanostructure can be controlled as it is assembled. The process is repeated to assemble the structure to desired size. They believe that this nanosoldering approach […]