Chemistry news – Slinn Pickings

Guest contributor, chemist Robert Slinn of the University of Liverpool, filters the latest happenings from the world of chemistry.

  • Chemists separate water isomers – Nine years ago, Russian researchers sparked controversy when they claimed to have separated water into its two spin isomers. Now, chemists in Israel claim to have performed a similar feat using a different method, and suggest the outcome could deliver highly sensitive nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments.
  • Highly ordered artificial spin ice created using nanotechnology – An international team of researchers has succeeded in creating artificial spin ice in a state of thermal equilibrium for the first time, allowing them to examine the precise configuration of this important nanomaterial.
  • Olive oil or ibuprofen? – US researchers have found that a cell receptor called TRPA1 is activated by two apparently unrelated anti-inflammatory agents – the well known anti-inflammatory ibuprofen, and the rather less well known anti-inflammatory, olive oil (or, more specifically, a component of olive oil called oleocanthal).
  • Real-world graphene devices may have a bumpy ride – New measurements by NIST researchers may affect the design of devices that rely on the high mobility of electrons in graphene — they show that layering graphene on a substrate transforms its bustling speedway into steep hills and valleys that make it harder for electrons to get around.
  • With Chemical Modification, Stable RNA Nanoparticles Go 3-D – by replacing a chemical group in the macromolecule, Guo says he and fellow researchers have found a way to bypass RNase and create stable three-dimensional configurations of RNA, greatly expanding the possibilities for RNA in nanotechnology (the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale).