Slinn Pickings: Crystal clear

  • Three-dimensional atomic imaging of crystalline nanoparticles – Researchers report the 3D reconstruction of a complex crystalline nanoparticle at atomic resolution.
  • Drug discovery: A question of library design – Two approaches have emerged for creating libraries of compounds for use in biological screening assays for drug discovery — fragment-based ligand design and diversity-oriented synthesis. Advocates of each approach discuss their favoured strategy.
  • New way to grow microwires – Microwires made of silicon — tiny wires with a thickness comparable to a human hair — have a wide range of possible uses, including the production of solar cells that can harvest much more sunlight for a given amount of material than a conventional solar cell made from a thin wafer of silicon crystal. Now researchers from MIT and Penn State have found a way of producing such wires in quantity in a highly controlled way that could be scaled up to an industrial-scale process, potentially leading to practical commercial applications.
  • HCl’s Overlooked Environmental Effects – For decades, emissions from coal-burning power plants have acidified water and soil, and scientists fingered sulfate as the main culprit. Emissions regulations in the U.K. have helped wetlands and nearby grasslands and forests gradually recover from acidification. Now researchers report that sulfate had an accomplice in the acidification of these environments: hydrochloric acid.
  • Changing Course On Perchlorate – The Environmental Protection Agency will set a national limit for the amount of perchlorate—a component of rocket fuel—and of several volatile organic compounds allowed in drinking water, agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced this week.

Robert Slinn refluxes the chemistry news and extracts a goodly yield for Reactive Reports in his regular column: Slinn Pickings.