Researchers in Europe have developed a hydrogen storage material based on porous magnesium borohydride that can safely adsorb large quantities of the gas via both a physical and a chemical mechanism. They used X-ray diffraction, infra-red and Raman spectroscopy to investigate this material.
- Novel nanosensor platform for direct detection of a cancer biomarker in blood – In a recent development, scientists in Spain have developed a rapid nanochannel-based immunoassay capable of the filtering and subsequent detection of proteins in whole blood without any sample preparation. This is the first time that a simple assay to detect proteins in whole blood using nanochannels has been achieved.
- Multifunctional nanobioprobes detect and isolate multiple types of cancer cells – Multifunctional nanomaterials have become widely researched in nanomedicine with the goal of developing highly accurate probes for detecting and isolating cancer cells. Of particular interest here are magnetic nanoparticles, which offer the capability of cell isolation from original or enriched samples without the use of centrifugation or filtration.
- University of Nevada, Reno, teams with IMMY to make new life-saving blood test – A new, rapid blood test that could lead to early diagnosis and potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people stricken with fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries, is getting closer to market with a recent collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno, and Immuno-Mycologics (IMMY) in Oklahoma.
- BNCT, a new-generation radiation treatment, is effective in advanced head and neck cancer – The years of work done on developing and clinically testing of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy in Helsinki, Finland, are now paying off. BNCT?based treatment has been successfully used to treat patients with advanced head and neck cancer who have not responded to previous treatments and generally have poor prognosis.
- Biomimetic new optical sensor for the detection of antibiotics – Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), have developed an optical sensor based on biomimetic plastic that detects antibiotics without markers or biological receptors.
- Laser treatment for late-stage cancer – Scientists from China, the US and Peru claim to have successfully treated late-stage breast cancer patients using laser therapy to stimulate patients' own immune systems to fight the cancer.
- Real-world treatment for dye-contaminated effluents – US scientists have found that a dye oxidation process using low levels of an iron catalyst could be used to degrade highly contaminated wastewater under ambient conditions.
- Harvesting energy from soft drinks – Scientists in China have made a biofuel cell that harvests energy from soft drinks such as iced tea and juices.
- Tracking the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – UK researchers can track the early steps of formation of peptide clumps linked to Alzheimer's disease using the peptide's fluorescent ability. This could help design effective therapies for the disease at an early stage.
- JQI physicists demonstrate coveted ‘spin-orbit coupling’ in atomic gases – Physicists at the Joint Quantum Institute, a collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland-College Park, have for the first time caused a gas of atoms to exhibit an important quantum phenomenon known as spin-orbit coupling. Their technique opens new possibilities for studying and better understanding fundamental physics and has potential applications to quantum computing, next-generation "spintronics" devices and even "atomtronic" devices built from ultracold atoms.
Robert Slinn scours the web for the latest chemistry news for Reactive Reports.
- Space ice goes against the grain – Space ice made from a mixture of methanol and water expands under pressure, and shrinks when heated – the opposite behaviour to most solids. Dominic Fortes at University College London, UK, is interested in the internal structures of icy moons like Saturn’s Enceladus, which is thought to have an underground sea of water. But when measuring the properties of an ice-methanol system his findings were ‘entirely unexpected’ – the ice expanded with increasing pressure and shrank with heating.
- Thirty minute flu gene detector – Scientists in Japan have developed a portable influenza testing kit with better accuracy than current methods, which can give a result in 30 minutes. Scientists from the Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Sony Corporation made a nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) device that not only gives information on the sample’s genetic make up to identify the flu pathogen type, but is also more than 90 per cent accurate. The device works by detecting the genes of the influenza virus pathogen – an organism that causes the disease – which gives information about the virus subtype and drug resistance.
- Enzyme logic biosensor for security surveillance – Scientists in the US have made a system that rapidly detects both explosives and nerve agents, providing a simple yes-no response. The technique could replace two time-consuming tests that are currently used to assess these threats. Joseph Wang and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, combined their expertise in threat detection and electrochemical biosensors with the biocomputing experience of Evgeny Katz from Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY. The team produced an enzyme-based logic gate with the ability to simultaneously detect both nitroaromatic explosives and organophosphate nerve agents.
- Breakthrough for bacterial hydrogen production – Scientists in China have developed a device that can produce hydrogen from organic materials using bacteria at temperatures below 25 degrees Celsius.
- Fighting back against antibiotic resistant bacteria – Scientists in Japan have revealed how vancomycin dimers are effective against vancomycin-resistant bacteria. Vancomycin, a glycopeptide antibiotic, is used to treat bacterial infections in cases when other antibiotics are ineffective. However, the development of vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) and Staphylococcus aureus means that researchers are turning to different forms of vancomycin to improve its efficacy.
- Waking up to new possibilities in imaging – UK researchers have used a cage-like molecule to smuggle metal ions into cells, which could improve medical imaging.
- Acne-Fighting Boron Compounds, Anacor, and Medicis – Biopharmaceutical company Anacor have announced a partnership with Medicis to discover and develop small molecules to fight acne.
- Cancer breakthrough to prevent heart failure and increase survival rates – A breakthrough by scientists at Queen’s University Belfast could help reduce heart failure in cancer patients around the world, and ultimately increase survival rates.
- Omega 3′s — more evidence for their benefit – Omega-3 fatty acids –fats commonly found in fish oil – were shown several years ago to prevent retinopathy, a major form of blindness, in a mouse model of the disease. A follow-up study, from the same research team at Children’s Hospital Boston, now reveals exactly how omega-3′s provide protection, and provides reassurance that widely used COX-inhibiting drugs like aspirin and NSAIDs don’t negate their benefit. The findings, published in the February 9th issue of Science Translational Medicine, also suggest that omega-3′s may be beneficial in diabetes.
- Raman imaging gives new hope for cancer diagnosis – Combining two Raman spectroscopic imaging techniques could offer a valuable tool for future disease diagnosis, say UK scientists.
Another high yielding news day from Robert Slinn for Reactive Reports in his regular column: Slinn Pickings.
These are my reactive links for October 9th from 13:37 to 13:50:
- What did science journalists make of this years science Nobel Prizes? – Knight Science Journalism Tracker discusses the chemistry Nobel and more
- Sunny side up – Spire Semiconductor has set a new world record for solar cell efficiency. The company, which has been working with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) under an 18 month incubator project, produced a triple-junction cell with 42.3 per cent conversion efficiency.
- Researchers discover a new class of highly electronegative chemical species – A new class of highly electronegative chemical species called hyperhalogens, which use superhalogens as building blocks around a metal atom, has been discovered by an international team. The new chemical species may have applications across the chemical industries. The team's approach involving theory and experiment produced a gold-borate hyperhalogen with an electron affinity of 5.7 eV. The team now is testing a hyperhalogen constructed with four boron-dioxide superhalogens and have reached an electron affinity of 7 eV, with a goal of building a hyperhalogen with 10 eV.
Chemistry textbooks will tell you that you need at least two different elements to produce an ionic material. So, what to make of a paper in the journal Nature by Artem Oganov of the Swiss research center, ETH Zurich, and colleagus have simulated a superhard form of boron that contains ionic bonds.
The team was developing a computational method to help them predict the structure of various types of material and applied the technique to a newly synthesized form of pure boron that possesses some
unusual physical properties.
They were surprised to discover that this novel boron was more unusual than they could have imagined, revealing a degree of ionic bonding between boron atoms, that theoretically should not exist, but apparently do.
The new structure can be viewed as a NaCl-type structure, with anionic and cationic positions occupied by two different clusters of boron atoms (B12 and B2). The difference of the electronic properties of these clusters brings about charge transfer, making this material a partially ionic boron boride. the press release on this work says that boron is the chemical element most susceptible to changes in structure due to the presence of impurities. Maybe that’s the explanation…but of course it cannot be so, this is a computer simulation, there are no impurities.
The discovery could mark an important step towards a better understanding of boron. But, perhaps more intriguingly is that it beggars questions about what we mean by a chemical bond…