Porous boron absorbing

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. via Infrared – Your Guide to IR, FTIR and NIR spectroscopy.

Rocky road to confusion

Raman spectroscopy has become an increasingly useful tool in the geosciences partly because it is non-destructive and requires minimal sample preparation, but also because it can be carried out on site with various irreplaceable geological samples. Unfortunately, Raman can confuse, especially when substances such as haematite and disordered carbon materials are present in the same […]

Chemical hits from Slinn Pickings

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 […]

Hydrogen storage, red wine, forensics

Crystal clear hydrogen storage – Solid materials rich in hydrogen, such as ammonia borane could help solve the gas storage problem for vehicle fuel cells. Now, a crystal structure of an alternative material, DADB, offers new hope of a stable material that works at lower temperature (85 rather than 110 Celsius). Tannin test – At […]

A New Look at Neopentane's Chirality

The absolute configuration of a subtly chiral molecule has been determined using Raman optical activity and quantum mechanics. Werner Hug and his colleagues at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, obtained the configuration of (R)-[2H1, 2H2, 2H3]-neopentane a molecule in which the central carbon is surrounded by four methyl groups bearing differing numbers of hydrogen isotopes. […]

MEMS and implantable chips

Silicon chips and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that can be implanted in the human body will only be possible with a clearer understanding of the interactions between single-crystal silicon and human tissues and fluids, for example, formation of mineral apatite. This understanding will ultimately allow semiconductor devices to be interfaced with living tissues and so opens […]