A chemical decathlon: Slinn Pickings

  • Atom-thick sheets unlock future technologies – A new way of splitting layered materials, similar to graphite, into sheets of material just one atom thick could lead to revolutionary new electronic and energy storage technologies.
  • ‘Cornell dots’ that light up cancer cells go into clinical trials – “Cornell Dots” — brightly glowing nanoparticles — may soon be used to light up cancer cells to aid in diagnosing and treating cancer.
  • Neutron analysis reveals ‘two doors down’ superconductivity link – Neutron scattering analysis of two families of iron-based materials suggests that the magnetic interactions thought responsible for high-temperature superconductivity may lie “two doors down”: The key magnetic exchange pairings occur in a next-nearest-neighbor ordering of atoms, rather than adjacent atoms.
  • Bound Neutrons Pave Way to Free Ones – A study of bound protons and neutrons conducted at the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has allowed scientists, for the first time, to extract information through experimentation about the internal structure of free neutrons, without the assistance of a theoretical model.
  • Turning bacteria against themselves – Bacteria often attack with toxins designed to hijack or even kill host cells. To avoid self-destruction, bacteria have ways of protecting themselves from their own toxins. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have described one of these protective mechanisms, potentially paving the way for new classes of antibiotics that cause the bacteria’s toxins to turn on themselves.
  • Turning off stress – Weizmann Institute scientists reveal the actions of a family of proteins that “turn off” the stress response. Their findings could be relevant to PTSD, anorexia, anxiety disorders and depression.
  • New data obtained on liposomes employed in drug encapsulation and gene therapies – University of Granada scientists and the Spanish Higher Institute for Scientific Research (CSIC) have made significant progress in understanding phospholipid vesicles , which are colloidal systems arising considerable interest from the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industry.
  • Tool makes search for Martian life easier – Finding life on Mars could get easier with a creative adaption to a common analytical tool that can be installed directly on the robotic arm of a space rover.
  • Is a cure for blindness within sight? – With a new enzymatic discovery, scientists are understanding the cause of an untreatable eye disease and hope to test breakthrough therapies within a year.
  • Neurotoxin detection using brain nanotubes – Korean researchers have made a neurotoxin detector system based on nanomaterials from the brain itself.



    Diphenylanaline (FF), a dipeptide, is the simplest building block that makes up the beta-amyloid of Alzheimer’s disease, but FF dimers can also self-assemble into nanotubes. Chan Beum Park’s team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, Korea, has used these nanotubes to give an optical signal in the presence of phosphate based neurotoxin paraoxon

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

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