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The Alchemist Newsletter: Jan 13, 2012

by chemweb last modified 02-22-12 08:05 AM
The Alchemist - January 13, 2012
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January 13, 2012

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issue overview
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analytical: Restaurant effluent
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materials: The pits in Pitt aren't the pits
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physical: Atomic relay
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environment: Cleaning up the chicken shack
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nano: An end to silicon?
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award: The Chemmy Awards
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In the first issue of the putatively but unlikely apocalyptic year of 2012, The Alchemist sniffs out some unsavory effluent from the local "greasy spoon," wonders what are the pitfalls of doing science at Pitt and chases Olympic dreams with a hydrogen relay race. There is serious pollution control heading for the farm, we hear, and there really is no end to silicon in sight. Finally, alternative chemistry awards may be facetious in flavor but have a serious message.

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Restaurant effluent

A new cheminformatics approach to analyzing effluent waste water from restaurants and the food industry that can cope with the oil and grease in a sample has been developed by researchers in China. The team uses statistical methods to combine data from UV-Vis spectra, turbidity and other measurements to obtain important indicators of water quality in a fusion approach to analysis. The method could be used to develop online, real-time monitoring of effluent from the food industry and outlets.

arrowFive-star restaurant effluent: UV on the menu

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The pits in Pitt aren't the pits

One of the most porous materials ever made has been created by a team at the University of Pittsburgh. Nathaniel Rosi and colleagues have used the old "Tinker Toy" analogy to explain their new metal-organic frameworks, which could find applications in pharmaceutical delivery and high-density fuel gas storage. The team's materials follow the usual pattern and comprise metal-carboxylate cluster vertices and long, branched organic linkers, but it is their view on the vertices rather than the linkers that makes them special. They have worked with large metal-biomolecule clusters, such as zinc-adeninate building blocks, to construct "bio-MOF-100", which is a mesoporous MOF with the largest reported pore volume - of 4.3 cubic centimeters per gram.

arrowPitt Researchers Discover One of the Most Porous Materials to Date

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Atomic relay

A relay race of hydrogen atoms has been followed by Thomas Frederiksen, who is currently working in the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), Spain and colleagues in Japan, using scanning tunneling microscopy. The relay race takes place in well-defined chains on a metal surface. By sending a pulse of electrons through a water molecule at one end of the chain, hydrogen atoms propagate one by one along the chain like dominoes in motion, the team explains. The result is the transfer of a hydrogen atom, like the baton in a relay, from one end of the chain to the end. This way of manipulating matter could open up new ways to exchange information between novel molecular devices in future electronics.

arrowRelay race with single atoms – new ways of manipulating matter

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Cleaning up the chicken shack

A proof-of-concept unit that incorporates a biofilter and a heat exchanger can reduce ammonia emissions from livestock barns, specifically those housing swine or chickens, and at the same time warm the fresh air that is pumped into the barns. The unit has been developed through a collaboration between researchers at North Carolina State University and West Virginia University with the aim of reducing air pollution from these parts of the food industry. “The technology is best suited for use when an operation wants to vent a facility that has high ammonia concentrations, and pump in cleaner air in preparation for a fresh batch of chicks or piglets - particularly in cold weather. It is also suitable for use when supplemental heat is required for raising the young animals,” explains lead author Sanjay Shah from NSCU.

arrowNew Tech Removes Air Pollutants, May Reduce Energy Use In Animal Ag Facilities

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Pluto's chemistry

It might be that astronomers no longer consider Pluto to be a fully fledged planet but that does not make it of any less interest to chemists. Now, the highly sensitive Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed a strong UV absorber on Pluto's surface. The spectrum offers new evidence that there are either complex hydrocarbons and/or nitrile molecules on the surface. These compounds might provide a chemical explanation for Pluto's ruddy coloration.

arrowSwRI researchers discover new evidence for complex molecules on Pluto's surface

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An end to silicon?

If you imagined that the microelectronics industry was about to hit some kind of limit to the miniaturization of silicon components and that molecular electronics would soon take up the mantle, think again. A team from the University of New South Wales and Melbourne University in Australia and Purdue University in the US have made the smallest silicon wires ever at just one atom high and four atoms wide. They have also demonstrated that these nanoscopic entities have the same current-carrying capabilities as copper wires. The discovery could open up a new avenue of investigation along the semiconductor roadmap that has seen Moore's Law successfully predict the inexorable shrinking of circuitry for the last four decades.

arrowDown to the wire for silicon: Researchers create a wire 4 atoms wide, 1 atom tall

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The Chemmy Awards

An alternative awards system from the ChemBark blog sees The Boston College Thionyl Chloride Explosion receiving the award for Accident of the Year, Danny Shechtman of Nobel quasicrystal fame being given the Hero of the Year, and Linus Pauling the recipient of Villain of the Year. The humorous awards may lampoon other celebrity-oriented awards, but serve the purpose of raising awareness of particular issues of importance to the chemical community including safety matters, recognition of mavericks and the burning of papers tigers.

arrowThe 2011 Chemmy Award Winners

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Previous Issues
Dec 29, 2011
Dec 16, 2011
Nov 23, 2011
Nov 11, 2011
Oct 28, 2011
Oct 14, 2011
Sep 28, 2011
Sep 16, 2011
Aug 30, 2011
Aug 19, 2011
Jul 27, 2011
Jul 14, 2011
Jun 29, 2011
Jun 17, 2011
May 26, 2011
May 12, 2011
Apr 29, 2011
Apr 15, 2011
Mar 25, 2011
Mar 11, 2011
Feb 25, 2011
Feb 10, 2011
Jan 26, 2011
Jan 12, 2011
Dec 29, 2010
Dec 14, 2010
Nov 23, 2010
Nov 12, 2010
Oct 27, 2010
Oct 13, 2010
Sep 30, 2010
Sep 15, 2010
Aug 25, 2010
Aug 11, 2010
Jul 28, 2010
Jul 14, 2010
Jun 23, 2010
Jun 8, 2010
May 26, 2010
May 17, 2010
Apr 28, 2010
Apr 16, 2010
Mar 23, 2010
Mar 9, 2010
Feb 24, 2010
Feb 9, 2010
Jan 26, 2010
Jan 12, 2010
Dec 23, 2009
Dec 13, 2009
Nov 24, 2009
Nov 11, 2009
Oct 28, 2009
Oct 14, 2009
Sep 21, 2009
Sep 9, 2009
Aug 26, 2009
Aug 11, 2009
Jul 29, 2009
Jul 14, 2009
Jun 24, 2009
Jun 10, 2009
May 27, 2009
May 12, 2009
Apr 28, 2009
Apr 15, 2009
Mar 25, 2009
Mar 10, 2009
Feb 24, 2009
Feb 11, 2009
Jan 27, 2009
Jan 13, 2009
Dec 24, 2008
Dec 10, 2008
Nov 25, 2008
Nov 13, 2008
Oct 28, 2008
Oct 14, 2008
Sep 25, 2008
Sep 10, 2008
Aug 26, 2008
Aug 12, 2008
Jul 23, 2008
Jul 09, 2008
Jun 24, 2008
Jun 11, 2008
May 28, 2008
May 14, 2008
Apr 24, 2008
Apr 9, 2008
Mar 25, 2008
Mar 12, 2008
Feb 27, 2008
Feb 13, 2008
Jan 22, 2008
Jan 08, 2008

 
   

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