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Monday, March 3, 2014

Chemistry Literature Feature Vol. III

Have you seen a good paper lately? Written one? Send it in and have it featured here! treetownchem@gmail.com

In this episode of the Tree Town Chemistry Literature Feature, we'll have a look at porous crystals that take water vapor out of gases, the chemistry of photoexcited melanin, and a real-time picture of how one kind of nanoparticle transforms water to oxygen.

But first, a thought we've all had, but everyone was too chicken to say out loud (except one person):

Overheard at Michigan
   "2% yield? This sounds like a pretty expensive reaction."
   "Well, considering we borrowed half the chemicals from other groups, it's not expensive for you."

Analytical: Applications of Convolution Voltammetry in Electroanalytical Chemistry
 With a growing focus on the development of ionic liquids for various applications, the authors of this Analytical Chemistry (ACS) paper point out that some conventional electrochemical techniques are inapplicable in highly viscous media. The authors explore a technique called convolution voltammetry and test their technique against known data for a variety of systems. The method is validated by their experimental data. Importantly, the technique does not depend on physically mixing the analyte solution, which makes it quite versatile.

Chemical Biology: Multidimensional Profiling Platforms Reveal Metabolic Dysregulation Caused by Organophosphorous Pesticides
In this study, published in ACS Chemical Biology, the authors design and explore a screening protocol in hopes of investigating the effects of pesticides on metabolism in mice. The results of the screening show that more than 20 proteins are inhibited by the phosphorous-containing pesticides. The inhibited proteins (serine hydrolases, for the most part) are connected to lipid metabolism and linked to several diseases - surprise, pesticides are still bad for you!

Inorganic: Time-resolved observations of water oxidation intermediates on a cobalt oxide nanoparticle catalyst
Discovering substances that efficiently oxidize water is a hot issue in research in alternative energy (see water splitting). A recent paper in Nature Chemistry (NPG) investigates the intimate mechanism of water oxidation over nanoparticle catalysts using time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy. The authors are able to provide direct experimental evidence for several intermediates in the catalytic cycle; such investigations are notoriously difficult (and thus rare) for heterogeneous systems, making this paper a must-read for anyone in the field.

Materials: Microporous Coordination Polymers as Efficient Sorbents for Air Dehumidification
Microporous coordination polymers are composed of interconnected metal ions and organic linkers, forming crystalline networks that can have huge pores (molecularly speaking). This study, published in Langmuir (ACS), demonstrates the power of microporous coordination polymers as dehumidifying agents. The authors conclude that, due to their intrinsically large surface areas and ability to regenerate with low energy input, microporous coordination polymers are an attractive alternative to conventional dehumidifying agents.
-University of Michigan research from the Matzger Group

Organic: Iridium-Catalyzed, Intermolecular Hydroamination of Unactivated Alkenes with Indoles
This Journal of the American Chemical Society paper details the reactivity of a new organometallic iridium catalyst towards olefin substrates. The catalyst combines the olefin with indole to create new alkylamines in good yield. Working with unactivated olefins is advantageous in that it can reduce the amount of chemical modifications necessary to achieve a given product.
-suggested by Emilia Groso

Physical: Near-Infrared Excited State Dynamics of Melanins: The Effects of Iron Content, Photo-Damage, Chemical Oxidation, and Aggregate Size
Melanins are the molecules that give your skin its color, and are also responsible with providing some protection from ultraviolet light from the sun. However, in some melanomas, it is believed that a melanin aggregate in its excited state (after absorbing light) may actually make the cancer worse. In this study, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A (ACS), the authors investigate how melanins behave after light absorption in both free and aggregate form by ultrafast pump-probe spectroscopy.
-suggested by Kim Daley

Physical chemistry aficionados may also enjoy the Inorganic paper, which involves time-resolved studies of catalysis over cobalt oxide surfaces.

Remember, if you come across an article that you think should be featured here, send it in! treetownchem@gmail.com

ACS - American Chemical Society
NPG - Nature Publishing Group

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