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February 11, 2019
Researchers collected X-ray images from rock samples (left) showing the element distribution. The chemical maps (right) reveal fine-scale chemical and mineralogical variations that weren’t captured in previously published analyses.
Early “Fossils” Formed by Tectonics, not Life
The 3.7-billion-year-old structures were considered the first evidence for life on the planet; new evidence suggests differently.
February 11, 2019
A scanning electron microscope image of a single-crystal diamond cantilever. This tiny device allows scientists to exert control over a quantum system (μm = micrometers).
Taking Diamond Qubits for a Spin
Scientists use implanted silicon ions & electricity to increase the spin time of quantum bits, moving closer to the tech needed for quantum networks.
February 11, 2019
The drawing shows the prospective activation of a nitrogen molecule (blue spheres) held in the middle of the catalyst. Light is harvested (red) and electrons migrate (blue arrows) to ultimately make the nitrogen receptive to bonding with hydrogen.
How Sunlight Energizes Electrons to Break Nitrogen and Form Ammonia
Molybdenum-based complex harvests light to make inert nitrogen gas reactive to potentially become part of fertilizer.
February 11, 2019
Researchers uncovered the secret behind designing better-performing electrode surfaces (electrocatalysts). The power density curves show the newly designed catalyst (red curve) outperforms a similar catalyst that is not optimized.
Newly Discovered Design Rules Lead to Better Fuel Cell Catalyst
Optimized oxides made from common metals use less energy and show the potential of new design approach.
February 11, 2019
New pictures of Photosystem II show different ways the protein complex shifts and stretches as it splits water. This image shows the water-oxidizing complex in the last stable state before the water splits.
Atomic Snapshots of Photosynthesis
Scientists catch details with atomic resolution, potentially helping design systems to use sunlight and water to produce fuels.
February 10, 2019
The surrounding tetrahydrofuran solvent deforms the bonding electron density around a sodium solute. The sodium cores are blue spheres; the valence electrons' density is represented as a transparent white surface.
Chemicals Can Change Their Identity, Thanks to the Liquids Where They Reside
Far from being a mere spectator, solvents can play a larger role in chemical reactions, likely including those used in energy storage and biology.
February 10, 2019
Scientists use high-level computational chemistry methods to predict reactions involved in purifying water. Researchers compared five computational methods to determine the benefits and limitations of each in studying purification-based reactions.
How to Best Predict Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Water
Scientists determine the accuracy of computational methods used to study the sulfate radical approach to purifying water.
February 9, 2019
Scientists are showing how energy moves (green) or doesn’t (red) along nanoparticle chains. The artwork appeared on the cover of the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.
Too Close for Comfort: Nanoparticles Need Some Space to Transfer Energy
Particle crowding interferes with moving energy efficiently along promising molecular chains.
February 5, 2019
Polymer fibers (brown) form pores within polyacrylamide hydrogels. Inside one of these tiny pores, water molecules (red, white) exhibit a uniform behavior, but the ions act differently depending on how close they are to the polymer fibers.
Hydrogels Change Water and Solute Dynamics
Hydrogel pores can modify the molecular-level motion of water and dissolved ions.
February 5, 2019
Researchers use extreme ultraviolet pulses (fuchsia line) to determine how visible light (blue line) causes interfacial hole (h ) transfer from iron oxide (Fe2O3) to nickel oxide (NiO), a hole collection layer found in hybrid perovskite solar cells.
Controlling Charge Flow by Managing Electron Holes
Researchers watch and measure in real time charge dynamics between layers of oxide materials, offering insights into solar cells.
February 5, 2019
In water (red and white structures), the direct interaction between graphene (gray) and an ion (yellow) causes the ion to adsorb to the surface. The green and blue lines represent the reflected light pulses during ultraviolet spectroscopy.
The Subtle, but Significant, Role of Surfaces in Ion Stickiness
Direct interactions dominate ion adsorption to aqueous graphene, a process central to vital processes in energy technology.
January 22, 2019
Enhancing the electric field in a molecule can make it a better catalyst. Wrapping a gold-based catalyst (left, center) in a larger complex (blue) provides the catalyst with electric fields. The fields help the catalyst break key bonds (right, arrows).
Optimizing Electric Fields Yields Better Catalysts
A careful consideration of electric fields could lead to faster industrial processes that use less energy and release less waste.
January 22, 2019
When you mix water and acid, the acid dissociates into two parts. One part, the proton, was the subject of a recent study. Scientists discovered that the proton ( ) is strongly bound between two water molecules (red and white structures).
Revealed: Structure of Proton in Liquid Water
Findings could rewrite textbooks about molecular structure for solvent ubiquitous in chemistry and biology.
January 21, 2019
Scientists have devised a spectroscopy method—based on soft X-ray second-harmonic generation—that probes buried graphene layers inside graphite.
New Probe for the Secrets of Complex Interfaces
Element-selective method reveals interfacial properties of materials used for water purification, catalysis, energy conversion, and more.
January 11, 2019
An international research team peered deep into the atomic-level workings of water vapor on a nickel-chromium alloy to provide new insights that could help prevent metal corrosion.
Peering into the Mist: How Water Vapor Changes Metal at the Atomic Level
New insights into molecular-level processes could help prevent corrosion and improve catalytic conversion.
December 12, 2018
How to Best Predict Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Water
How to Best Predict Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Water
The availability of fresh water is a global issue that’s driving interest in ways to turn wastewater into clean water. Purifying wastewater
December 6, 2018
Subtlety and the Selective Art of Separating Lanthanides
Subtlety and the Selective Art of Separating Lanthanides
Fundamental understanding of selective recognition and separation of lanthanide ions by chelating agents is of crucial importance for advancing
November 28, 2018
Quickly Capture Tiny Particles Reacting
Quickly Capture Tiny Particles Reacting
Easily tuned nanometer-sized crystals that absorb and react with light with extreme sensitivity would aid both petrochemical and solar energy
November 26, 2018
Review Examines the Science and Needs of Nitrogen-Based Transformations
Review Examines the Science and Needs of Nitrogen-Based Transformations
Since 1913, ammonia has been produced via the Haber-Bosch process. The process transforms nitrogen gas into ammonia, which is packed into
November 7, 2018
Opening Access to Explore the Synthetic Chemistry of Neptunium
Opening Access to Explore the Synthetic Chemistry of Neptunium
Neptunium metal is extremely scarce, limiting its use as an entry route into molecular chemical studies. In contrast, aqueous acidic stock
November 7, 2018
Tiny Titanium Barrier Halts Big Problem in Fuel-Producing Solar Cells
Tiny Titanium Barrier Halts Big Problem in Fuel-Producing Solar Cells
Green leafy plants readily convert sunlight into energy-dense fuels. Conventional solar cells don’t. Why not? A key reaction, splitting water
November 7, 2018
Turning Wood Scraps into Tape
Turning Wood Scraps into Tape
Scientists developed a new and robust process that converts components of lignocellulosic biomass into high-performance high-value PSAs that have
November 7, 2018
Very Heavy Elements Deliver More Electrons
Very Heavy Elements Deliver More Electrons
When forming bonds with oxygen or participating in reactions involving oxygen atom transfer, the early actinide elements, protactinium through
November 7, 2018
Probing Water’s “No-Man’s Land” Temperature Region
Probing Water’s “No-Man’s Land” Temperature Region
While scientists have studied water for a long time, there’s still much that they don’t know. A particularly interesting aspect is
October 29, 2018
How Plant Cells Decide When to Make Oil
How Plant Cells Decide When to Make Oil
This study builds on the team’s previous research, which established clear links between a protein complex that senses sugar levels in plant