Nitric oxide (NO) is one of the most important signaling molecules in living cells, carrying messages within the brain and coordinating immune system functions. In many cancerous cells, levels are perturbed, but very little is known about how NO behaves in both healthy and cancerous cells. Until now.
The Innovator of the Year Award, one of R&D Magazine’s top individual awards, is presented each year to an individual or team in the area of research and development who has demonstrated leadership, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. This year, the editors are pleased to announce the selection of Andrew J. Ouderkirk of 3M Company as the 2013 R&D Magazine Innovator of the Year.
Each year, the editors of R&D Magazine chooses a scientist they believe embodies the spirit of research and development. For his accomplishments in both the laboratory and as a leader of the world’s largest federal body devoted to energy research, we honor Rice University’s T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry James M. Tour, the 2013 R&D Magazine Scientist of the Year.
An historic tire fire 30 years ago that blazed on for nine months in the northwest Virginia Appalachians, releasing giant plumes of toxic smoke, sparked a recycling revolution and advances in fire-monitoring methods. The fire’s environmental legacy is the topic of an article appearing in Chemical & Engineering News.
Researchers at Oregon State Univ. and the Univ. of Oregon announced a scientific advance that has eluded researchers for more than 100 years—a platform to study and fully understand the aqueous chemistry of aluminum, one of the world’s most important metals.
In a breakthrough described by one international expert as “a wonderful piece of lateral thinking”, a team of researchers from The Univ. of Western Australia has helped develop a novel nanoparticle light filter system which stimulates the growth of useful microalgal organisms.
Structures that put a spin on light reveal tiny amounts of DNA with 50 times better sensitivity than the best current methods, a collaboration between the Univ. of Michigan and Jiangnan Univ. in China has shown. Highly sensitive detection of DNA can help with diagnosing patients, solving crimes and identifying the origins of biological contaminants such as a pathogen in a water supply.
Billions of euros are spent treating trillions of liters of wastewater every year, consuming substantial amounts of energy. However, this wastewater could act as a renewable resource, saving significant quantities of energy and money, as it contains organic pollutants which can be used to produce electricity, hydrogen and high-value chemicals, such as caustic soda.
Whatever the industry, researchers and scientists in laboratories are certain to use analytical and laboratory instruments such as analyzers, balances, chillers, fume hoods, meters, mixers/stirrers and spectrometers in their work. Researchers and laboratory managers are likely to ask several questions before selecting or purchasing this equipment, however.
Innovations in optical spectroscopy have helped the technology reach a point where performance previously seen only in laboratory settings can be obtained in the field with compact and easy-to-use systems. These improvements, made to detectors, software and overall design, have greatly affected instrument characteristics such as speed, miniaturization, price and reliability.
When it comes to detectors for dangerous chemicals, toxins or nefarious germs, smaller and faster is better. But size and speed must still allow for accuracy, especially when measurements by different instruments must give the same result. The recent publication of a new NIST standard provides confidence that results from handheld chemical detectors can be compared, apples-to-apples.
Cosmochemists at the Univ. of California, San Diego have solved a long-standing mystery in the formation of the solar system: Oxygen, the most abundant element in Earth’s crust, follows a strange, anomalous pattern in the oldest, most pristine rocks, one that must result from a different chemical process than the well-understood reactions that form minerals containing oxygen on Earth.
Making hydrogen easily and cheaply is a dream goal for clean, sustainable energy. Bacteria have been doing exactly that for billions of years, and now chemists at the Univ. of California, Davis and Stanford Univ. are revealing how they do it, and perhaps opening ways to imitate them.
By tuning gold nanoparticles to just the right size, researchers from Brown Univ. have developed a catalyst that selectively converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, an active carbon molecule that can be used to make alternative fuels and commodity chemicals.
Univ. of California, Los Angeles chemists, for the first time, have employed magnetic resonance imaging to better measure the temperature of gases inside a catalytic reactor. The research, a major step toward bridging the gap between laboratory studies and industrial catalysis, could help improve the design and environmental impact of catalytic reactors.
An aggressive form of breast cancer known as “triple negative” is very difficult to treat: Chemotherapy can shrink such tumors for a while, but in many patients they grow back and gain resistance to the original drugs. To overcome that resistance, chemical engineers have designed nanoparticles that carry the cancer drug doxorubicin, as well as short strands of RNA that can shut off one of the genes that cancer cells use to escape the drug.
A new process developed at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago suggests that base metals may be used as catalysts in the manufacture of countless products made from petroleum-based raw materials. The metals, copper and iron, could potentially replace a rare and expensive metal catalyst currently required for the chemical process called borylation.
Instead of having to use tons of crushing force and volcanic heat to forge diamonds, researchers at Case Western Reserve Univ. have developed a way to cheaply make nanodiamonds on a laboratory bench at atmospheric pressure and near room temperature. The nanodiamonds are formed directly from a gas and require no surface to grow on.
A research team including a Penn State chemical engineer was recently awarded a $3.9 million National Science Foundation grant to understand how blue-green algae convert nitrogen into oxygen. The objective is to learn how to "transplant" the nitrogen fixing capability of one species to another.
Materials in lithium ion battery electrodes expand and contract during charge and discharge. These volume changes drive particle fracture, which shortens battery lifetime. A group of scientists has quantified this effect for the first time using high-resolution 3D movies recorded using x-ray tomography at the Swiss Light Source.
Vanadium dioxide is one of the few known materials that acts like an insulator at low temperatures but like a metal at warmer temperatures starting around 67 C. This temperature-driven metal-insulator transition, the origin of which is still intensely debated, could be induced by the application of an external electric field. Beamline studies at the Advanced Light Source has shed some light on this potential avenue for faster electronics.
A team of scientists in Europe have developed a new method of rapidly identifying different molecular species under a microscope. Their technique of coherent Raman spectro-imaging with two laser frequency combs takes a big step toward the holy grail of real-time label-free biomolecular imaging.
Spraying a plant hormone on broccoli—already one of the planet’s most nutritious foods—boosts its cancer-fighting potential, and researchers say they have new insights on how that works. They published their findings, which could help scientists build an even better, more healthful broccoli.
Cell biologists and chemists in Switzerland have revealed how viral DNA moves in human cells. They have developed a new method to generate virus particles containing labeled viral DNA genomes, which has allowed them to visualize, for the first time, single viral genomes in the cytoplasm and the nucleus.
Earth’s most eminent emissary to Mars has just proven that those rare Martian visitors that sometimes drop in on Earth really are from the Red Planet. A key new measurement of Mars’ atmosphere by NASA’s Curiosity rover provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origins of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origins of other meteorites.