Redox-fluid ligand stabilised as triradical for the first time

An exotic triradical aluminium complex is the first of its kind to be isolated and characterised. Containing three ‘redox non-innocent’ dithiolene ligands stabilised in radical form, the new species exists in an unusual quartet ground state and could have implications for the design of superconducting and single-molecule magnetic materials. 1,2-dithiolene complexes have attracted widespread interest […]

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What are the three main political parties promising on science at the UK election?

With the polls predicting a Labour win, if not an outright landslide, Chemistry World has looked at the three major UK parties’ plans for research, innovation and education. The Conservatives offer business as usual, while Labour favours long-term budgets for key research organisations but doesn’t address the uncertainties facing higher education funding. The Liberal Democrats […]

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‘Lasagna-like’ layered structure could triple productivity of water splitting

A new cobalt–tungsten catalyst could significantly boost the efficiency of water splitting without relying on expensive and scarce metals. While other studies focused on tweaking the catalyst composition and improving isolated metrics, the team led by Pelayo García de Arquer from ICFO in Barcelona, Spain, designed a totally new ‘lasagna-like’ layered material that ‘actively involves the […]

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Pillar[5]arene gets fully furnished with bulky aromatics

Researchers in Japan have overcome steric hindrance to install phenyl groups on all 10 alkoxy positions of pillar[5]arenes for the first time. Pillar[n]arenes form cylindrical pillars, giving them their name. Like other macrocycles, they can incorporate guest molecules in their central pore and have a multitude of uses including sensing and drug delivery. Developing novel […]

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Springer Nature staff squeezed by cost of living crisis go on strike over pay

UK-based employees at the scientific publisher Springer Nature are taking strike action today in a dispute over pay. The move comes after negotiations broke down in April, with union representatives citing Springer Nature’s high profit margins as evidence of its ability to improve employees’ pay as they struggle with dramatic increases in the cost of […]

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From pollutant to painkiller: hazardous halogenated wastes become a safe chlorine source

Persistent halogenated pollutants can be repurposed to act as effective chlorinating agents, simultaneously reducing their impact on the environment. The team in China used environmental contaminants including the banned insecticide DDT and flame-retardant insulator hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) to chlorinate a variety of ketone and alkene substrates, ultimately incorporating a pollutant-mediated step into the syntheses of several […]

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Intermediate considered ‘too reactive to isolate’ finally tamed

A chemical intermediate once considered too reactive to isolate has been stabilised in the laboratory for three days by researchers in Germany. The team’s techniques enabled studies that were previously impossible due to the nitrene species’ fleeting nature and could allow researchers to further harness the molecules’ potential in synthetic chemistry. The importance of nitrenes […]

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From τὰ φυσικά (ta physika) to physics – XXIII

One area of what would become physics that developed significantly as a direct result of the translations made during the Scientific Renaissance of the twelfth century was optics. The two Islamic authors whose work had the biggest impact were al-Kindi (C. 801–873) and Ibn al-Haytham (c.965–1040). The two Europeans, who initially did most to make people […]

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Hydroxide-loaded sponge soaks up atmospheric carbon dioxide

Charcoal ‘sponges’ that are charged with hydroxide ions offer a low-cost, energy-efficient way to capture carbon dioxide directly from air. The researchers behind the finding decided to explore activated carbon because it is ‘cheap, stable and made at scale’. The material’s electrical conductivity also permits a rapid release of captured carbon dioxide, allowing the charcoal-based […]

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How many molecules of water does it take to dissociate HCl? It’s complicated

Experiments in ultracold water droplets have revealed new insights into how covalent hydrogen chloride turns into hydrochloric acid as water molecules are added one by one. The work could potentially provide insight into other proton transfer reactions such as base chemistry or even DNA mutation. Hydrochloric acid is perhaps the best-known acid in chemistry. Like […]

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