First nanocluster that’s a superatom inside a superatom

Scientists in South Korea have made a stable species that incorporates a superatom into another superatom. Superatoms are nanoclusters of atoms that display properties mimicking those of an elemental atom. The protons and neutrons from the constituent atoms cluster together to form a nucleus surrounded by a delocalised electron cloud, which behaves as one stable […]

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Chemists control reaction path with mechanical force

For the first time, chemists have used mechanical force to access unconventional trajectories on a reaction’s potential energy surface, making products that differ from the ones predicted by statistical thermodynamics. The researchers hope the technique can be exploited to discover new reaction schemes as well as to design probes of reaction dynamics. Mechanical force can […]

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Tiniest Turing patterns found in atomically thin bismuth

Chemical patterns proposed in 1952 by the British mathematician Alan Turing have been discovered at the atomic scale. Appearing as stripes in a single atomic layer of bismuth adsorbed on crystalline niobium selenide, the patterns are only 2nm (around five atoms) wide – much smaller than all other Turing patterns. The study shows ‘that on […]

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Non-animal test for skin sensitisation gets OECD approval

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has approved the first overall testing strategy to predict skin allergic reactions without using animals. The strategy was developed in a decade-long collaboration between German chemicals company BASF, and Swiss flavour and fragrance specialist Givaudan. According to Givaudan’s head of in vitro molecular screening, Andreas Natch, it […]

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Struvite recovered from wastewater could be used to suppress wildfires

Scientists in the US have produced an economically viable, sustainable fire retardant by combining a waste product from water treatment plants with a viscoelastic hydrogel. Wildfires are a serious problem in the US, threatening homes, lives and health with increasing prevalence. The US Forest Service aerially deploys thousands of cubic metres of fire retardant every […]

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Invisible graphene veil protects paintings from fading

A transparent layer of graphene, just a few atoms thick, can prevent pigments in paintings from fading by protecting them from ultraviolet light, moisture and air pollutants. Colour fading is a major problem for painted artworks. Vincent van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers paintings, for example, contain photosensitive lead pigments. Originally bright yellow, they have turned greenish-brown […]

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Renaissance Science – XIV

In the previous episode we saw how the Renaissance rediscovery of Vitruvius’ De architectura influenced the development of architecture during the Renaissance and dissolved the boundary between the intellectual theoreticians and the practical artisans. However, as stated there Vitruvius was not just an architect, but was also an engineer and his Book X deals quite extensively with […]

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Scientists at EPA allege ‘deliberate tampering’ with chemical risk reviews

Officials at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have ‘improperly altered’ safety assessments of new and existing chemicals for years and are continuing to do so, four scientists at the agency claim in a complaint filed by the non-profit environmental protection organisation Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer). The EPA employees disclosed ‘disturbing evidence of […]

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