Destruction and Reconstruction of Nanorods Controlled by Visible Light

Written by Tianyu Liu, University of California, Santa Cruz

Supramolecular smart materials are a family of materials composed of several molecules. They have the ability to change their configurations in response to external stimuli such as the presence of enzymes, light irradiation, and changes in pH. This property can be manipulated for a variety of applications including drug delivery and tissue engineering.

In recent years, pH-responsive supramolecular smart materials have been intensively investigated due to the simplicity of pH alteration. However, adjusting pH can have undesired consequences. First, chemical species other than the supramolecular materials (e.g., acid and base) are needed for tuning pH. The involvement of external reagents hinders the readiness of operation. Additionally, the use of acid and base inevitably introduces waste products, which could eventually suppress the stimulus-response activity of the smart materials. Therefore, developing alternative ways to initiate the configuration modification of the supramolecular smart materials is highly desirable.

In a recent ChemComm. publication, Professor Heng-Yi Zhang, Professor Yu Liu and coworkers from Nankai University, China have developed supramolecular smart nanorods consisting of β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) and 4,4’-bipyridine-coordinated zinc ions. In the presence of protonated merocyanine (MEH) in water, the nanorods are able to dissociate upon visible light illumination and reconstruct themselves when placed in the dark (Figure above).

The method by which these structures can reconfigure involves a light-driven proton transfer process (Figure below). MEH molecules absorb energy from visible light and subsequently release their protons to the surroundings. These free protons then combine with the 4,4’-bipyridine (DPD). The protonated DPD molecules lose their coordination ability and disassemble with zinc ions. As a result, the entire nanorod structure collapses. When no light is present, the aforementioned proton transfer process is reversed and the nanorods are reformed. Such a process is highly reversible with no observable light-responsive activity loss for at least five cycles.

The demonstrated light-responsive supramolecular nanorods enable facile operations with no additional chemicals. This technology opens up endless new opportunities in remote control of light-responsive processes.

To find out more please see:

Light-controlled reversible self-assembly of nanorod suprastructures

Jie Guo, Heng-Yi Zhang, Yan Zhou and Yu Liu

DOI:10.1039/C7CC03280C

 

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Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867) – call for papers in physical chemistry

This year we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Michael Faraday, perhaps one of the most prolific and influential scientists who ever lived. His ground-breaking research into the relationship between electricity and magnetism ultimately led to the invention of the electric motor.

One of his most well-known creations, the Faraday cage, is the basis of MRI machines which are routinely used for a range of medical diagnoses. He also discovered benzene, pioneered research into nanotechnology, and gave his name to the Faraday Effect, Faraday’s Law, and the SI unit of capacitance, the farad.

At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we are honouring Michael Faraday with a special Chemical Communications web themed issue, highlighting key discoveries and developments in physical chemistry.

We encourage you to submit your best research to be included in this unique collection! More information about our article types can be found here. Submit at www.rsc.org/ChemComm by 31st July 2017! Please note that all submissions will be subject to peer review in accordance with the journal’s quality and standards. If you are interested in this opportunity, please email chemcomm-rsc@rsc.org

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High Content & Phenotypic Screening 2017

High Content and Phenotypic Screening 2017 will be held at Holiday Inn, Cambridge, UK from 25th – 26th April.

This conference brings together researchers from both academia and industry, and will discuss the development of techniques and tools implemented in High Content technologies and Phenotypic Screening applications. 

Hot topics to be covered include 3D cell based screening methods, high content screening and data management, the use of model organisms and novel approaches for phenotypic screening. 

Key date:

19 April – Poster Submission Deadline

Find out more here

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ChemComm poster prize winner at UCCS 2017

March 27-29, 2017 at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center

The 2017 University of California Symposium for the Chemical Sciences (UCSCS) was held on March 27-29, 2017 at the UCLA Lake Arrowhead Conference Center and was attended by over 100 University of California graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.

The UCCS is a symposium for current graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in all fields of chemistry from all campuses of the University of California. The whole conference is organised by graduate students and postdocs from the UC campuses. The first UCCS meeting was held in March 2016, at the Lake Arrowhead conference center in Lake Arrowhead.

ChemComm is proud to announce that the ChemComm Poster Prize was awarded to Dr Emilia Pecora de Barros from the University of California San Diego (Chemical Biology/Biochemistry division). Dr Jennifer Griffiths awarded the prize on behalf of the journal.

Dr Pecora de Barros’ poster title was Electrostatic interactions as mediators in the allosteric activation of PKA RI alpha.
Well done Emilia!

Dr Jennifer Griffiths (left) awarding the ChemComm prize to Dr Emilia Pecora de Barros (right)

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ChemComm symposia on energy science and materials

9 October 2017, Beijing, China
11 October 2017, Tianjin, China
13 October 2017, Dalian, China

Organized jointly by ChemComm and local institutes in China, the ChemComm symposia on energy science and materials consist of a series of one-day symposia to be held in three different cities ‒ Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian (please see the linked events below).

 




The theme of the symposia is energy science and materials, with a particular focus on sustainable energy and fuels, and will feature leading researchers from around the world.

Speakers at each symposium include leading international speakers and renowned scientists from institutions in China. These symposia are devoted to recent advances and new trends in energy science as well as interdisciplinary studies at its interfaces with other subjects, like new materials, nanotechnology, photocatalysis, CO2 conversion, photonics and biotechnology. The symposia are free to attend for all, however, we ask participants to register.

Together with our local hosts, ChemComm warmly invites you to take part in these symposia ‒ we look forward to welcoming you in Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian.


The standard registration deadline is set for the 17th September 2017. Please find out more for each event on the symposia’s respective websites.

ChemComm Symposia on Energy Science and Materials

 

Beijing Symposium
9 October 2017
Beijing, ChinaChaired by Professor Suojiang Zhang

Prof. Zhang

Tianjin Symposium
11 October 2017
Tianjin, ChinaChaired by Chem Soc Rev Advisory Board Member Professor Jinlong Gong

Prof. Gong

Dalian Symposium
13 October 2017
Dalian, ChinaChaired by ChemComm Associate Editor          Professor Can Li

Prof. Li

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet our ChemComm Associate Editors Professor Amy Prieto and Professor Dan Gamelin, ChemComm Advisory Board Member Professor Douglas MacFarlane and J. Mater. Chem. A Associate Editor Professor Magdalena Titirici at the symposia!

Profs. Prieto, Gamelin, MacFarlane and Titirici
(left to right)

Our Deputy Editor Dr. Jeanne Andres will also be there at the conference. Ask her about ChemComm at the symposia!

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Improving Sodium-Ion Batteries for Large-Scale Energy Storage

One of the greatest global challenges is the ever-growing demand for reliable, large-scale energy production.

The depletion of cost-effective fossil fuels and concerns about climate change are driving the need for clean energy sources derived from renewable technologies. Wind and solar power show significant potential as sustainable alternatives however, both solar photovoltaics and wind energy display intermittent output which has led to concerns regarding reliability for global energy production. As a result, there has been an increased demand for the development of large-scale energy storage.

Among energy storage technologies, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) predominate however lithium’s high cost, abundance, unevenglobal distribution and safety concerns have limited its widespread application. In recent years, researchers have become interested in high energy sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) as a safer and less expensive alternative. Nevertheless, their inferior electrochemical performances, due to the larger size and heavier mass of sodium ions, has become a major hurdle in the development and implementation of SIBs.

In a recent ChemComm publication, Prof. Jun Chen of Nankai University has demonstrated the improved capabilities of SIBs using a manganite hydroxide (MnOOH)-based anode.

In the past, transition metal oxides, such as MnOx-based materials, have been used in LIBs as they possess a high theoretical capacity and—in some cases—improved conductivity. In this study by Chen and co-workers, MnOOH nanorods (figure, top) were synthesized, and were shown to display a higher initial Coulombic efficiency and rate performance compared to MnO2 (a common anode material in LIBs). Cyclic voltammetry (figure, bottom) and various other spectroscopic techniques were used to investigate the electrochemical properties and storage behaviour of MnOOH-SIBs. These experiments showed improvements in charge capacity and overall rate performance when compared to other transition metal oxides and sulfides.

The results of this work show promise toward the fabrication of high-performance SIBs which are encouraging alternatives for energy storage due to sustainable cost, improved thermal stability and transport safety. The performance of SIBs still lags behind that of LIBs but this study, among others, demonstrates that new electrode materials need to be explored in the development of SIBs and solving large-scale energy storage challenges.

To find out more see:

MnOOH nanorods as high-performance anodes for sodium ion batteries
Lianyi Shao, Qing Zhao and Jun Chen
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC00087A


Victoria Corless is currently completing her Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Prof. Andrei Yudin at The University of Toronto. Her research is centred on the synthesis of kinetically amphoteric molecules, which offer a versatile platform for the development of chemoselective transformations with particular emphasis on creating novel biologically active molecules.

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Hydrogen bonds in water clusters catalyse acid rain formation

Simulation of hydrogen bond interactions gives valuable new insights into how acid rain forms

Hydrogen bonds in water clusters help catalyse acid rain formation via a mechanism more typically found in organic synthesis, new research shows.

Burning fossil fuels, volcanic eruptions and soil bacteria release oxides of sulfur and nitrogen into the air. High in the atmosphere, these oxides transform into sulfuric acid and nitric acid – which falls as acid rain.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry
Comparison between a typical bifunctional catalyst in synthetic organic chemistry (left) and the embedded water molecules in the supramolecular complexes (H2O)2⋯SO3 (middle) and (H2O)3⋯SO3 (right). Red = oxygen, grey = carbon, blue = nitrogen, yellow = sulfur, white = hydrogen

 

Sulfuric acid, in particular, forms when sulfur trioxide reacts with atmospheric water. During the reaction, hydrogen bonds organise sulfur trioxide and water into a stable supramolecular complex called an adduct, which facilitates an unusual nucleophilic attack by water. However, the precise mechanism behind this nucleophilic behaviour has long been unclear.

 

Read the full story by Thomas Foley in Chemistry World.


This article is free to access until 17 April 2017.

E Romero-Montalvo et al., Chem. Commun., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c6cc09616f

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Outstanding Reviewers for Chemical Communications in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Chemical Communications in 2016, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Professor Martin Albrecht, Universität Bern

Dr Guanghui An, Heilongjiang University

Professor Rahul Banerjee, National Chemical Laboratory

Dr Justin Chalker, Flinders University

Dr Takashi Hirose, Kyoto University

Dr Astrid Müller, Caltech

Dr David Nelson, University of Strathclyde

Dr Kyungsoo Oh, Chung-Ang University

Dr Zhenlei Song, SiChuan University

Dr Xuehai Yan, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

We would also like to thank the Chemical Communications board and the General Chemistry community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre

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Molecular structure is teixobactin’s pièce de résistance

Study builds scientists’ arsenal against drug-resistant superbugs

Scientists in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands have gained a crucial understanding of the structure–activity relationship of new antibiotic, teixobactin. Since reports of its discovery in early 2015, researchers have shown it can kill a number of pathogens without them developing resistance to it.

The University of Lincoln’s Ishwar Singh explains that there are several reasons for teixobactin’s potency: ‘It uses multiple modes of action to kill resistant bacteria, this makes it very attractive since, if it worked by only one mode, bacteria could modify more easily. It is much more challenging for bacteria to mutate on multiple levels.’ Teixobactin also targets lipids in the bacteria’s cell walls, which are considered to be less able to mutate and develop resistance.

Read the full story by Hannah Dunckley on Chemistry World.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry
Structure of teixobactin and with the D-amino acids highlighted in red

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RSC Conference Abstract Prize 2016 ICOS


The Royal Society of Chemistry was delighted to sponsor two Chemical Communications and five Organic Chemistry Frontiers Prizes for “Best Conference Abstracts” at the International Conference on New Challenges in Organic Synthesis which was held on 26-29 November at Guangdong University of Technology in Guangzhou, China. 500 participants joined the discussion, thus making the conference exciting and successful.

Participants of ICOS 2016 (click to enlarge)


Professor Ang Li, winner of the 2016 ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship, delivered his Lectureship talk during this conference.

Professor Ang Li

The conference was chaired by Professor Keiji Maruoka, who is an Advisory Board member for Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. The winner list of the RSC Conference Abstract Prize is as follows:

ChemComm Conference Abstract Prize:

  • Junliang Zhang from East China Normal University‘s poster was called “Highly Chemo- and site-selective C-H functionalizations of Phenols with α-Aryl-α-diazoesters
  • Fengtao Zhou from Northwestern Polytechnical University‘s poster was called “Design of Stronger Brønsted Acid Catalyts for Highly Enantioselective Mukaiyama-Mannich Reactions

Organic Chemistry Frontiers Conference Abstract Prize:

  • Chang-Qiu Zhao from Liaocheng University‘s poster was called “Non-epimerizative Alkylation of H-P Species to Stereospecifically Generate P-Stereogenic Phosphine oxides: Extreme Shortcut to Bis- or Functional Tertiary Phosphine Ligands
  • Hui Xing from the University of Queesnland‘s poster was called “Cubane as a Bezene Isostere: Entomological Evaluation
  • Yiyong Huang from Wuhan University of Technology‘s poster was called “Asymmetric Synthesis of 1,3-Butadienyl-2-carbinols by the Homoallenylboration of Aldehydes with a Chiral Phosphoric Acid Catalyst
  • Xianghua Yang from Guangdong University of Technology‘s poster was called “Push-pull olefins as potential organocatalysts: design, synthesis and reactivity
  • Yan Liu from Guangdong University of Technology‘s poster was called “Hypervalent Iodine-mediated Chemoselective and Efficient Iodination of Alkynes

 

Professor Keiji Maruoka (centre) and the poster prize winners

 

We would like to congratulate our prize winners! Well done!

 

Finally, Professor Véronique Gouverneur, Chair of the ChemComm Board, Professor Yong-Qiang Tu, ChemComm Associate Editor, and former Chem Soc Rev Editorial Board Member Helma Wennemers gave presentations at this conference.

Prof. Gouverneur, Tu & Wennemers (left to right)

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