Archive for the ‘Inorganic’ Category

MOFS, ZMOFS and Automobiles

Mohamed Eddaoudi and co-workers at KAUST have synthesised a porous metal organic framework (MOF) constructed from carboxylic acid-functionalised imidazole linkers coordinated to yttrium and potassium cations. The researchers classified this material as a zeolite-like MOF (ZMOF) due to its topological resemblance to the naturally occurring zeolite mineral analcime.

The material’s architecture, with cylindrical channels and a pore aperture measuring 3.8 x 6.2 Å, promised utility as a molecular sieve, and the authors showed the ZMOF could be used to sort small chain alkanes based on their level of branching. Linear and mono-branched pentanes and butanes were adsorbed by the material for different lengths of time (linear isomers were retained longer than their branched counterparts) allowing kinetic separation, while the di-branched alkane 2,2,4-trimethylpentane was excluded entirely. The authors anticipate that this material could have practical applications in crude oil refining, to upgrade petroleum into more energy-efficient fuels with reduced emissions.

ZMOF zeolite-like metal organic framework crystal structure with analcime (ana) topology showing channels and pore aperture.

ZMOF crystal structure with analcime (ana) topology showing channels and pore aperture.

The petroleum used to power internal combustion engines consists of a mixture of low molecular weight, linear and branched alkanes. The research octane number (RON) is a standard measure of petroleum performance, and indicates how much pressure a fuel can withstand before self-igniting (knocking) in the engine. High compression engines, which are more energy efficient and release less emissions than regular engines, require high RON fuels.

The RON increases with the proportion of branched alkanes, so can be improved by supplementing fuels with branched isomers obtained by catalytic isomerisation. This process generates a mixture of linear and branched alkanes, so the desired products must be isolated via fractional distillation, which is energy intensive. This creates a dilemma: high RON fuels are more energy efficient, but their energy-intensive production reduces the net benefit.

The authors envisaged an energy-efficient strategy for increasing the RON of petroleum fuels: A low RON fuel is pumped into the engine, where it encounters a separation chamber consisting of ZMOF-based membranes. The membrane excludes and redirects di-branched alkanes, which have a very high RON, to the internal combustion engine. The low RON fraction, consisting of mono-branched and linear alkanes, passes through the ZMOF pores to undergo further reforming processes downstream. In other words: low RON fuels go in, but high RON fuels are combusted.

Scheme showing how ZMOF materials could be used to upgrade gasoline by separating alkanes based on their level of branching. zeolite-like metal organic framework petroleum reforming

Scheme showing the RON of common small-chain alkanes and the use of ZMOF membranes in upgrading gasoline by separating alkanes based on their level of branching

In this work the authors show the potential of ZMOFs to maximise the energetic potential and reduce emissions of petroleum based fuels, while also offering a glimpse of the more general strategy of energy-efficient separations of chemically-similar molecules using tailored materials.

To find out more please read:

Upgrading gasoline to high octane number using zeolite-like metal organic framework molecular sieve with ana-topology

M. Infas H. Mohideen, Youssef Belmabkhout, Prashant M. Bhatt, Aleksander Shkurenko, Zhijie Chen, Karim Adil, Mohamed Eddaoudi.
Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 9414-9417
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc04824j

About the author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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Come for the colour changing crystals, stay for the science

Synthesis of copper bimetallic complexes from imidazolyl ligands, and the solvatochromic materials formed upon crystallization and solvent guest-exchange. The solvatochromic behaviour was quantified with visible-region diffuse reflectance spectra.

Synthesis of copper bimetallic complexes from imidazolyl ligands, and the solvatochromic materials formed upon crystallization and solvent guest-exchange. The solvatochromic behaviour was quantified with visible-region diffuse reflectance spectra.

During the first inorganic chemistry course I took during my undergraduate degree, our professor started the class by passing around some mineral samples, promising us that if we pursued the chemistry of metals we could work with beautifully coloured crystals every day. At the time, colour seemed like such a trite detail amongst the complexity of the subject. Why would you choose a field of study based on something so simple? Well, after a PhD dominated by pale yellow oils, I think I get it now.

Nikolayenko and Barbour at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa bring us colour! The authors synthesised organometallic copper complexes, which crystallise to form porous single crystals that drastically change colour upon absorption of various solvents. The authors investigated the solvatochromic mechanism using X-ray crystallography, EPR, UV-visible spectroscopy and DFT calculations. Solvatochromic materials are not just made to look pretty; they have potential to be used as sensitive, selective and recyclable sensors to detect solvent vapours with useful applications in industrial process risk management, chemical threat detection and environmental monitoring.

The researchers synthesised a series of complexes comprised of a bidentate ligand with 2-methylimidazolyl groups coordinated to copper(II) ions. The complexes stack to form channels in the crystal, capable of trapping solvent molecules to give different coloured crystals: DMSO and THF-containing crystals are green (λmax = 574 nm and 540 nm, respectively), those containing acetonitrile are red (λmax = 624 nm), and crystals trapping acetone, ether and pentane are yellow (λmax = 588), orange (λmax = 598 nm) and red/brown (λmax = 592 nm), respectively.

The authors revealed a correlation between the size of the solvent guest, coordination geometry of the copper complex, and the ligand field splitting. Small guests such as acetonitrile minimally perturb the metallocyclic framework, preserving a rhombic ligand field geometry (large δxy of g values in the EPR spectrum), small ligand d-orbital splitting and red-shifted optical spectra. Large guests such as THF have the opposite effect, giving ligand field geometries approaching tetragonal (small δxy), large ligand field d-orbital splitting and blue-shifted optical spectra.

By delving into the complexity beneath a seemingly simple phenomenon, Nikolayenko, Barbour and their co-workers have shown using a series of single-crystal complexes that there is nothing simple about colour (and nothing trite about detail).

To find out more please read:

Supramolecular solvatochromism: mechanistic insight from crystallography, spectroscopy, and theory

Varvara I. Nikolayenko, Lisa M. van Wyk, Orde Q. Munro, Leonard J. Barbour.
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc02197j

About the author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

 

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Ruthenium Currency for a Hydrogen Fuel Economy

A group of researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Southwest University want us to kick the fossil fuels habit. Their research comes to us from China, a country using roughly one quarter of the world’s yearly energy consumption, and where the finite nature of fossil fuels is a very real threat to energy supply security. Leading in energy use, China also leads the world in electricity production from renewable sources and investment in clean energy projects.

Hydrogen is considered a viable alternative to fossil fuels as it is energy rich, more so than petrol or ethanol at 39 kWh/kg (petrol: 13 kWh/kg, ethanol: 8.2 kWh/kg), and upon combustion emits only water vapour. However, hydrogen is often obtained from fossil fuels, and it will only be a practical option for the world’s future energy needs if it can be produced from a renewable source.

Preparation of the Ru2P/reduced graphene oxide electrocatalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction

Preparation of the Ru2P/reduced graphene oxide catalyst

To this end, water splitting offers a solution. In a water electrolysis cell, hydrogen is produced at the cathode via the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER, 2H+ + 2e –> H2), and molecular oxygen is produced at the anode (2H2O –> O2 + 4H+ + 4e). It is ideal in theory, but high energy efficiencies are required to make water splitting viable, and this relies on the development of catalytic electrodes to minimize overpotentials required to drive the reaction. Currently, state of the art HER electrocatalysts use platinum, which is expensive and rare. Furthermore, platinum catalysts are most efficient in an acidic electrolyte and proceed 2-3 times slower in alkaline solutions. On the other hand, the best oxygen evolution catalysts perform better in alkaline environments. Using an alkaline electrolyte has overall advantages as it is less corrosive, thus increasing the stability and lifetime of the electrolytic cell.

The authors have developed a HER catalyst, using ruthenium, with overpotentials and current densities superior to Pt/C in both alkaline and acidic conditions.

DFT calculation to probe the hydrogen adsorption energies on the active catalytic surface of the Ru2P on reduced graphene oxide catalyst.

DFT calculation to probe the hydrogen adsorption energies on the active catalytic surface of the Ru2P catalyst. a) and b) front and side views of the calculated Ru2P/reduced graphene oxide surface. c) free energy diagram for the HER with different catalysts.

The electrocatalyst is comprised of small, uniform Ru2P nanoparticles (~2-4 nm) evenly distributed on reduced graphene oxide sheets. The activity of the prepared catalyst (1.0 mg cm-2) for the HER was measured in an acidic medium (0.5 M H2SO4) and the overpotential to achieve a current density of -10 mA cm-2 was -22 mV, superior to Pt/C (-27 mV). In an alkaline environment (1.0 M KOH) catalyst performance was enhanced, with an overpotential of -13 mV (29 mV lower than Pt/C). High Faradaic efficiencies of more than 98% were measured in both acidic and alkaline solutions. Additionally, analysis was undertaken to further understand how the structure and composition of the catalyst influences its activity. Double layer capacitance measurements gave clues about the catalyst surface, while theoretical DFT calculations were used to study H-adsorption energies.

There is no way to avoid the reality that ruthenium is also a rare and costly metal, and for this reason may not hold the key to solving our energy woes. However, of real value are the insights gained from probing the structure function relationship of this highly active catalyst, which may guide the synthesis of rationally-designed catalysts using inexpensive and abundant materials.

To find out more please read:

Ultrasmall Ru2P nanoparticles on graphene: a highly efficient hydrogen evolution reaction electrocatalyst in both acidic and alkaline media

Tingting Liu, Shuo Wang, Qiuju Zhang, Liang Chen, Weihua Hu, Chang Ming Li.
Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 3343-3346
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc01166d

About the author:

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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Hiding Carbon Dioxide in Oxazolidinones

Sometimes it feels as though the pinnacle of synthetic achievement is represented by 20 step total syntheses (with 10 contiguous stereocentres and 5 fused rings…). The level of chemical complexity that can be fashioned from simple building blocks is undoubtedly impressive, but amid such feats it is important not to lose sight of the elegance and worth of simple chemistry, especially when it aims to play a part in resolving profound challenges. One such challenge, which will increasingly confront future generations, is how to reduce the load of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. One solution is to ‘fix’ carbon dioxide by integrating it into chemical building blocks of added complexity in a sustainable way.

The porosity and high surface area of metal organic frameworks (MOFs), a class of three-dimensional coordination networks, proffers them as ideal materials for capture and storage of carbon dioxide. A team of researchers have designed a MOF which consumes carbon dioxide in a different way: by transformation into value-added chemicals. The group have developed a catalytic MOF embedded with lewis-acidic copper centres capable of converting aziridines to oxazolidinones by the addition of carbon dioxide. Oxazolidinones are used as auxiliaries in chiral synthesis, and are structural components of some antibiotics.

The MOF, termed MMPF-10, is a metal-metalloporphyrin framework constructed from a copper-bound porphyrin ring chemically modified to incorporate 8 benzoic acid moieties, generating an octatopic ligand. These carboxylic acids groups form a second complex with copper in situ, termed a ‘paddlewheel’ for its appearance, with the formula [Cu2(CO2)4]. The resulting network contains hexagonal channels measuring 25.6 x 15.6 Å flanked by four of each of the two copper complexes. With 0.625 % of the catalyst at room temperature, 1 bar CO2 pressure, and in a solvent free environment, MMPF-10 catalyses the transformation of 1-methyl-2-phenylaziridine to yield 63% of the product.

metal-metalloporphyrin MOF catalyses catalyzes carbon dioxide fixation aziridines to oxazolidinones

Topology of MMPF-10 showing hexagonal channels in a) and c), and pentagonal cavities in b). Turquoise: copper, red: oxygen, grey: carbon, blue: nitrogen.

This work, a simple reaction to prepare oxazolidinones, shows that carbon dioxide can be fixed in specialised synthetic building blocks in a sustainable way. This is the way the first paragraph ended, ‘in a sustainable way’, because the challenge of developing such a reaction is two-fold: it must use carbon dioxide, and the reaction conditions must be sustainable. There will be no beneficial offset if the reaction uses a lot of energy, requires many resources, or generates larges quantities of waste. In this reaction the researchers have remained mindful of developing a mild, solvent-free reaction with low catalyst loading employing an earth abundant metal, reflecting an earnest aim to develop practical and sustainable chemistry.

To find out more please read:

A metal-metalloporphyrin framework based on an octatopic porphyrin ligand for chemical fixation of CO2 with aziridines

Xun Wang, Wen-Yang Gao, Zheng Niu, Lukasz Wojtas, Jason A. Perman, Yu-Sheng Chen, Zhong Li, Briana Aguila and Shengqian Ma
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c7cc08844b

About the Author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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Elucidating the Stability of Two Metal-Organic Frameworks toward Carbon Dioxide Sorption: A Comparative Study

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are coordination networks consisting of organic ligands and metal cores. They possess crystalline structures with metal complexes as the basic building blocks. These complexes assemble together and extend periodically to form the MOF structures. MOFs represent a family of highly porous materials with ultrahigh surface area (typically >1000 m2 g-1). Other attractive characteristics for MOFs are abundant active metal cores and unique porous structures with tunable pore width, useful for gas storage applications.

Capturing carbon dioxide has evolved into an intriguing research area, mainly due to environmental concerns triggered by high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Some MOFs have already been explored as carbon dioxide storage materials and exhibited storage capability exceeding that of conventional absorbents (e.g. amines). Aside from the absorption capacity of carbon dioxide, the performance stability over prolonged operation periods is another figure of merit for MOF-based absorbents. However, there are limited studies in this area. Now for the first time, research groups led by Zeng and Zhao from National University of Singapore compared the performance stability of two representative MOFs, HKUST-1 and UiO-66(Zr). The unit cell of the two MOFs are shown in the inset of Figure a.

The two aforementioned MOFs were subjected to 500 carbon dioxide absorbing and desorbing cycles (Figure a). The carbon dioxide uptake amount of the two MOFs was gauged at specific cycle numbers (Figure b). Whilst HKUST-1 displayed a consistent decreasing storage capacity with increasing cycle number, the capacity of UiO-66(Zr) fluctuated but remained relatively constant. The results clearly indicate that HKUST-1 is more vulnerable and instable than UiO-66(Zr) during long-term working cycles.

The authors then investigated the mechanisms associated with the different stability performances. They first observed that the surface area of HKUST-1 decreased 24% to 1270 m2 g-1 after the stability test, whereas that of UiO-66(Zr) remained relatively intact. Moisture-induced structural collapse was excluded as a possible reason by carrying out a control experiment with ultra-pure and dry hydrogen gas. The authors then exploited multi-frequency atomic force microscopy and concluded that the difference in elastic modulus of the two MOF crystals played an important role in determining the corresponding MOF durability. UiO-66(Zr) has an elastic modulus (ca. 28 GPa) much higher than that of HKUST-1 (ca. 19 GPa), meaning that the former is more elastic than the latter. The high elasticity of UiO-66(Zr) can efficiently buffer the volumetric deformation caused by carbon dioxide absorption and desorption, preventing UiO-66(Zr) crystals from structural failure.

Figure. (a) Illustration of one cycle of the carbon dioxide absorption-desorption test. The inset shows where one carbon dioxide molecule resides in the corresponding MOFs. (b) The evolution of carbon dioxide uptake capacity (blue) and surface area (black) of HKUST-1 and UiO-66(Zr).

This work is expected to provide general guidelines on studying the structural stability of other MOFs with applications associated with gas storage and separation.

 

To find out more please read:

Structure Failure Resistance of Metal-organic Frameworks toward Multiple-cycle CO2 Sorption

Zhigang Hu, Yao Sun, Kaiyang Zeng, and Dan Zhao

DOI: 10.1039/c7cc04313a

About the author:

Tianyu Liu is a Ph.D. in chemistry graduated from University of California-Santa Cruz. He is passionate about scientific communication to introduce cutting-edge researches to both the general public and the scientists with diverse research expertise. He is a web writer for the Chem. Commun. and Chem. Sci. blog websites. More information about him can be found at http://liutianyuresearch.weebly.com/.

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Coordinating nature and photochemistry to create hydrogen

When we look to our future energy resources, the need to realise new means of renewable energy is immediately obvious. Much research is being carried out around the world into the development of systems that can generate energy – from H2 to biofuels to solar fuels – all of which place great importance on high efficiency and sustainability.

Looking at the world around us for inspiration, the obvious candidate is the photosynthetic process, where visible light is employed to convert CO2 and H2O into chemical energy. This process involves the transport of electrons through a complex series of intricately aligned porphyrin-related and protein biomolecules. We can explore the development of a system that mimics the behaviour of natural systems, with respect to the relay of electrons along a series of molecules, or, alternatively, we can take the components in these systems and exploit their properties in combination with other electronically-active but non-natural molecules.

Upon photoexcitation of [Ru(bpy)3]2+, electron transfer through a ferredoxin scaffold to a cobaloxime catalyst facilitates the production of hydrogen.It is the latter approach which Lisa Utschig and her team from Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago in the US, employed to generate a molecular system capable of photocatalysing the production of hydrogen. In their biohybrid system, the photosensitiser ruthenium(II) tris(bipyridine), ferredoxin (a water-soluble electron transfer protein), and cobaloxime (a cobalt(II)-based catalyst), were combined to generate a miniature reaction center that mimics those which occur in biological systems. However, the Utschig group’s system has a smaller molecular weight, which allows for characterisation of the electronic processes that occur in the system.

Lisa and her colleagues found that the presence of ferredoxin in the catalytic system acted as a scaffold to stabilise the charge-separated state necessary for electron transfer and the desired production of H2. They also observed that the catalytic behaviour of the Ru(II)–Co(II) pair was only possible in the presence of ferredoxin, which acted to extend the lifetime of the otherwise transient Co(I), allowing the desired reaction to occur.

In order to fully understand and enhance the properties of the molecular systems developed to fulfil the increasing need for energy alternatives, we need to be able to probe the structure and processes that occur in the molecule; the use of smaller analogs to those that exist in nature offers a means by which to achieve this goal. The photoactivated catalyst discussed in this work is an important step forward in the development of an optimized system for use in solar fuel production.

Read this hot ChemComm article in full:
Aqueous light driven hydrogen production by a Ru–ferredoxin–Co biohybrid
S. R. Soltau, J. Niklas, P. D. Dahlberg, O. G. Poluektov, D. M. Tiede, K. L. Lulfort and L. M. Utschig
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 10628–10631
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC03006D

Biography

Anthea Blackburn is a guest web writer for Chemical Science. She hails originally from New Zealand, and is a recent graduate student of Northwestern University in the US, where she studied under the tutelage of Prof. Fraser Stoddart (a Scot. There, she exploited supramolecular chemistry to develop multidimensional systems and study the emergent properties that arise in these superstructures. When time and money allow, she is ambitiously attempting to visit all 50 US states.

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Rotaxane Pulley – To Me, To You

Mechanically interlocked molecules have received ever increasing focus over the last number of years due to their potential to mimic the function of macroscopic devices in the molecular world.

Examples include molecular elevators and molecular muscles and with this Communication Zheng Meng and Chuan-Feng Chen of the CAS Key Laboratory of Molecular Recognition and Function at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing have added pulley-like shuttling motion to the toolkit.

Molecular pulley system powered by acid and base

Molecular pulley system powered by acid and base

Using their previously reported* triptycene-derived crown ether host and combining it with a linear guest with three dibenzylammonium and three N-methyltriazolium sites, they have made a molecular pulley system that mimics the plain rotary motion and linear translocation of full sized pulleys. The movement is powered by acid or base leading to one end of the cable-like guest moving towards the host while the other moves away (picture).

The researchers have not only added to the toolbox of molecular motion components but also provided new insights towards further developing molecular machines.

If you want to make your own molecular pulley read the article today! 

To read the details, check out the ChemComm article in full – it’s free to access until 10th May:
A molecular pulley based on a triply interlocked [2]rotaxane
Zheng Meng and Chuan-Feng Chen
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC01301A


*(a) C. F. Chen, Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 1674–1688 RSC; (b) Y. Han, Z. Meng, Y. X. Ma and C. F. Chen, Acc. Chem. Res., 2014, 47, 2026–2040

**Access is free through a registered RSC account – click here to register

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A collection of papers in memory of Professor Robert Williams

Professor Robert Williams, Oxford, inorganic, Biological ChemistryProfessor Robert (Bob) Williams died this March at the age of 89. He was a true pioneer in the field of bio-inorganic chemistry – especially concerning the role of calcium as a biological messenger – and contributed substantially to our understanding of the evolution of life. Professor Williams was often considered as one of the first people to start thinking about metallomics as a field, and will be greatly missed amongst his peers.

In memory of Professor Williams’ huge contribution to the field, we have collated a number of his publications across Metallomics, Dalton Transactions and ChemComm below. We hope you enjoy revisiting some of his exceptional work.

Copper proteomes, phylogenetics and evolution, L. Decaria, I. Bertini, R.J.P. Williams, Metallomics, 2011, 56–60

Zinc proteomes, phylogenetics and evolution, L. Decaria, I. Bertini, R.J.P. Williams, Metallomics, 2010, 706–709

A chemical systems approach to evolution, R.J.P. Williams, Dalton Transactions, 2007, 991–1001

Metallo-enzyme catalysis, R.J.P. Williams, Chemical Communications, 2003, 1109–1113

The chemical elements of life, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1991, 539–546

Temperature study of the solution conformations of aqueous lanthanide(III) complexes containing monodentate ligands, A.L. Du Preez, S. Naidoo, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1988, 2315–2321

A proton NMR study of some CoII complexes containing the N-hexadecyl-iminodiacetate ligand, C.J. Rix, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1986, 203–205

Solution conformation of aqueous lanthanide(III)-antipyrine complexes, A.L. Du Preez, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1986, 1425–1429

Precipitation within unilamellar vesicles. Part 1. Studies of silver(I) oxide formation, S. Mann, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1983, 311–316

Precipitation within unilamellar vesicles. Part 2. Membrane control of ion transport, S. Mann, M.J. Kime, R.G. Ratcliffe, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1983, 771–774

The characterisation of the nature of silica in biological systems, S. Mann, C.C. Perry, R.J.P. Williams, C.A. Fyfe, G.C. Gobbi, G.J. Kennedy, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1983, 168–170

New organo-metallic reagents for electron microscopy, S. Mann, R.J.P. Williams, P.R. Sethuraman, M.T. Pope, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1981, 1083–1084

Solid state phosphorus NMR spectroscopy of minerals and soils, R.J.P. Williams, R.G.F. Giles, A.M. Posner, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1981, 1051–1052

Electron relaxation rates of lanthanide aquo-cations, B.M. Alsaadi, F.J.C. Rossotti, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1980, 2147–2150

Hydration of complexone complexes of lanthanide cations, B.M. Alsaadi, F.J.C. Rossotti, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1980, 2151–2154

Preparation of Ag2O crystallites within phospholipid vesicles and their use in nucleation studies, J.L. Hutchison, S. Mann, A.J. Skarnulis, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1980, 634–635

Studies of lanthanide (III) dipicolinate complexes in aqueous solution. Part 2. Hydration, B.M. Alsaadi, F.J.C. Rossotti, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1980, 813–816

Studies of lanthanide(III) pyridine-2,6-dicarboxylate complexes in aqueous solution. Part 1. Structures and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectra, B.M. Alsaadi, F.J.C. Rossotti, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1980, 597–602

Location of biological compartments by high resolution NMR spectroscopy and electron microscopy using magnetite-containing vesicles, S. Mann, A.J. Skarnulis, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1979, 1067–1068

Mapping organic molecules in biological space by high resolution NMR spectroscopy and electron microscopy, A.J. Skarnulis, P.J. Strong, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1978, 1030–1032

An investigation of some potential uses of the gadolinium(III) ion as a structural probe, E.C.N.F. Geraldes, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1977, 1721–1726

Structure of lanthanide(III) mono- and bis-dipicolinates in solution, B.M. Alsaadi, F.J.C. Rossotti, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1977, 527–529

Assignment of the NMR spectrum of iron(III) protoporphyrin IX dicyanide using paramagnetic shift and broadening probes, J.G. Brassington, R.J.P. Williams, P.E. Wright, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1975, 338–340

Conformational studies of peroxidase-substrate complexes. Structure of the indolepropionic acid-horseradish peroxidase complex, P.S. Burns, R.J.P. Williams, P.E. Wright, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1975, 795–796

The temperature dependence of some physical properties of cobinamides and cobalamins, S.A. Cockle, O.D. Hensens, H.A.O. Hill, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1975, 2633–2634

Conformational studies of lanthanide complexes with carboxylate ligands, B.A. Levine, J.M. Thornton, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1974, 669–670

Ethylenediaminetetra-acetato-lanthanate(III), -praesodimate(III), -europate(III), and -gadolinate(III) complexes as nuclear magnetic resonance probes of the molecular conformations of adenosine 5′- monophosphate and cytidine 5′-monophosphate in solution, C.M. Dobson, R.J.P. Williams, A.V. Xavier, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1974, 1762–1764

Intramolecular nuclear Overhauser effects in proton magnetic resonance spectra of proteins, I.D. Campbell, C.M. Dobson, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1974, 888–889

Lanthanoid(III) cations as nuclear magnetic resonance conformational probes: Studies on cytidine 5′-monophosphate at pH 2, C.D. Barry, C.M. Dobson, R.J.P. Williams, A.V. Xavier, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1974, 1765-1769

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of dimeric cupric compounds, W. Byers, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1973, 555–560

Separation of contact and pseudo-contact contributions to shifts induced by lanthanide(III) ions in nuclear magnetic resonance spectra, C.M. Dobson, R.J.P. Williams, A.V. Xavier, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1973, 2662–2664

The effect of 1,3,5-trinitrobenzene on 1H nuclear magnetic resonance and electron paramagnetic resonance spectra of some cobalt(II) porphyrins, H.A.O. Hill, P.J. Sadler, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1973, 1663–1667

Origin of lanthanide nuclear magnetic resonance shifts and their uses, B. Bleaney, C.M. Dobson, B.A. Levine, R.B. Martin, R.J.P. Williams, A.V. Xavier, Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications, 1972, 791b–793

The chemistry of vitamin B12. Part XVI. Binding of thiols to the cobalt(II) corrins, S. Cockle, H.A.O. Hill, S. Ridsdale, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, 1972, 297–302

A method of assigning 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectra using europium(III) ion-induced pseudocontact shifts and C-H heteronuclear spin decoupling techniques, B. Birdsall, J. Feeney, J.A. Glasel, R.J.P. Williams, A.V. Xavier, Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications, 1971, 1473–1474

Methylation by methyl vitamin B12, G. Agnes, S. Bendle, H.A.O. Hill, F.R. Williams, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications, 1971, 850–851

Kinetics of substitution of co-ordinated carbanions in cobalt(III) corrinoids, H.A.O. Hill, J.M. Pratt, S. Ridsdale, F.R. Williams, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications, 1970, 341

Thallium(I) as a potassium probe in biological systems, J.P. Manners, K.G. Morallee, R.J.P. Williams, Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications, 1970, 965–966

The lanthanide cations as nuclear magnetic resonance probes of biological systems, K.G. Morallee, E. Nieboer, F.J.C. Rossotti, R.J.P. Williams, A.V. Xavier, R.A. Dwek, Journal of the Chemical Society D: Chemical Communications, 1970, 1132–1133

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Bubble power: Driving self-propelled machines with acetylene bubbles

Self-propelled micro/nanomachines were once the thing of science-fiction, but as so often is the case, fiction has become reality in recent years. Such devices could in the future find uses in environmental remediation and biomedical applications. Researchers around the world have been making progress on designing these machines, and it is a novel fuel-free autonomous self-propelled motor which is the focus of this Chemical Communication by Martin Pumera and team from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Nanyang Technological University.

Rather than focus on oxygen bubble propulsion, which often requires the use of high levels of toxic hydrogen peroxide, they have developed an acetylene bubble based motor. To achieve this they utilised the reaction of water and calcium carbide, which produces acetylene and calcium hydroxide. This approach makes use of the water that will be found in the most common application environments, but does not require reactive metals such as magnesium and aluminium. The work expands the scope of bubble-propulsion beyond hydrogen and oxygen and gives designers of micro/nanomachines greater power unit choices in their designs.

Acetylene bubble powered motor in water.

The most important part of the research reported in this Communication is the optimisation of an encapsulation layer around the calcium carbide to control the reaction. However, to find out what this layer is made of and how to prepare it you will have to read the article today.

To read the details, check out the Chem Comm article in full:

Acetylene bubble-powered autonomous capsules: towards in situ fuel
James Guo Sheng Moo, Hong Wang and Martin Pumera
Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CC07218A
   

    

    

    

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Just Mix – Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework Synthesis

Zeolitic-imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) are a sub-class of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with a wide range of potential uses including: CO2 capture, storage, catalysis, sensing and biomedicine. Unfortunately their synthesis often requires additives or reaction activation, and if they can be made without these it often requires long reaction times or results in low yields, neither of which is ideal for a substance with such wide potential uses.

To overcome this bottleneck in ZIF synthesis, Roland Fischer and his team from the Inorganic Chemistry department in Ruhr Universitat Bochum in Germany have developed a rapid room temperature synthesis approach. I am a great believer in developing approaches that can be carried out at room temperature and pressure and this is one such elegant solution. The authors produce nanocrystals of ZIFs in a very narrow size distribution by careful selection of the precursors and the solvents they are dissolved in. The solutions are then mixed and stirred to create the ZIF crystals; it really is that elegant.

ZIF crystals showing very narrow size distribution

The authors then used these crystals to fabricate thin films on quartz crystal microbalances and used this device to detect volatile organic solvents. This demonstration leads the way into exploring other uses of these ZIFs – after all, they can now be easily made. But to find out which solvent and precursors you need to use, you’ll have to read the paper today!

To read the details, check out the ChemComm article in full:
Rapid room temperature synthesis of zeolitic-imidazolate framework (ZIF) nanocrystals
Min Tu, Christian Wiktor, Christoph Rosler and Roland Fischer
Chem. Commun., 2014, 50, 13258-13260
DOI: 10.1039/C4CC06491G  

    

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