A nitro boost for solid oxides

Hugh Cowley writes about a hot ChemComm article for Chemistry World

Scientists in Germany have made tetranitratoethane (C2H2N4O12), a solid oxidiser with one of the highest oxygen contents ever synthesised. This research is part of an international search for new oxidisers to replace toxic ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4). Read the full article in Chemistry World»


Read the original journal article in ChemComm – it’s free to read until 29 February 2016:
Tetranitratoethane
Dennis Fischer, Thomas M. Klapötke and Jörg Stierstorfer
Chem. Commun., 2016,52, 916-918, DOI: 10.1039/C5CC09010E, Communication

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Ethanol to butanol conversion shows sustainable potential

Elisabeth Ratcliffe writes about a hot ChemComm article for Chemistry World

Scientists in the US have come up with a simple way to convert ethanol into 1-butanol, in what could be an important step forward for renewable energy.

Ethanol can be made by fermenting biomass. However, ethanol presents problems as a fuel, such as low energy density compared to petrol, corrosiveness towards engine technology and fuel pipelines, and since it reacts with water, it can separate out from fuel blends over time. Read the full article in Chemistry World»


Read the original journal article in ChemComm:
Upgrading ethanol to 1-butanol with a homogeneous air-stable ruthenium catalyst
K T Tseng et al, Chem. Commun., 2016, DOI: 10.1039/c5cc09913g

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Hot and cold cells: sensitive thermometers for biomaterials

Iain Larmour is a guest web writer for ChemSci. He has researched a wide variety of topics during his years in the lab including nanostructured surfaces for water repellency and developing nanoparticle systems for bioanalysis by surface enhanced optical spectroscopies. He currently works in science management. In his spare time he enjoys reading, photography, art and inventing.

Lanthanide metal–organic frameworks (Ln-MOFs) have recently received increased interest due to their  interesting and useful luminescence characteristics, such as  large Stokes shifts, long luminescence lifetime and a wide emission range – all the way from ultraviolet to near-infrared.  Furthermore, the luminescence of these materials shows strong temperature dependence, which  makes them excellent candidates for the development of luminescent thermometers.  

Ln-MOF thermometers have recently been realised through the mixed lanthanide MOF approach, whereby two distinct lanthanide ions are incorporated into the MOF structure. There is an excellent linear correlation between the intensity ratio of the emissions from the two lanthanide ions and temperature. Such ratiometric luminescent thermometers have distinct advantages over conventional thermometers due to their fast response, high sensitivity and non-invasive operation.

Guodong Qian and team from Zhejiang University recently designed a novel mixed Ln-MOF thermometer with excellent sensitivity over the physiological temperature range (293-313K) by incorporating  Ytterbium and Neodymium into the MOF. With excitation and luminescence in the near infrared window, this thermometer is harmless to biological tissues and its resolution is high enough to measure the temperature differences in pathological cells.  These characteristics make this luminescent thermometer ideal for biological sensing.

Figure (a) from article C5CC07532G

Emission spectra of Nd0.577Yb0.423BDC-F4 in the range of 293–313 K excited at 808 nm; inset: temperature dependence of the normalized intensity of the corresponding transitions.

To find out how more about this thermometer, read the paper in ChemComm today!

A near infrared luminescent metal-organic framework for temperature sensing in the physiological range
Xiusheng Lian, Dian Zhao, Yuanjing Cui, Yu Yang and Guodong Qian
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, Advanced Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC07532G

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Hot ChemComm articles for December

Take a look at this selection of recently published referee-recommended articles – all are free to read* until 23 January.

Highly sensitive and selective bioluminescence based ozone probes and their applications to detect ambient ozone
Younseok Nam, Beom Seok Kim and Injae Shin
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC08622A, Communication

C5CC08622A GA


Transient electrochemistry: beyond simply temporal resolution
X.-S. Zhou, B.-W. Mao, C. Amatore, R. G. Compton, J.-L. Marignier, M. Mostafavi, J.-F. Nierengarten and E. Maisonhaute
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC07953E, Feature Article

C5CC07953E GA


Robust molecular representations for modelling and design derived from atomic partial charges
A. R. Finkelmann, A. H. Göller and G. Schneider
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC07887C, Communication

C5CC07887C GA


A novel multi-stimuli responsive gelator based on D-gluconic acetal and its potential applications
Xidong Guan, Kaiqi Fan, Tongyang Gao, Anping Ma, Bao Zhang and Jian Song
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC08615A, Communication

C5CC08615A GA


Enzyme encapsulation in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks: a comparison between controlled co-precipitation and biomimetic mineralisation
Kang Liang, Campbell J. Coghlan, Stephen G. Bell, Christian Doonan and Paolo Falcaro
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC07577G, Communication

C5CC07577G GA


Spotting and designing promiscuous ligands for drug discovery
P. Schneider, M. Röthlisberger, D. Reker and G. Schneider
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC07506H, Communication

C5CC07506H GA

*Access is free through a registered RSC account

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Molecules, materials, medicines – the story of pharmaceutical cocrystals

Iain Larmour is a guest web writer for ChemSci. He has researched a wide variety of topics during his years in the lab including nanostructured surfaces for water repellency and developing nanoparticle systems for bioanalysis by surface enhanced optical spectroscopies. He currently works in science management. In his spare time he enjoys reading, photography, art and inventing.

Pharmaceutical cocrystals – cocrystals that contain a drug molecule - can improve the physicochemical performance of drugs, making the prescription you take on doctor’s orders more effective. The properties of any crystal are inherently dependent upon composition and crystal packing, so if you have control over these two things you have control over the physicochemical properties.

Following an explosion of interest and work in this area over the last decade, Michael Zaworotko and colleagues from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Sciences at the University of Limerick review the current state of the literature on pharmaceutical cocrystals.

They cover four areas: nomenclature, design using hydrogen-bonded supramolecular synthons, methods of discovery, and synthesis and development of pharmaceutical cocrystals as drug products. Usefully, they present seven recent case studies on the clinical improvements that can be observed.

The three stages of early drug discovery and development: identify a molecule that is biologically active; create a material suitable for use in a drug product; formulate the material into a medicine with excipients.

A review in 2004 asked the question “Do pharmaceutical co-crystals represent a new path to improved medicines?” Zaworotko and colleagues, having reviewed the last decade of literature, can answer in the affirmative. To find out why the answer to this question is “yes” read this review today!

To read the details, check out the ChemComm article in full:

Pharmaceutical cocrystals: along the path to improved medicines
Naga Duggirala, Miranda Perry, Örn Almarsson and Michael Zaworotko
Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, Advanced Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC08216A

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Journal lectureships 2016 – nominations open!

Nominations for the 2016 lectureships for ChemComm, Chem Soc Rev, and Chemical Science are open till Friday, 15 January 2016. Nominate now!

We are pleased to welcome nominations for the 2016 lectureships for ChemComm, Chem Soc Rev, and Chemical Science – the Royal Society of Chemistry’s flagship general chemistry journals.

All nominations must be received by Friday, 15 January 2016.

Nominations are open for the following journal lectureships – only one entry needed per nominee, as each nomination will be considered for all three competitions as appropriate.

ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship
• Recognises emerging scientists in the early stages of their independent academic career
• Eligible nominees should have completed their PhD on or after the 15th September 2007, and should also have published as least one article in ChemComm during the course of their independent career

Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigator Lectureship
• Recognises emerging scientists who have made significant contributions to their research field
• Eligible nominees should have completed their PhD on or after the 15th September 2007

Chemical Science Lectureship
• Recognises sustained excellence in research by a mid-career scientist within the chemical sciences.
Previous recipients of this lectureship include Kevan Shokat (UC San Francisco; 2013), Gregory Fu (Caltech; 2014) and Yamuna Krishnan (University of Chicago; 2015).

Lectureship details
• Recipients of these lectureships will each be invited to present a lecture at three different locations over a 12-month period, with at least one of these events taking place at an international conference. Note: As part of this series of winners’ lectures, the Chemical Science Lectureship recipient will be invited to give a plenary lecture at a relevant ISACS (International Symposia on Advancing the Chemical Sciences) meeting.
• Each recipient will receive a contribution of £1500 towards travel and accommodation costs for their lectures, as well as a certificate.
• Recipients will be asked to contribute a review article for the specific journal awarding their lectureship.

How to nominate
Self-nomination is not permitted. Nominators must send the following to the editorial team via chemcomm-rsc@rsc.org by Friday, 15 January 2016. Each nomination will be considered for all appropriate lectureships.
• Recommendation letter, including the name, contact details and website URL of the nominee.
• A one-page CV for the nominee, including their date of birth, summary of education, career and key achievements, a list of up to five of their top independent publications, total numbers of publications and patents, and other indicators of esteem (and evidence of independence for nominees eligible for the emerging investigator lectureships).
• A copy of the candidate’s best publication to date (as judged by the nominator).
• Two supporting letters of recommendation from two independent referees. These should not be someone from the same institution or the candidate’s post doc or PhD supervisor.

The nominator and independent referees should comment on the candidate’s presenting skills.

Incomplete nominations or those not adhering to the above requirements will not be considered, and nominees will not be contacted regarding any missing or incorrect documents.

Selection procedure
• The editorial team will screen each nomination for eligibility and draw up a shortlist of candidates based on the nomination documents provided.
• Shortlisted candidates will be asked to provide a brief supporting statement summarising their key achievements, highlighting the impact of their work and justifying why they deserve the specific lectureship for which they have been entered.
• Recipients of each lectureship will then be selected and endorsed by a joint selection panel composed of members of each journal’s Editorial Board. Winners of the lectureships will be announced in spring 2016.

NB: Please note that members of the selection panel from the ChemComm, Chem Soc Rev and Chemical Science Editorial Boards are not eligible to nominate, provide references for or be nominated for these lectureships.

For any queries, please contact the editorial team at chemcomm-rsc@rsc.org.

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Nominate now for the 2016 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize in Supramolecular Chemistry

The International Committee of the International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry is pleased to invite nominations for the Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize for young supramolecular chemists.

The Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize, named in honour of the winners of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, recognises significant original and independent work in supramolecular chemistry.

Previous winners include Feihe Huang, Oren Schermann, Tomoki Ogoshi, Jonathan Nitschke, and Amar Flood.

Those who are within 10 years of receiving their PhD on 31st December 2015 are eligible for the 2016 award. The winner will receive a prize of £2000 and free registration for the ISMSC meeting in Seoul, Korea. In addition to giving a lecture at ISMSC, a short lecture tour will be organised after the meeting in consultation with the Editor of Chemical Communications, the sponsor of the award.

Nomination Details:

You may nominate yourself or someone else. Please send your CV, list of publications (divided into publications from your PhD and post-doc, and those from your independent work), and if desired, a letter of support, or these materials for someone you wish to nominate, to Prof. Roger Harrison (ISMSC Secretary) at rgharris@chem.byu.edu by 31st January 2016.

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H2-free route to actinide hydrides

Aurora Walshe writes about a hot ChemComm article for Chemistry World

Scientists in the US have shown that phenylsilane is a safer and more convenient replacement for hydrogen gas when synthesising uranium and thorium hydrides.

Thorium and uranium are the most abundant actinoid elements. Although many stable thorium and uranium oxides and minerals are found in nature, the other actinoids are almost exclusively found in nuclear waste. Understanding actinoid chemistry has important practical applications in the nuclear industry but it is also fundamentally fascinating as the actinoid f electrons are so unlike those of the lanthanoids. Scientists need to make and study actinoid complexes with different oxidation states and with different ligands to understand their chemistry. Unfortunately, organometallic actinide chemistry can be quite challenging as organoactinide complexes will react – sometimes violently – with air or water, meaning that specialist equipment is needed to make and store them safely. Read the full article in Chemistry World»


Read the original journal article in ChemComm - it’s free to access until 23 December 2015:
Phenylsilane as a safe, versatile alternative to hydrogen for the synthesis of actinide hydrides
Justin K. Pagano, Jacquelyn M. Dorhout, Rory Waterman, Kenneth R. Czerwinski and Jaqueline L. Kiplinger
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC06856H, Communication

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Oral delivery of anticancer drug

Suzanne Howson writes about a hot ChemComm article for Chemistry World

Scientists in China have unveiled a way to deliver a platinum-based anticancer drug orally. The system, which works by protecting a prodrug from activation until it reaches the cancer cells, could help avoid the drug’s side effects.

The researchers incoporated an asplatin-cholesterol complex into biocompatible nanoparticles, which protect the drug from degrading before reaching the cancer cells

Platinum(IV)-based drugs are used to treat a range of cancers, often combined with other drugs. They are only reduced to the active platinum(II) drug once inside a cancer cell. Currently, healthcare workers administer platinum anticancer drugs through intravenous injections, which results in uncontrolled levels of the drug in the body and associated side effects. Administrating these drugs orally, however, would sustain an optimum concentration of the drug whilst boosting patient comfort and compliance. However, a downside is the prodrugs would be vulnerable to premature reduction into the active drug in the gastrointestinal tract. Read the full article in Chemistry World»


Read the original journal article in ChemComm – it’s free to read until 16 December:
Oral delivery of a platinum anticancer drug using lipid assisted polymeric nanoparticles
Qinqin Cheng, Hongdong Shi, Hai Huang, Zhiting Cao, Jun Wang and Yangzhong Liu
Chem. Commun., 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC07853A, Communication

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Sharpening up super-resolution images by getting heavy

Iain Larmour is a guest web writer for Chemical Science and ChemComm. He has researched a wide variety of topics during his years in the lab including nanostructured surfaces for water repellency and developing nanoparticle systems for bioanalysis by surface enhanced optical spectroscopies. He currently works in science management. In his spare time he enjoys reading, photography, art and inventing.

Single molecule super-resolution microscopy is the technique which takes advantage of the photoconversion of fluorescent probes and single molecule dyes to image cellular ultrastructures beyond the diffraction limit of light. The most common approach for this technique is to genetically fuse photoactivatable fluorescent proteins (PA-FPs) to the biomolecules of interest. However, PA-FPs do not emit as much light as organic dyes, which poses a problem since this technique relies heavily on the number of photons that are collected. If you can increase the amount of photons emitted, you can increase the amount collected, which leads to higher localization and ultimately a higher resolution image.

Bo Huang and colleagues from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco set out to investigate ways to make the PA-FPs brighter. It was previously shown that heavy water (D2O) increased the photon count from popular small molecule dyes1; would the same effect be seen in the PA-FPs? The answer was yes: as the heavy water component increased, the photon count also increased.

Photon counts seen from 8 fluorescent proteins in PBS and D2O PBS

One possible concern is that heavy water in live cells can slow down cell growth and even cause cell death. However, in real life this happens on significantly longer time-scales than it does in an experimental environment, therefore, any adverse effects on live cells would be minimal.
 
If you use PA-FPs in your work and you want to sharpen up your images then this paper is worth a read.
 
To find out the details, read the ChemComm article in full:
Heavy Water: A Simple Solution to Increasing Brightness of Fluorescence Proteins in Super-resolution Imaging
Wei Qiang Ong, Y. Rose Citron, Joerg Schnitzbauer, Daichi Kamiyama and Bo Huang
Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5CC04575D
 
1S. van de Linde, A. Loschberger, T. Klein, M. Heidbreder, S. Wolter, M. Heilemann and M. Sauer, Nat. Protoc., 2011, 6, 991
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