HOT ChemComm articles for October

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 13th December 2017.

Boron–nitrogen main chain analogues of polystyrene: poly(B-aryl)aminoboranes via catalytic dehydrocoupling
Diego A. Resendiz-Lara, Naomi E. Stubbs, Marius I. Arz, Natalie E. Pridmore, Hazel A. Sparkes and Ian Manners
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 11701-11704
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC07331C, Communication

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Photosensitised regioselective [2+2]-cycloaddition of cinnamates and related alkenes
Santosh K. Pagire, Asik Hossain, Lukas Traub, Sabine Kerresa and Oliver Reiser
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 12072-12075
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC06710K, Communication

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Acid-etched Layered Double Hydroxides with Rich Defects for Enhancing the Oxygen Evolution Reaction
Peng Zhou, Yanyong Wang, Chao Xie, Chen Chen, Hanwen Liu, Ru Chen, Jia Huo and Shuangyin Wang
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 11778-11781
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC07186H, Communication

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Selenoureas for anion binding as molecular logic gates
Arianna Casula, Paloma Begines, Alexandre Bettoschi, Josè G. Fernandez-Bolaños, Francesco Isaia, Vito Lippolis, Óscar López, Giacomo Picci, M. Andrea Scorciapino and Claudia Caltagirone
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 11869-11872
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC07148E, Communcation

This article is part of the themed collection: Chemosensors and Molecular Logic

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Neutron spectroscopy as a tool in catalytic science
Alexander J. O’Malley, Stewart F. Parker and C. Richard A. Catlow
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 12164-12176
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05982E, Feature Article

This article is part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

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D-Serine enzymatic metabolism induced formation of a powder-remoldable PAAM–CS hydrogel
Shuang Zhang, Qingcong Wei, Yinghui Shang, Qi Zhang and Qigang Wang
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC06733J, Communication

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Inorganic polystyrene gives old material a new backbone

Synthetic organic polymers and plastics revolutionised the 20th century and helped shape modern-day society. But a new range of materials with useful properties could be in the pipeline thanks to a catalytic method for making ‘inorganic polystyrene’.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry
B-arylated polyaminoboranes prepared via catalytic dehydropolymerisation

Polystyrene is an important material in today’s society with its uses ranging from a protective packaging material through to disposable cutlery. Its chemical structure, like the majority of other important synthetic polymeric materials, has a backbone of carbon atoms. To discover new materials with useful properties, researchers have tried to replicate these structures using inorganic chains, with silicone materials being a recent example. Now, Ian Manners and his team from the University of Bristol, UK, have made inorganic polymers out of boron and nitrogen.

Read the full story by Jeremy Allen on Chemistry World.

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Desalinating Seawater with Carbon “Sandwiches”

A joint group of scientists from China, Japan and Australia recently made a breakthrough in water desalination. They designed and synthesized a multilayered electrode consisting of a graphene nanosheet sandwiched between two porous carbon particle layers. This “sandwich” electrode can be used for capacitive desalination to produce fresh water from seawater, and exhibited the highest desalination capacity among the reported graphene sheet-based electrodes.

Capacitive desalination is an emerging water desalination technique. It removes water-soluble salts, mostly sodium chloride, by applying an electric field to move the salts to the surface of electrodes. Because the amount of ions being removed is directly proportional to the surface area of the electrodes, using electrodes with abundant surface to electro-adsorb ions is critical for excellent desalination performance.

The researchers utilized graphene oxide (GO) and zeolitic imidazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8, a metal organic framework) as the two components (Figure 1a). When dissolved in water, ZIF-8 nanocrystals became attached to the surface of GO and completely covered both sides of the GO nanosheets. This process was driven by the coordination interaction between the two species. The formed ZIF-8/GO/ZIF-8 “sandwiches” were then annealed at near 1000 oC in nitrogen gas. The annealing step converted GO nanosheets and ZIF-8 nanocrystals into graphene nanosheets and porous carbon particle layers, respectively. Owing to the presence of pores on the surface of the yielded carbon particles, the carbon “sandwiches” had a high surface area of 1360 m2/g, much higher than that of the graphene sheets alone (150 m2/g).

Figure 1. (a) A schematic diagram displaying the key steps for the synthesis of the carbon “sandwiched” electrodes. 2-MeIM = 2-methylimidazole, a building block for ZIF-8. (b) The change of NaCl concentration collected for a “sandwiched” electrode (NC/rGO) and a graphene sheet electrode (rGO). When an electric field is applied, the concentration of NaCl starts to drop and reaches a plateau; When the electric field dissipates, the concentration of NaCl returns to its initial level. The salt concentration decreased to a much lower level with NC/rGO (red curve) than rGO (black curve).

The desalination capacity of the carbon “sandwich” reaches 17.52 mg/g, meaning 1 gram of the electrode can remove 17.52 mg of sodium chloride. Consistent with the enhanced surface area, the capacity of the “sandwich” is much higher than that of the graphene alone (Figure 1b). More significantly, the “sandwich” electrode outperforms all other previously reported graphene sheet-based electrodes in terms of the desalination capacity.

This work has greatly advanced the development of capacitive desalination, a promising and affordable technique to mass produce fresh water by desalting seawater.

To find out more please read:

High Performance Capacitive Deionization Electrodes Based on Ultrathin Nitrogen-doped Carbon/graphene Nano-Sandwiches

Miao Wang, Xingtao Xu, Jing Tang, Shujin Hou, Md. Shahriar A. Hossain, Likun Pan and Yusuke Yamauchi

Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 10784-10787

About the blogger:

Tianyu Liu is a Ph.D. in chemistry graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz in United States. 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 blogger 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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HOT ChemComm articles for September

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 6th November 2017.

High Performance Capacitive Deionization Electrode Based on Ultrathin Nitrogen-Doped Carbon/Graphene Nano-Sandwiches
Miao Wang, Xingtao Xu, Jing Tang, Shujin Hou, Md. Shahriar A. Hossain, Likun Pan and Yusuke Yamauchi
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 10784-10787
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05673G, Communication

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Acetylene hydrochlorination using Au/carbon: a journey towards single site catalysis
Grazia Malta, Simon J. Freakley, Simon A. Kondrat and Graham J. Hutchings
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05986H, Feature Article

This article is part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

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Sydnone–alkyne cycloaddition: applications in synthesis and bioconjugation
Elodie Decuypère, Lucie Plougastel, Davide Audisio and Frédéric Taran
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC06405E, Feature Article

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Assembly of the active center of organophosphorus hydrolase in metal–organic frameworks via rational combination of functional ligands
Mengfan Xia, Caixia Zhuo, Xuejuan Ma, Xiaohong Zhang, Huaming Sun, Quanguo Zhai and Yaodong Zhang
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC06270B, Communication

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Inclusion of a dithiadiazolyl radical in a seemingly non-porous solid
Varvara I. Nikolayenko, Leonard J. Barbour, Ana Arauzo, Javier Campo, Jeremy M. Rawson and Delia A. Haynes
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC06678C, Communication

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Synthesis of Trinorbornane
Lorenzo Delarue Bizzini, Thomas Müntener, Daniel Häussinger, Markus Neuburger and  Marcel Mayor
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC06273G, Communication

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Theoretical trinorbornane joins the real world

Scientists have successfully synthesised one of last small polycyclic hydrocarbons left to make or find in nature.1

Until recently, trinorborane (tetracyclo[5.2.2.01,6.04,9]undecane) had only existed in the Chemical Universe Database (GDB) – a database containing all possible molecules up to a certain number of atoms.2 Trinorbornane has an interesting structure where two norbornanes share a pair of neighbouring edges so it looks like three interlaced norbornanes.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry
The two enantiomers of trinorbornane display axial chirality

Read the full story by Adrian Robinson on Chemistry World.

1 L D Bizzini et al, Chem. Commun., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c7cc06273g (This paper is free to access until 16 November 2017.)

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Synthesis of Tin Dioxide Nanotubes for Lithium-ion Batteries with “A Grain of Oxalate Salt”

Preparation of tube-shaped electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries is a trending topic. Tubes with hollow cylindrical bodies allow exposure of the electrodes’ interior surface and can accommodate the large volumetric expansion commonly observed when lithium ions diffuse (either via intercalation or alloying) into the electrodes. The aforementioned two characteristics improve the specific capacity (a measure of how much electric energy one electrode can hold) and lifetime of electrodes.

Recently, the Mai research group from Wuhan University of Technology, China demonstrated a straightforward method for the synthesis of tin dioxide nanotubes as high-performance anodes for lithium-ion batteries. They adopted manganese(III) oxyhydroxide (MnOOH) nanowires as the sacrificial templates and immersed them in a batch of aqueous solutions containing tin(II) cations and oxalate anions (C2O42-). Afterwards, they warmed the mixture at 60 oC under constant magnetic stirring for 4 h and collected a white precipitate consisting of tin dioxide nanotubes. These nanotubes were then washed and coated with carbon thin films to improve their electrical conductivity and structural stability before being subjected to performance evaluations.

The presence of oxalate anions was crucial for producing the nanotubes with a well-defined shape. The function of these anions was revealed through a series of experiments. Oxalate anions first reduced MnOOH to manganese(II) cations and consumed protons in the vicinity of the MnOOH surface. The consumption of local protons increased the local pH and triggered precipitation and oxidation (by dissolved oxygen) of Sn2+ to tin dioxide. The two reactions proceeded, and eventually the MnOOH nanowires disappeared but tubes of tin dioxide formed around their surfaces (Figure 1). Samples obtained without oxalate salts were irregularly shaped.

Figure 1. (a) The schematic illustration of the synthesis steps of the tin dioxide nanotubes. (b) Scanning electron microscopy and (c) transmission electron microscopy images of the as-prepared tin dioxide nanotubes.

The carbon-coated tin dioxide nanotubes showed superior stability performance to bare tin dioxide nanotubes, as shown from the slower capacity-fading rate depicted in Figure 2a. In addition, carbon coating did not significantly sacrifice nanotubes’ charge-storage performance as both electrodes with and without a coating exhibited comparable capacity at all tested current densities (Figure 2b).

Figure 2. Performance comparison between carbon-coated tin dioxide nanotubes (SnO2@C NTs) and bare tin dioxide nanotubes (SnO2 NTs): (a) long-term stability and (b) capacity achieved at different current densities and charge-discharge cycle numbers.

To find out more please read:

Oxalate-assisted Formation of Uniform Carbon-confined SnO2 Nanotubes with Enhanced Lithium Storage

Chunhua Han, Baoxuan Zhang, Kangning Zhao, Jiashen Meng, Qiu He, Pan He, Wei Yang, Qi Li and Liqiang Mai

DOI: 10.1039/c7cc05406h

About the blogger:

Tianyu Liu is a Ph.D. in chemistry graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz in United States. 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 blogger 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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Carbohydrates promoted in new prebiotic theory

It’s plausible that carbohydrates formed on primordial Earth before amino acids. So say UK researchers who have shown that parent molecules to amino acids can catalyse the formation of 2-deoxy-D-ribose, a sugar found in the backbone of DNA.1

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry Amino nitriles can promote the enantioselective aldol reaction of formaldehyde and glycolaldehyde to yield D-glyceraldehyde, and the subsequent reaction of the D-glyceraldehyde with acetaldehyde to make 2-deoxy-D-ribose

We’ll never know the exact process that turned chemistry into biology, but many researchers want to get as close as they can to the truth. Paul Clarke at the University of York is one of those researchers.

Read the full story by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World.

1 A M Steer et al, Chem. Commun., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/c7cc06083a (This paper is open access.)

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Let single crystals do the heavy lifting

Researchers in the US have developed heat responsive crystalline cantilevers that are capable of lifting a metal ball almost 100 times heavier than the crystal itself.

Stimuli responsive behaviour in soft materials has blossomed in recent years, but for highly crystalline solids, such properties are still surprising, especially for materials that don’t lose their single crystalline nature in the process.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry
Upon heating, the crystal lattice changes from herringbone packing to infinite 1D chains stacked co-facially along their π surfaces.

Jeremiah Gassensmith and colleagues at the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas, US, have developed single crystals of an N-substituted naphthalene diimide (NDI) derived organic semiconductor that can undergo a reversible phase change from its α to its β form under heating.

Read the full story by Jason Woolford on Chemistry World.

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HOT ChemComm articles for August

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 6th October 2017.

Photoactivatable aggregation-induced emission of triphenylmethanol
Yue Zheng, Xiaokun Zheng, Yu Xianga and Aijun Tong
Chem.Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC04693F, Communication

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Orthogonal switching of self-sorting processes in a stimuli-responsive library of cucurbit[8]uril complexes
Stefan Schoder and Christoph A. Schalley
Chem. Commun., 2017, 53, 9546-9549
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05469F, Communication

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Condensing the information in DNA with double-headed nucleotides 
Mick Hornum, Pawan K. Sharma, Charlotte Reslow-Jacobsen, Pawan Kumar, Michael Petersena and Poul Nielsen
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 9717-9720
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05047J, Communication

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High magnetic relaxivity in a fluorescent CdSe/CdS/ZnS quantum dot functionalized with MRI contrast molecules 
S. G. McAdams, D. J. Lewis, P. D. McNaughter, E. A. Lewis, S. J. Haigh, P. O’Brien and F. Tuna
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05537D, Communication
This article is part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

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What [plasma used for growing] diamond can shine like flame?
Michael N. R. Ashfold, Edward J. D. Mahoney, Sohail Mushtaq, Benjamin S. Truscotta and Yuri A. Mankelevich
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC05568D, Feature Article
This article is part of the themed collection: Commemorating Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

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Reversible structural switching of a metal-organic framework by photoirradiation
Varvara I. Nikolayenko, Simon A. Herberta and Leonard J. Barbour
Chem. Commun., 2017, Advance Article
10.1039/C7CC06074B, Communication

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2nd From Carbon-Rich Molecules to Carbon-Based Materials Conference

The 2nd From Carbon-Rich Molecules to Carbon-Based Materials Conference is to be held 7th – 10th June in Nassau, Bahamas.

This interdisciplinary conference will provide unique “fusion” opportunities for chemists, physicists and engineers having various backgrounds but sharing passion and interests in carbon-only or carbon-rich molecules and carbon-based materials. It will allow a diverse group of scientists from all over the globe to discuss the current challenges, needs and prospects of this quickly-evolving multidisciplinary field.

Dates for your diary

Early Bird- 7th December 2017

Talk Submission- 14th December 2017

Last Chance – 13th April 2018

You can click here to register now and see here for further information about the conference.

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