Archive for the ‘News’ Category

IUCr 2017

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Algorithm deliberately entangles MOFs

Scientists normally want to stop their metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) from interpenetrating. But after realising the drawbacks of these entangled structures could actually be benefits they now want to find ones that definitely will.

It’s hard to mention MOFs without mentioning their pores. These pores and the potential created by their massive surface area have had scientists daydreaming about their possible applications for years. But these pores can easily clog up with sub-lattices, rendering them useless. Or so they thought. Interpenetrated MOFs are very strong and they can still have pores – with a much more specific size, which could be quite handy.

Hetero-Interpenetrated MOFs

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry Exemplary candidate hetero-interpenetrated structures discovered in this study

Interested? The full story can be read in Chemistry World.

The original article can be read below and is free to access until 18th September 2017

Discovery of hypothetical hetero-interpenetrated MOFs with arbitrarily dissimilar topologies and unit cell shapes
K B Sezginel, T Feng and C E Wilmer*
CrystEngComm, 2017, 19, 4497-4504
DOI: 10.1039/C7CE00290D

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3D-Printing of Ceramic Scintillators

Inorganic scintillators have desirable properties for the detection of ionising radiation, with potential applications including in nuclear instrumentation.  Scintillators are materials which produce light when they interact with ionising radiation allowing the radiation to be detected and quantified.  However, the methods used to prepare inorganic scintillators are a limitation to the development of further uses.  Growing crystals from the melt provides only a limited range of materials and, while glasses or glass-ceramics allow a wider range, these materials typically have a low light intensity.  Polycrystalline ceramics lie between single crystals and glasses in terms of properties.

In a recent paper, Dosovitskiy et al. demonstrate the preparation of the scintillator YAG:Ce (yttrium aluminium garnet doped with cerium activator) as a polycrystalline ceramic using 3D-printing. This was achieved for Y2.97Ce0.03Al5O12 by co-precipitation followed by heating at 900 oC.  A slurry of the resulting powder was then used to 3D-print green bodies using stereolithography.  A so-called green body contains the material of interest along with a binder, the latter being subsequently removed by heating.

Graphical abstract: First 3D-printed complex inorganic polycrystalline scintillator

After debinding and sintering at 1600 oC , the properties of the resulting ceramic material were compared with those of the corresponding YAG:Ce single crystals.  The ceramic showed a scintillation light yield more than 60% higher than that of the single crystals, when using 5.5 MeV α-particles.

Higher activator concentrations can be achieved using this preparation method than in single crystals and this is beneficial to the light yield.  3D printing allows the production of  shapes not available by other methods, free of defects and larger than 1 micrometer.  One possible application of this is in the production of luminescent materials for LED lighting devices.

For more information, see the full paper at:

First 3D-printed complex inorganic polycrystalline scintillator

A. Dosovitskiy, P. V. Karpyuk, P. V. Evdokimov, D. E. Kuznetsova,  V. A. Mechinsky, A. E. Borisevich, A. A. Fedorov, V. I. Putlayev, A. E. Dosovitskiy, M. V. Korjik

DOI:10.1039/C7CE00541E

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors. She published a book, ‘Molecules, Medicines and Mischief’, in 2014, on some of the chemicals found in plants and is currently working on a follow-up.

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Poster prize winners at CEMWOQ-4

Congratulations to the CrystEngComm poster prize winners who were awarded at The 4th Crystal Engineering and Emerging Materials Workshop of Ontario and Quebec (CEMWOQ-4). The workshop was held in Ontario, Canada from the 26th – 28th May 2017. Christer Aakeroy our Associate Editor attended as a plenary lecturer and was on hand to award the prizes.

The winners were presented accordingly:

1st Place Undergraduate Poster Award: Junghoon Ko, University of Windsor, for “Discotic Liquid Crystals with Internal Side Chains as Potential Organic Semi-Conductors”
2nd Place Graduate Poster Award: Mitchell Nascimento, University of Windsor, for “Expanding the Family of Palladium-DTDA Metal Complexes”
2nd Place Undergraduate Poster Award: Austin Peach, University of Windsor, for “Applications of 35Cl SSNMR for the study of HCl Pharmaceutical Cocrystals”

The workshop enables an easy exchange of ideas, expertise and information and serves as an educational event for students. It also supports/creates new collaborations between research groups. There are plenary and oral presentations, and a poster session with opportunity for discussion within the program. A training workshop on the day before the main meeting is included, on a topic relevant to one or more of the existing themes of the meeting.

Further information on the most recent meeting, and links to other previous meetings, can be viewed at this website.

(From left) Christer Aakeroy awarding CrystEngComm poster prizes to (from left to right): Junghoon Ko, Mitchell Nascimento and Austin Peach

 

 

 

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Solid state synthesis not so solid after all

Weather and climate influence solid state reactions in previously unrealised ways. So say scientists who have found a mysterious liquid phase at the interface between solids when investigating mechanochemical synthesis.

Source: Royal Society of Chemistry Co-grinding a dry mixture of α-glycine and β-malonic acid is known to give a stoichiometric salt, glycinium semi-malonate.

Mechanochemical reactions are performed by grinding two solid reactants together without a solvent. They are often touted as a green alternative to traditional synthesis, and occur via complex pathways quite different to reactions in solution. Humans have used mechanochemistry since time immemorial: to create fire from the friction between two pieces of wood, in the process of ball milling since the industrial revolution, and to prepare powders for pharmaceuticals and rocket propellants.

The full article can be read in Chemistry World.

The original article can be read below and is open access

Inadvertent liquid assisted grinding: a key to “dry” organic mechano-co-crystallisation?
I A Tumanov et al,
CrystEngComm, 2017, 19, 2830
DOI: 10.1039/c7ce00517b

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CrystEngComm Prize winners at the 27th MOSSCS symposium

Congratulations to CrystEngComm prize winners: Bhupinder Sandhu, Yue Qiu and Shane Nichols. They were awarded their prizes at the Midwest Organic Solid State Chemistry Symposium XXVII (MOSSCS) which took place at Kansas State University, USA from the 9th – 10th June 2017. CrystEngComm Associate Editor Christer Aakeroy was on hand to present their certificates.

The MOSSCS symposium provides opportunities for the scientific community to exchange ideas and research results on the organic solid state in a relaxed environment. The symposium involves presentations by graduate students and postdoctoral associates as well as invited lectures on topics of current interest.

Further information about the symposium can be found on their website.

CrystEngComm Associate Editor Christer Aakeroy with prize winners (left to right): Bhupinder Sandhu, Yue Qiu and Shane Nichols

 

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Fractal crystals win fashion design contest

The fractal crystal pattern, transferred onto a dress, won the researchers a prize at a design competition

Organic crystals with never-before-seen curved fractal structures have been discovered by researchers in China. They used the unusual shapes to design a dress, whose striking patterns won a national fashion competition.

Guoqing Zhang, Xuepeng Zhang and their team at the University of Science and Technology of China first intended to construct a series of organic ligands for water-based acrylic paints. By performing a routine Claisen condensation reaction between a ketone and an ester, they obtained a number of pyridine-substituted β-diketone compounds as fluffy crystals, with varying positions of nitrogen-substitution in the pyridine ring.

Interested? The full story can be read in Chemistry World.

The original article can be read below and is free to access until 9th June 2017:

Curved fractal structures of pyridine-substituted β-diketone crystals
Zongzheng Qian, Dongxue Li, Tongqing Xie, Xuepeng Zhang,* Yang He, Yuejie Ai and Guoqing Zhang*
CrystEngComm, 2017, 19, 2283-2287
DOI:10.1039/C7CE00462A

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A Fashion for Fractals

The growth and design of organic crystals is often focused on linear regularity and the optical or electronic properties of the resulting crystals.  Crystallisation is influenced by many factors including the presence of interactions between atoms or groups of atoms.  However, when these are absent or insignificant, another kind of morphology can develop – the curved fractal.   A new paper by Zhang et al. looks at the formation of a curved fractal structure and shows an application of these beyond the scientific realm.

Fractals are defined by the existence of the similar patterns occurring independent of the level of detail observed e.g. as seen in Koch snowflakes.  A series of pyridyl diketones, with varying position of ring nitrogen and substitution, and a β-diketone were prepared and their properties compared.

The luminescent 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)-3-(pyridin-2-yl)propane-1,3-dione (PBDK1) showed, uniquely among the structures studied, a curved fractal structure visible using an electron microscope (seen below in fluorescence mode).  The highest curvature was observed for crystals obtained by evaporation from a solution in acetone at 5.0 mg mL−1 or above, on glass.  Under these conditions, the relatively weak (compared with the 3- and 4-pyridyl analogues) potential intermolecular interactions in PBDK1 can be disrupted by surface tension effects.   This allows molecular slippage and dislocation to occur during crystal growth. The observed curved fractal pattern was transferred onto fabric and the design incorporated in a dress which won first place at the 2016 National Women’s Fashion Design Competition of China.

image file: c7ce00462a-f5.tifThis work suggests some of the factors involved in the formation of curved fractal structures and also shows that interest in these extends beyond the scientific and into the realm of fashion design.

For more information, read the paper at:

Curved fractal structures of pyridine-substituted β-diketone crystals

Zongzheng Qian, Dongxue Li, Tongqing Xie, Xuepeng Zhang, Yang He, Yuejie Ai and Guoqing Zhang

DOI: 10.1039/C7CE00462A

________________________________________________________________________________

Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors. She published a book, ‘Molecules, Medicines and Mischief’, in 2014, on some of the chemicals found in plants and is currently working on a follow-up.

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Use of a MOP in the production of vanillin

A new method of producing vanillin (3-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde) from ferulic acid using a catalytic MOP has been reported.

Vanillin, one of the main chemical components of vanilla, is an important flavouring agent in the food, cosmetic and other industries.  However, although it can be extracted from vanilla pods, less than 1% of the required quantity is obtained in this way.  The remainder is obtained by chemical synthesis using strong oxidising agents and toxic solvents.  Biotechnological production is also possible but there are problems with time-scale, purification and the nature of the bacteria used.   There is, therefore, a demand for cleaner, greener methods of production of vanillin.

This paper reports the production of vanillin in 60% yield from ferulic acid and hydrogen peroxide, when a MOP (metal-organic polyhedron) is used as a catalyst.  Like MOFs (metal-organic frameworks), MOPs are constructed from metal ions and organic ligands but rather than forming frameworks, MOPs are discrete polyhedra. MOFs have been widely studied as potential catalysts but MOPs are practically untried.  Reasons for this include their relative lack of stability and tendency to aggregate.   This paper uses the MOP formed from copper(II) and a ligand from 9H-carbazole-3,6-dicarboxylic acid.  There are also coordinated dimethylformamide and water molecules in the structure.

The catalyst is activated by removing the coordinated solvent molecules by heating.  Ferulic acid and hydrogen peroxide are then reacted in the presence of the MOP.  Best results are obtained when the reaction mixture is sonicated (to reduce possible aggregation of MOP molecules).  A mechanism is proposed starting with coordination of peroxide to the active Cu(II) coordination site (schematically shown above).

The recovered catalyst exhibits a loss of crystallinity and after 5 cycles activity shows a decline.  However, the paper demonstrates the potential for the catalytic use of MOPs for the simple production of vanillin and other compounds.

For more details, read the full paper here:

Synthesis of vanillin via a catalytically active Cu(II)-metal organic polyhedron

Elí Sánchez-González, Alfredo López-Olvera, Olivia Monroy, Julia Aguilar-Pliego, J. Gabriel Flores, Alejandro Islas-Jácome, Mónica A. Rincón-Guevara, Eduardo González-Zamora, Braulio Rodríguez-Molina and Ilich A. Ibarra  
CrystEngComm, 2017, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6CE02621D, Communication
___________________________________________________________________________________

Gwenda KydGwenda Kyd has a PhD in metallocarborane chemistry from the University of Edinburgh. Other research work includes the spectroscopic study of the structure of glasses and organometallic electron-transfer reactions and the preparation of new inorganic phosphors. She published a book, ‘Molecules, Medicines and Mischief’, in 2014, on some of the chemicals found in plants and is currently working on a follow-up.

 

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Outstanding Reviewers for CrystEngComm 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 CrystEngComm 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 Dino Aquilano, University of Torino
Dr Timur Atabaev, Seoul National University
Dr Ian Dance, Unversity of New South Wales
Dr Laszlo Fabian, University of East Anglia
Professor Huiging Fan, Northwestern Polytechnical University
Dr Goutam Kole, SRM University
Dr Mahesh Kumar, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur
Dr Zheng Ren, University of Connecticut
Dr Dongpeng Yan, Beijing Normal University
Dr Jiatao Zhang, Beijing Institute of Technology

We would also like to thank the CrystEngComm board and the Inorganic 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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