New Solution to Ancient Problem

Written by Victoria Parkes, Guest web writer based at the University of Nottingham

Take two bodies of water whose initial characteristics are identical, except for their temperature. Measure how long it takes these two bodies of water to cool to the same specified lower temperature. Explain why the initially hotter water apparently cools faster.

Alright, so it’s a bit more complicated than that, with precise experimental parameters that must be adhered to, but the essence of the problem remains the same. There appears to be a difference in the relative rates at which different bodies of water cool depending on their starting temperatures. The Mpemba effect (as it is often known) may sound simple, but it is a phenomenon that is often disputed, deceptively difficult to analyse, has many proffered explanations and a historical pedigree going back to Aristotle. A few years ago the RSC even held a competition to try to settle the matter and reach a consensus of opinion. Yet despite the declaration of a winner, apparently not everybody agreed that the question was quite settled once and for all.

Now, Zhang et al. are throwing their hat into the ring with a new answer. They say that they’ve approached the problem from an unusual angle, and present new quantitative evidence to support their argument. So have they finally cracked it, or is this just the latest in a long line of possible explanations that extends back over thousands of years? With a topic as divisive as this, I’m not placing any bets just yet.

Read the original manuscript online now!

Hydrogen-bond memory and water-skin supersolidity resolving the Mpemba paradox

Xi Zhang, Yongli Huang, Zengsheng Ma, Yichun Zhou, Ji Zhou, Weitao Zheng, Qing Jiang and Chang Q. Sun

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CP03669G

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Charge generation mechanism in organic solar cells – PCCP themed issue online now

PCCP is delighted to present its latest themed collection which includes an excellent selection of interesting and timely articles on charge generation mechanism in organic solar cells. The issue was guest-edited by Maria Antonietta Loi and Alessandro Troisi and you can read their editorial to find out more.

The outside front cover features a Perspective article entitled Charge separation energies at organic heterojunctions: on the role of structural and electrostatic disorder from Frédéric Castet, David Beljonne et al.

There are plenty of other great contributions in this themed collection, including:

Charge generation in polymer–fullerene bulk-heterojunction solar cells
Feng Gao and Olle Inganäs
Perspective, DOI: 10.1039/C4CP01814A

Ultrafast charge separation and nongeminate electron–hole recombination in organic photovoltaics
Samuel L. Smith and Alex W. Chin
Communication, DOI: 10.1039/C4CP01791A

Make sure to check out the full contents of the themed issue online now.

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ELECTROCHEM 2014 Poster Prize

Congratulations to Jing Wang who was recently awarded a PCCP poster prize at the ‘Electrochem2014′ conference which took place at Loughborough Univeristy, UK from 7th–9th September. Jing Wang’s poster was entitled ‘Electrodeposition and Characterisation of Novel Ni-NbOx Composite Coatings as a Diffusion Barrier for High Temperature Electronics Packaging’ and he was awarded the prize by Professor Rob Hillman, PCCP Advisory Board member.

The Electrochemconference series has emerged as an established annual UK & Ireland event, where a cross-disciplinary range of electrochemistry, fundamental and applied, is on show with a particular view on broadening exchange of knowledge, providing information about the latest research developments, linking academia to industry and suppliers, and engaging with the next generation of electrochemists and electrochemical entrepreneurs.

PCCP will be awarding more Poster Prizes next year, so please do let us know of any suitable conferences which PCCP could sponsor in 2015.

Electrochem 2014 - Poster prize winner

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Poster prizes at UKTC2014

PCCP was delighted to award poster prizes at the National Training School in Theoretical Chemistry which recently took place at Oxford University, UK. The School is for graduate students from across the UK and aims to provide a broad-based introduction to key concepts and techniques that underpin research in theoretical and computational chemistry.

The posters were judged by Prof. Knowles, University of Cardiff and Prof. Doye, University of Oxford and each student received a PCCP prize certificate, as well as a financial award from the journal. The winners were:

  • Jack Davis, from Birmingham University, with a poster entitled Characterisation of Chemical Ordering in Palladium-Iridium Nanoalloys
  • Robert Pennifold, from Bristol, whose poster was entitled Understanding Reaction Mechanisms in Metal Catalysts using Ab Initio Methods
  • Julien Sindt, from Edinburgh University, with his poster Effective many-body interactions in polar fluids and their effects on structure and phase behaviour

UKTC poster prize winners

PCCP will be awarding more Poster Prizes next year, so please do let us know of any suitable conferences which PCCP could sponsor in 2015.

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Recent HOT PCCP articles

Check out the following HOT articles, these have all been made free to access for a limited time:

Vibrational dynamics and solvatochromism of the label SCN in various solvents and hemoglobin by time dependent IR and 2D-IR spectroscopyVibrational dynamics and solvatochromism of the label SCN in various solvents and hemoglobin by time dependent IR and 2D-IR spectroscopy
Luuk J. G. W. van Wilderen, Daniela Kern-Michler, Henrike M. Müller-Werkmeister and Jens Bredenbeck
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014,16, 19643-19653
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP01498G

Excited-state wavepacket and potential reconstruction by coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering
David Avisar and David J. Tannor
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP03233K

Creating electrochemical gradients by light: from bio-inspired concepts to photoelectric conversion
Xiaojiang Xie and Eric Bakker
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02566K

Potential energy surfaces and quasiclassical trajectory study of the O + H2+ → OH+ + H, OH + H+ proton and hydrogen atom transfer reactions and isotopic variants (D2+, HD+)
Miguel Paniagua, Rodrigo Martínez, Pablo Gamallo and Miguel González
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02631D

Hydrogen bonding, halogen bonding and lithium bonding: an atoms in molecules and natural bond orbital perspective towards conservation of total bond order, inter- and intra-molecular bonding
Abhishek Shahi and Elangannan Arunan
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02585G

Photocatalytic generation of solar fuels from the reduction of H2O and CO2: a look at the patent literaturePhotocatalytic generation of solar fuels from the reduction of H2O and CO2: a look at the patent literature
Stefano Protti, Angelo Albini and Nick Serpone
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02828G

Water-mediated interactions between trimethylamine-N-oxide and urea
Johannes Hunger, Niklas Ottosson, Kamila Mazur, Mischa Bonn and Huib J. Bakker
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02709D

On the directionality and non-linearity of halogen and hydrogen bonds
J. Grant Hill and Anthony C. Legon
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP03376K

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Recent HOT PCCP articles

Check out the following HOT articles, these have all been made free to access for a limited time:

Butterfly effects: novel functional materials inspired from the wings scalesButterfly effects: novel functional materials inspired from the wings scales
Wang Zhang, Jiajun Gu, Qinglei Liu, Huilan Su, Tongxiang Fan and Di Zhang
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP01513D

Fast single-molecule FRET spectroscopy: theory and experiment
Hoi Sung Chung and Irina V. Gopich
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02489C

A unified study for water adsorption on metals: meaningful models from structural motifs
Guillem Revilla-López and Núria López
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02508C

Interaction of electrons with cisplatin and the subsequent effect on DNA damage: a density functional theory study
Hsing-Yin Chen, Hui-Fen Chen, Chai-Lin Kao, Po-Yu Yang and Sodio C. N. Hsu
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02306DCompeting atmospheric reactions of CH2OO with SO2 and water vapour

Competing atmospheric reactions of CH2OO with SO2 and water vapour
Torsten Berndt, Jens Voigtländer, Frank Stratmann, Heikki Junninen, Roy L. Mauldin III, Mikko Sipilä, Markku Kulmala and Hartmut Herrmann
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02345E

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Perception, Inspiration, Application: The Effects of Butterflies’ Wings

Written by Victoria Parkes, Guest web writer based at the University of Nottingham

I like picking out Perspective articles to focus on in these blog posts. They give me a chance to read about a field that I know less about, phrased in language that is accessible to those of us who aren’t specialists in that particular area. This then allows me to easily pick out the major themes and hopefully inspire others to follow me in reading a welcoming overview of a different research field. However, even in the spirit of broadening my horizons I wasn’t expecting butterfly wings in PCCP! It stuck out so obviously that I immediately knew I had found the next article I wanted to feature.

How many physical chemists or chemical physicists have extensive lepidopteral knowledge? I’m willing to bet it’s only a handful. In this perspective article, Zhang and co-authors tell the story of how we’re making use of the structural secrets of butterfly wings that have been revealed by previous research.

The study of the structure of butterfly wings is nothing new, its been going on for centuries. Yet it’s only recently that we’ve been able to apply that knowledge and develop new concepts and technologies as structural characterisation has reached the nanoscale. You might be surprised by the diversity of the research areas and applications that are mentioned, I certainly was!

Read the full article online here:

W. Zhang et al., Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4CP01513D

Graphical abstract

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PCCP Impact Factor rises to 4.19

We are delighted to announce that PCCP’s Impact Factor* has increased to 4.19.pccp cover

PCCP has a large and truly international readership, which spans many communities in the broad fields of physical chemistry, chemical physics and biophysical chemistry.

With fast publication times and great author service, PCCP remains the ideal home for high-quality research.

We thank all of our authors, referees and Board members for their continued support of the journal.

We invite you to submit your next high-quality paper to PCCP.

Read more about the 2013 Impact Factors from across RSC Publishing on the RSC Publishing Blog.

*The Impact Factor provides an indication of the average number of citations per paper. Produced annually, Impact Factors are calculated by dividing the number of citations in a year by the number of citeable articles published in the preceding two years. Data based on 2013 Journal Citation Reports®, (Thomson Reuters, 2014).

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Recent HOT PCCP articles

Check out the following HOT articles, these have all been made free to access for a limited time:

The optical phonon spectrum of CdSe colloidal quantum dotsThe optical phonon spectrum of CdSe colloidal quantum dots
Mark J. Fernée, Chiara Sinito, Paul Mulvaney, Philippe Tamarat and Brahim Lounis
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014,16, 16957-16961
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02022G

The effect of a detonation nanodiamond coating on the thermal decomposition properties of RDX explosives
Yi Tong, Rui Liu and Tonglai Zhang
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02237H

Small things make a big difference: binder effects on the performance of Li and Na batteries
Shu-Lei Chou, Yuede Pan, Jia-Zhao Wang, Hua-Kun Liu and Shi-Xue Dou
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02475C

Pursuit of quantum monodromy in the far-infrared and mid-infrared spectra of NCNCS using synchrotron radiation
Manfred Winnewisser, Brenda P. Winnewisser, Frank C. De Lucia, Dennis W. Tokaryk, Stephen C. Ross and Brant E. Billinghurst
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP01443J

Investigation of continuous changes in the electric-field-induced electronic state in Bi1−xCaxFeO3−δInvestigation of continuous changes in the electric-field-induced electronic state in Bi1−xCaxFeO3−δ
Atsushi Ikeda-Ohno, Ji Soo Lim, Takuo Ohkochi, Chan-Ho Yang and Jan Seidel
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02170C

Development of high-performance printed organic field-effect transistors and integrated circuits
Yong Xu, Chuan Liu, Dongyoon Khim and Yong-Young Noh
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02413C

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Diamonds are an explosive’s best friend – PCCP aritcle in Chemistry World

Rachel Wood writes about a PCCP article in Chemistry World

Scientists from China have coated the high energy explosive RDX (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) with nanodiamonds in an attempt to make safer explosives.

The group, led by Yi Tong, from the Beijing Institute of Technology, prepared detonation nanodiamonds by detonating a mixture of TNT and RDX in a closed metallic chamber. Detonation nanodiamonds are known to have excellent Diamonds are an explosive’s best friend - © Shutterstockmechanical properties, including high thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity, whilst being chemically reactive but also environmentally benign. RDX was coated with different proportions of nanodiamonds to try to stabilise the explosive. This is important as you don’t want explosives to detonate if they are accidently heated when in storage.

By studying the thermodynamics of the resulting composites, the group found that nanodiamond coatings of between 1/7 and 1/5 of the mass of the RDX led to composites that were more stable than RDX alone, but that were more reactive than composites with thinner coatings. They also found that increasing the nanodiamond ratio to more than 1/3 of the mass of the RDX hindered the decomposition of the material.

Interested to know more?

Read the full article by Rachel Wood in Chemistry World here…

Read the article in PCCP:

The effect of a detonation nanodiamond coating on the thermal decomposition properties of RDX explosives
Yi Tong, Rui Liu and Tonglai Zhang
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4CP02237H

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