Author Archive

RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Junmin Li

We are very pleased to introduce Junmin Li, corresponding author of the paper ‘Network pharmacology-based study of the mechanisms of action of anti-diabetic triterpenoids from Cyclocarya paliurus‘. Her article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our October HOT articles. Junmin told us more about the work that went into this article and what she hopes to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the author and her article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Junmin Li was born in Linhai, Zhejiang Province, China in December, 1973. She mainly specialized in the study of evolutionary ecology, molecular ecology and the development of medicinal and edible plant resources. She is the director of Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation, the person in charge of Plant Evolutionary Ecology Innovation Team of High Level in Provincial Colleges and Universities. She also holds an additional post as Vice Director of Biological Invasions Ecology in Ecological Society of China, a committee member of the Population Ecology in Ecological Society of China, Vice President of Botanical Society of Zhejiang Province.

 

 

 

 

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
In this study, we applied the network pharmacological approach to investigate the main target proteins of Cyclocarya paliurus triterpenoids with anti-diabetes activity by constructing a target interaction network, and used molecular docking methods to validate the key findings.

At present, diabetes is treated with drugs, such as sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors and oralantidiabetic agents but many drugs have side effects. Therefore, it is urgent to find new, safe and effective early intervention medicinal compounds for diabetes. Cyclocarya paliurus, a recently confirmed new food resource, shows significant hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects in type II diabetes. By using network pharmacology, we can explore the mechanisms of action of Cyclocarya paliurus triterpenoids at the molecular level.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
In our study, 7 triterpenoids, 15 target proteins, and 15 signaling pathways were found to play important roles in the therapeutic effects of Cyclocarya paliurus against diabetes. These results could provide the potential target compounds for researchers and predict the possible mechanisms.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
Diabetes is a complex illness requiring long-term therapy. Cyclocarya paliurus, a recently confirmed new food resource, shows significant hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects in type II diabetes. Triterpenoid saponins are considered as the effective medicinal components of Cyclocarya paliurus and are useful for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. However, little is known regarding their specific mechanism of actions. By using network pharmacological approach, we can explore the mechanisms of action of anti-diabetic triterpenoids from Cyclocarya paliurus.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
Our study focused on the correlation between Cyclocary paliurus triterpenoids and anti-diabetes activity. The key design is the network pharmacology analysis of the main target proteins of Cyclocarya paliurus triterpenoids and biological process and pathway enrichment analysis of the target proteins of the active ingredients of Cyclocarya paliurus.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The biggest challenge is to collect isolated triterpenoids from Cyclocarya paliurus in the literature and analyze the mechanism of action of core targets in the treatment of diabetes. Both of these tasks require a lot of time and effort to read a large amount of literature. And we also added the triterpenoids isolated in our lab.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
Our results indicate that seven compounds show potential for the treatment of diabetes. These triterpene compounds were predicted to interact with PTGS2, VEGFA, CASP3, and other enzymes. These results provide valuable insights into the synergistic mechanism of action of natural medicines.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
The next work is doing in vivo or in vitro experiments to verify the effects of seven teriterpene compounds on target proteins and there effect of anti-diabetes. And we also want to dissect the biosynthetic pathway of the seven teriterpene compounds.

 

Network pharmacology-based study of the mechanisms of action of anti-diabetic triterpenoids from Cyclocarya paliurus
Zixin Lin, Yingpeng Tong, Na Li, Ziping Zhu and Junmin Li
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 37168-37181
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA06846B, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances Science Communications: Exposing the hidden world of porous media with NMR relaxation

Functional porous materials underpin a vast range of critical chemical processes, with prominent examples including water purification, building material formulation, fuel storage, pollution abatement, and the energy-efficient production of useful materials from both natural and renewable resources. The underlying chemical and physical processes associated with such applications are a result of the interactions of these porous structures with fluids (gases or liquids), typically via their encapsulation, surface-adhesion, and/or chemical reaction. The efficacy of the materials employed within such applications (such as porous metal oxides, zeolites and metal-organic frameworks) is a direct consequence of their inherently large surface-to-volume ratios, which ensure that interfacial interactions dominate the behaviour of imbibed chemicals.

Despite the ubiquity and importance of porous media across the spectrum of chemical sciences, our understanding of many of the basic properties of fluids confined within these materials remains very limited. Indeed, characterising interfacial phenomena occurring at the highly inaccessible solid surfaces contained within porous structures is a significant analytical challenge, requiring state-of-the-art techniques with the ability to discriminate between molecules interacting with the interface of interest and the surrounding solid and fluid components. NMR relaxation methods have recently emerged as potential route to such information. Unlike NMR spectroscopy, which provides structure-dependent NMR frequency data, relaxation methods depend on the time-domain behaviour of the acquired NMR signal. This relaxation data is sensitive to molecular dynamics, and for fluids confined within porous structures has the potential to provide insight into a plethora of phenomena, including pore size distributions and surface chemistry. The key novelty of this approach lies in that fact that it is inherently non-invasive, and so has the potential to be performed under operando conditions.

Relaxation-based approaches are now regularly applied to characterise heterogeneous catalysts; for instance, we recently compared relaxation data acquired from a range of primary alcohols within a silica-based catalyst support material with DFT-based adsorption energy calculations, revealing the sensitivity of NMR relaxation phenomena to adsorption interactions occurring at the solid-liquid interface.[1] Similar approaches have been shown as a potential route for the assessment of metal nanoparticle deposition.[2,3] These measurements made use of the paramagnetic nature of the precursor materials used in nanoparticle deposition methods, the presence of which significantly alters the observed NMR relaxation characteristics of probe fluids within the pore network, highlighting the versatility of NMR relaxation-based analyses for porous media characterisation.

1) N. Robinson, C. Robertson, L. F. Gladden, S. J. Jenkins and C. D’Agostino, Direct correlation between adsorption energetics and nuclear spin relaxation in a liquid-saturated catalyst material, ChemPhysChem, 2018, 19, 2472–2479.
2) C. D’Agostino, P. Bräuer, P. Charoen-Rajapark, M. D. Crouch and L. F. Gladden, Effect of paramagnetic species on T1, T2 and T1/T2 NMR relaxation times of liquids in porous CuSO4/Al2O3, RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 36163–36167.
3) C. D’Agostino and P. Bräuer, Exploiting enhanced paramagnetic NMR relaxation for monitoring catalyst preparation using T1 – T2 NMR correlation maps, React. Chem. Eng., 2019, 4, 268–272.

 

About the Web Writer:

Dr Neil Robinson is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Fluid Science and Resources Research Group at the University of Western Australia. He previously undertook his MChem degree at Cardiff University, and obtained a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge. His research focuses on the application of novel magnetic resonance methods for the study of gas and liquid dynamics within porous media of importance to the energy-environment nexus.

 

 

 

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Karen Edler

We are very pleased to introduce Karen Edler and Saffron Bryant, corresponding authors of the paper ‘Deep eutectic solvent in water pickering emulsions stabilised by cellulose nanofibrils‘. Their article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our October HOT articles. Karen and Saffron told us more about the work that went into this article and what they hope to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the authors and their article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Prof Karen Edler is Professor of Soft Matter at the University of Bath and has a long standing interest in understanding how self-assembly and molecular scale interactions in solutions affect the properties of emulsions, gels, nano/microparticles and mesoporous materials.

Dr Saffron Bryant is currently a research fellow at RMIT University with a keen interest in using ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents for practical-based applications.

Professor Karen Edler (left) and Dr Saffron Bryant (right)

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
Deep eutectic solvents (DES) are relatively novel liquids which are made up of (normally) two molecules that are usually solid, but when they interact together become liquids, which can have tuneable properties depending on the two molecules you choose. This means they can be selected to dissolve a wide range of species (drugs, dyes, nutrients, metal species, polymers etc) without water, or toxic organic solvents and are currently finding applications in many fields from drug delivery to functional materials synthesis. Some researchers suggest DES could even form naturally inside plant cells to help them avoid freezing or drying out. Making use of them in Pickering emulsions is interesting as a potential component in cosmetics, therapeutics or foods, where they could help deliver poorly water soluble species and also, for instance, enhance penetration through the skin for topical anaesthetics. We have been working on functionalised cellulose nanofibrils in emulsions and gels as part of the consortium Gelenz, funded by the EPSRC alongside our partners in the Universities of Bristol, Manchester and UEA and colleagues in industry.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
Pickering emulsions are interesting as they can be highly stable and do not require use of surfactants which can be irritants or toxic to aquatic life. Demonstrating the formation of Pickering emulsions using sustainable cellulose particles as a stabiliser for an emulsion, where the “oil” components are also bio-derived molecules, shows the potential of these systems in more sustainable, less environmentally harmful formulations which could be replacements for products people use in large quantities every day such as creams and lotions. This would have obvious benefits in reducing harm to our water systems and the environment.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
We are interested in finding more sustainable replacements for personal care formulations, and in making them more useful for a wider range of applications, so we wanted to scope the potential for using DES in cellulose nanofibril stabilised emulsions.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The key parameters here are the aspect ratio of the cellulose particles, and their surface functionalisation, as well as choice of a suitable DES for encapsulation.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The most challenging aspect of this work was identifying a suitable deep eutectic solvent that didn’t interact with the cellulose and disrupt the emulsion.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
We are most excited about the opportunity for extensive variations on this work using sustainably sourced components. For example, by using different hydrophobic deep eutectic solvents for different properties, or altering the properties of the cellulose stabiliser to give more functionality to the emulsion. The potential applications of these systems are endless.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
We are continuing to investigate environmentally friendly rheology modifiers and emulsifiers in a range of systems, and we are working to understand self-assembly and colloidal organisation in these novel deep eutectic solvents, to be able to predict how to choose components of these interesting liquids to achieve particular tasks eg dissolve a particular molecule, or mix (or not mix) in a complex solution with other species.

 

Deep eutectic solvent in water pickering emulsions stabilised by cellulose nanofibrils
Saffron J. Bryant, Marcelo A. da Silva, Kazi M. Zakir Hossain, Vincenzo Calabrese, Janet L. Scott and Karen J. Edler
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 37023-37027
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07575B, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Jamie Antonio Portilla Salinas

We are very pleased to introduce Jamie Antonio Portilla Salinas, corresponding author of the paper ‘Pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidines-based fluorophores: a comprehensive theoretical-experimental study‘. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our October HOT articles. Jamie told us more about the work that went into this article and what he hopes to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the author and his article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Jaime Portilla studied for a degree and PhD at The Universidad del Valle located in Cali-Colombia, his birthplace. He carried out a PhD supervised by Jairo Quiroga on synthesis of 5-aminopyrazoles and their reaction with 1,3-bis-electrophilic compounds under eco-compatible strategies. After the award of his PhD in November 2007, he moved to Bogotá (January 2008) and was appointed as a lecturer in organic chemistry at The Universidad de los Andes. He was promoted to Associate Lecturer in 2011 and since August 2018 Jaime Portilla is ‘Associate Professor III’.

The Prof. Jaime Portilla group’s research (Bioorganic Compounds Research Group) focuses on eco-compatible organic synthesis strategies, with a particular interest in aza-heterocyclic compounds synthesis of biological and photophysical potential. (Source: ORCID.)

 

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
Here we developed a new family of fluorescent molecules with interesting features such as easy to synthesize (and easily functionalizable) with excellent green chemistry performance, starting from low-cost raw materials and with outstanding photophysical properties in both solution and solid-state.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
These results could be the beginning of the inclusion of sustainable parameters in the design of fluorescent probes for materials, chemosensors and/or biological applications.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
Recently, fluorescent compounds with biological activity have received attention due to the possibility of monitoring those compounds in biological media such as cells and biofluids. Our research group is working on designing new pharmacophores for cancer treatment based on pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidines and we do believe that the incorporation of remarkable photophysical properties will be important for the study of key parameters such as the distribution of the biologically active compound inside the body and even at subcellular levels.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
From the optical properties for pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidines described in our previous works, we decided to incorporate green chemistry principles due to needing sustainable research according to the United Nations Agenda 2030. Thus, these fluorophores well-known for their synthetic versatility and important biological properties were designed and obtained via a eco-friendly approach. In addition, the effect of a modulable donor groups at position 7 on the heterocyclic core was corroborated by computational calculations, which would contribute towards an intelligent design of ‘highly functional fluorophores’.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The work most challenging was to find a good correlation of the experimental results with the theoretical calculations, since the optical phenomena are strongly governed by the microenvironment of the analyzed molecule.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
Here we identify compounds with excellent optical properties (QYSS up to 63%) emitting in the blue region, a color highly interesting in OLED’s research field. These results are remarkable and further research is ongoing in this direction.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
The results show us the possibility to functionalized the ring at position 4 (nitrogen atom) to generated pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine salts. At this moment we had found outstanding results in the field of anion detection using this approach. Once position 7 showed excellent results, we would like to explore the other positions on the core such as 2, 3 and 5. Also, the introduction of highly polar groups will improve the water solubility and exciting applications are expected from it. Some of these probes and related compounds will be tested in antitumor assays. And of course, to continue the study of some derivatives published here specifically in their device performance construction (OLED).

 

Pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidines-based fluorophores: a comprehensive theoretical-experimental study
Alexis Tigreros, Sandra-L. Aranzazu, Nestor-F. Bravo, Jhon Zapata-Rivera and Jaime Portilla
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 39542-39552
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07716J, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Takuya Kitaoka

We are very pleased to introduce Dr Takuya Kitaoka, corresponding author of the paper ‘Nanocellulose enriches enantiomers in asymmetric aldol reactions‘. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our October HOT articles. Takuya told us more about the work that went into this article and what he hopes to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the author and his article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Dr Takuya Kitaoka is a professor at Kyushu University, Japan, who is in charge of Nanomaterials Chemistry and Sustainable Bioresources Science. He graduated from the University of Tokyo, Japan in 1993, and received his M.Sc. (Forest Products Science) in 1995 and his Ph.D. (Agricultural Science) in 2000, both from the University of Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Kitaoka is an expert in cellulose & paper chemistry. He has expanded his research into bioadaptive materials and interfacial organocatalysis inspired by inherent nanoarchitectures of nanocellulose. He was awarded “The Young Scientists’ Prize” from the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan in 2007, “JSPS PRIZE” from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in 2011, “The Cellulose Society of Japan Award” from the Cellulose Society of Japan in 2013, and “Fiber Science and Technology Award” from the Society of Fiber Science and Technology, Japan in 2014.

 

 

 

 

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
Wood-derived nanofibers play a crucial role in regulating asymmetric catalysis to produce chiral products, which will expand the practical possibility of natural woody materials in state-of-the-art chemistry.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
Inexpensive woody nanomaterials might gain equal performance to highly active rare metal catalysts.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
I believe that nano-organized natural polysaccharides have great potential for their nanostructure-triggered novel functions.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The structural regularity of chiral sources on the surface of nanocellulose is the key to unlock the secret of nanocellulose in advanced materials applications.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The combination of woody nanocellulose and proline, one of many natural amino acids, was a completely new challenge in asymmetric catalysis.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
Up until now, catalysts determine the product structures, but now wood does.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
I will expand the research and development opportunities of this novel metal-free organocatalytic system into other natural nano-polysaccharides, such as chitin and chitosan nanofibers, which will be applicable for a variety of valuable reactions in chemical industries.

 

Nanocellulose enriches enantiomers in asymmetric aldol reactions
Naliharifetra Jessica Ranaivoarimanana, Xin Habaki, Takuya Uto, Kyohei Kanomata, Toshifumi Yui and Takuya Kitaoka
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 37064-37071
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07412H, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Zoran Marković

We are very pleased to introduce Professor Zoran Marković (University of Kragujevac), corresponding author of the paper ‘Several coumarin derivatives and their Pd(ii) complexes as potential inhibitors of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, an in silico approach‘. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our September HOT articles. Zoran told us more about the work that went into this article and what he hopes to achieve in the future.

His article is also part of the coronavirus collection – all Royal Society of Chemistry articles on coronavirus research can be found here and are freely available until 1st January 2021. You can find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
In these challenging times of COVID-19 pandemics, it is of utmost interest to understand better the effects of various drugs on the virus and continue investigating new drugs. In our contribution, three molecules synthesized in our laboratory along with their Pd(II) complexes were theoretically analyzed as potential therapeutics and their effect compared to two already approved drugs, cinanserin, and chloroquine. This paper is of current interest because it allows scientists to obtain valuable data on structural parameters of molecules that could bind to the proteins of the virus and inhibit their action.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
The theoretical predictions of the action of new therapeutics are an important step in any drug discovery as they save a significant amount of time and money. The impact of our research lies in the fact that coumarin derivatives, as naturally occurring compounds, and their palladium complexes were investigated for the first time as possible therapeutics and it was shown that they bind more tightly to the important protein of the virus than approved drugs. Special emphasis is put on the structural parameters governing stability which could lead to the prediction of structural features of new reactive drugs.

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
The motivation for the research came from our current results on the synthesis of various coumarin derivatives and their transition metal complexes. The structures of obtained derivatives show similarities to those of approved drugs: the presence of chlorine atom, delocalized structure, two aromatic rings, etc. Therefore, we decided to perform a theoretical study using the novel docking and dynamics techniques on the recently solved structure of the SARS-CoV-2 Mpro protein and compare results to the approved drugs.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
The key considerations were the structural similarities between drugs and molecules obtained in our lab. After the results were obtained the special emphasis was put on the determination of intermolecular interactions that responsible for the binding of the molecules to the active position of the protein.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The most challenging part was the analysis of the molecular interactions responsible for the difference in reactivity of approved drugs and our coumarin derivatives, as this required special attention to details and all of the amino acids of the active pocket.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
We are very excited that the molecules obtained in our laboratory show higher reactivity towards SARS-CoV-2 proteins, especially their metal complexes with Pd(II) which proved to be less toxic than other transition metals.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
The next step includes the development of the new synthetic routes for the coumarin derivatives that possess other structural moieties similar to the approved drugs and transition metal complexes with other non-toxic metals. This would be beneficial as structure-activity analysis would allow the extraction of new data for the structural features important for reactivity. Also, if the situation allows, the experimental research will commence to verify the results of theoretical studies.

 

Several coumarin derivatives and their Pd(ii) complexes as potential inhibitors of the main protease of SARS-CoV-2, an in silico approach
Dejan A. Milenković, Dušan S. Dimić, Edina H. Avdović and Zoran S. Marković
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 35099-35108
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07062A, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances HOT articles – a feature interview with Walter Rosas Arbelaez

We are very pleased to introduce Walter Rosas Arbelaez, first author of the paper ‘Hierarchical micro-/mesoporous zeolite microspheres prepared by colloidal assembly of zeolite nanoparticles‘. His article has been very well received and handpicked by our reviewers and handling editors as one of our October HOT articles. Walter told us more about the work that went into this article and what he hopes to achieve in the future. You can find out more about the author and his article below and find more HOT articles in our online collection.

Meet the authors

Walter Rosas Arbelaez (1987) received his BSc degrees (2011) in Chemistry and Chemical Enginering from Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia. He completed his MSc degrees in Chemical Engineering (2013) at Universidad de Los Andes and in Polymer Science (2016 ) at Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. In 2016, he joined Prof. Palmqvist´s research group at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden to continue his PhD studies in Materials Science focusing on synthesis and characterization of zeolitic materials and mesoporous carbons and the evaluation in different applications. He will be defending his PhD thesis in December 2020.

Walter Rosas Arbelaez and Professor Anders Palmqvist (Chalmers University of Technology)

Could you briefly explain the focus of your article to the non-specialist (in one or two sentences only) and why it is of current interest?
The focus of the article was to develop a zeolite material with two different porosities (micro and meso) using silicalite-1 nanoparticles (ca. 100 nm) and aggregate them by a controlled evaporation process into well-defined micron-sized spheres. In addition, the process does not use any template to form mesopores but only by the interspace generated between the particles after their aggregation. We find this topic of high interest, since many similar materials have been prepared using mesopore templates and/or need long preparation times and high temperature, parameters that have a big impact in the production economics at large scale.

How big an impact could your results potentially have?
As mentioned above, the material prepared in this article does not need a mesoporogen (mesopore template) to generate the mesopores which has a big impact at the production cost. The properties of the materials can be tailored by varying certain synthesis and preparation conditions, offering the possibility to tailor materials based on the desired application. All of these can be prepared by having a method that has few hours of preparation at mild temperatures. Certainly, this will have an impact at the mass-production level .

Could you explain the motivation behind this study?
There are several mesoporous zeolites procedures out there with and without template. However, many of them do not show well interconnectivity of the porosities and have low surface areas, pore volumes and the product does not have a defined morphology and the costs for their production are considerably high.

In your opinion, what are the key design considerations for your study?
First of all, a stable water-in-oil emulsion is crucial, since it is in the water droplets where the assembly of the particles takes place. Further, the nanoparticle size and shape are critical parameters to prepare the material, since nanopartilces with well-defined morphologies are more sutibale for a controlled aggregation. The evaporation conditions such temperature and vacuum also tailor the final properties of the material. Some of this information was learned from a previous work in mesoporous silica microparticles done by our co-authors Andreas Fijneman and Dr Heiner Friedrich.

Which part of the work towards this paper proved to be most challenging?
The preparation of the colloidal zeolite sol was challenging, not from the synthesis perspective but from the post-treatment, since the pH of the colloidal sol seems to have an impact on the formation of the microspheres.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?
We feel that our work has shown a new method that cannot be classified among the usual categories to prepare hierarchical zeolites and that through our method we can prepare mesoporous zeolite with well-defined morphology and good pore interconnectivity. Additionly it has one the highest pore volumes and surface areas reported for mesoporous zeolites made of similar zeolite structures. The method also enables the use of different zeolite particles both in size and nature and this can potentially generate multifunctional materials for applications in catalysis and separation. Last but not least, we see that our method is energy and cost efficient and can be implemented at the industrial level.

What is the next step? What work is planned?
The next step is to prepare mesoporous zeolites from different colloidal zeolites such as beta, TS-1 or ZSM-5 and measure their catalytic activity towards different reactive systems. Unfortunately, I will not take part on this, as in December, I will be defending my PhD thesis and in January I will join new projects, but hopefully some other members of my group will follow up.

 

Hierarchical micro-/mesoporous zeolite microspheres prepared by colloidal assembly of zeolite nanoparticles
Walter Rosas-Arbelaez, Andreas J. Fijneman, Heiner Friedrich and Anders E. C. Palmqvist
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 36459-36466
DOI: 10.1039/D0RA07394F, Paper

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Editors’ Collection: Phthalocyanines by Associate Editor Fabienne Dumoulin

We are delighted to share with you our latest collection of recently published articles focusing on Phthalocyanines, handpicked by Associate Editor Fabienne Dumoulin.

These brightly coloured molecules belong to the porphyrinoids family, as do haemoglobin and chlorophyll. Their optical, magnetic, electronic (amongst others!) properties can be tailored by playing with the substitution and/or metalation pattern, with quasi-infinite combinations, giving the opportunity to perform enthralling structure-properties or structure-activities relationship analyses.

With an appropriate design, these fascinating compounds can act as photosensitisers for photodynamic therapy, take place in sensor devices, harvest light, catalyse, electro-catalyse or photo-catalyse either oxidation or reduction reactions. Their inclusion in materials such as MOFs and COFs and more generally in nanoscience enlarge again the possibilities to produce high-performance compounds and materials, should it be for pure fundamental research or more applied technologies.

As the world’s largest gold open access chemistry journal, all publications in RSC Advances are free to access. We hope you enjoy reading these articles.

We invite you to submit your research to this collection and give your work the global visibility it deserves.

 

Submit your research now

Featured articles:

Impact of photosensitizer orientation on the distance dependent photocatalytic activity in zinc phthalocyanine–nanoporous gold hybrid systems
David Steinebrunner, Günter Schnurpfeil, Mathis Kohröde, Alexander Epp, Khaetthariya Klangnog, Jorge Adrian Tapia Burgos, Andre Wichmann, Dieter Wöhrle and Arne Wittstock
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 23203-23211. DOI: 10.1039/D0RA03891A

Elucidating π–π interaction-induced extension effect in sandwich phthalocyaninato compounds
Xin Chen, Dongdong Qi, Chao Liu, Hailong Wang, Zheng Xie, Tse-Wei Chen, Shen-Ming Chen, Tien-Wen Tseng and Jianzhuang Jiang
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 317-322. DOI: 10.1039/C9RA07847A

Metal phthalocyanine organic thin-film transistors: changes in electrical performance and stability in response to temperature and environment
Nicholas T. Boileau, Rosemary Cranston, Brendan Mirka, Owen A. Melville and Benoît H. Lessard
RSC Adv., 2019,9, 21478-21485. DOI: 10.1039/C9RA03648B

 

Read the full collection here

Meet the Editor

Associate Professor Dr. Fabienne Dumoulin first started university studying biology, graduated in biochemistry and then completed her PhD in organic chemistry in Lyon, France in 2002. After post doctoral studies in Pisa, Italy, she was a faculty member at Chemistry Department of Gebze Technical University from 2005 to 2019. She is now associate professor at Acıbadem Mehmet Ali Aydinler University in Istanbul,Turkey.

Her research focuses on the chemistry, properties and applications of phthalocyanines, mainly for photodynamic therapy. She has authored so far 82 research articles, three book chapters, and supervised many Master and PhD students. Fabienne has also been the recipient of several Young Scientist Awards: TUBA-GEBİP from the Turkish Academy of Sciences, BAGEP from the Bilim Akademisi and the Mustafa N Parlar Foundation of METU. She was elected officer of the executive committee of the European Society for Photobiology in 2015 and 2017, is an Associate Editor for RSC Advances and the Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines, and is a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of Chemistry

Submit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances Science Communications: New advances in materials for electrodes of lithium batteries

Argentina, Bolivia and Chile make up the “Lithium Triangle”, where 70 % of the world’s lithium reserves are concentrated. These factors lead to the study in the development of lithium batteries being of great interest to my country and particularly to me, because I am beginning to research on this topic, so I am interested in reading articles on lithium batteries. During the last decades, numerous investigations have been carried out in the area of lithium batteries, in relation to their components such as electrodes, separators and electrolytes, to make them safer, environmentally friendly and economical.

A battery is made up of a set of electrochemical cells, which are made up of three main components: cathode, anode and electrolyte. In the case of the lithium battery, when charging battery, the lithium ions move from the positive electrode (cathode) towards the negative electrode (anode), and in opposite way during the discharge process. In this type of battery, the negative electrode is mainly composed of carbonaceous materials and the positive electrode of metal oxides. There is an urgent need for better lithium-ion batteries in order to create sustainable solutions based on relatively limited resources with a long-term perspective, and to apply the knowledge of mesoporous based cathode materials to an exciting field of lithium-ion battery research.

The article “Electrochemical performance of nano-sized LiFePO4-embedded 3D-cubic ordered mesoporous carbon and nitrogenous carbon composites” focuses on generic principles applicable to more advanced materials and systems for the development of highly electroactive olivine structured cathode materials for high performance lithium-ion batteries. This research findings would open potential avenues for fundamental on state-of-the-art mesoporous carbon-based materials for energy storage systems. Exploitation of novel porous cathode materials and a strengthening of fundamental understanding of their textural property and electrochemical performance relationships have played a major role in developing the lithium-ion battery research field.

One way to overcome the limitations of commercial lithium batteries is to modify the active material used in the negative electrode. Current devices use mainly carbonaceous material, which has the advantage of operating at low potentials. During the charging and discharging process, the carbonaceous material undergoes a reversible volumetric variation of approximately 10% and maintains its structure, giving stability to the battery for many cycles. Although the storage capacity of this material has allowed for the development of current portable electronic devices, it translates into a low energy density when considering its application in electric vehicles. Therefore, much of the lithium battery research is focused on the development of next generation batteries with high energy density (i.e. lighter batteries). However, enabling stable cycling and high-power output is also desirable for next generation batteries. Operation of lithium batteries at high power often leads to a decrease in the cycle life. Often a high-power output is required for a short duration, for example for rapid vehicle acceleration. The developed electrode material is cheap and easy to make, and is applicable to these high power applications.

The article “A stable TiO2–graphene nanocomposite anode with high rate capability for lithium-ion batteries” focuses on the development of new electrode materials for lithium batteries that offers stable cycle performance at high power density. Titanium dioxide is an abundant metal oxide that is widely used as a pigment in paint, sunscreen, and food coloring. Titanium dioxide can be used as a stable negative electrode material, enabling long life for the battery. However, it has low electrical conductivity, thus combining the titanium dioxide with a conducting additive has been found to enhance its performance. In this study, the high power stable cycling performance of a titanium dioxide/graphene composite, prepared by a simple synthesis method, was demonstrated. The new electrode material could be used in the next generation batteries, which will be much safer and with higher power density and longer cycle life than ever before. It should be noted that this work was performed with the collaboration between battery research groups at the Helmholtz Institute of Ulm, the University of Waterloo, and the University of Calgary.

I thank Dr. Parasuraman Selvam and Dr. Edward P. L. Roberts for their cordial responses.

Read the articles:

Electrochemical performance of nano-sized LiFePO4-embedded 3D-cubic ordered mesoporous carbon and nitrogenous carbon composites
Sourav Khan, Rayappan Pavul Raj, Talla Venkata Rama Mohan and Parasuraman Selvam
RSC Adv., 2020, 10, 30406–30414

A stable TiO2–graphene nanocomposite anode with high rate capability for lithium-ion batteries
Umer Farooq, Faheem Ahmed, Syed Atif Pervez, Sarish Rehman, Michael A. Pope, Maximilian Fichtner and Edward P. L. Roberts
RSC Adv., 2020,10, 29975-29982

 

About the Web Writer:

Cristian M. O. Lépori is Doctor in Chemical Sciences and currently has a postdoctoral position at the “Enrique Gaviola” Institute of Physics, CONICET, National University of Córdoba (Argentina). He works in the area of nuclear magnetic resonance studying hybrid materials formed with porous matrices and ionic liquids for use in lithium batteries. He likes to plan, organize and carry out science dissemination activities. You can find him on Twitter at @cristianlepo.

 

 

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

RSC Advances Science Communications: Investigating the water splitting reaction

Recalling my early days as a PhD student, our lab was just setting up equipment for tests, which involved a group of devices that could evaluate the efficiency of our electrodes for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight. For that, we needed a “sun” in the lab to give out consistent irradiation, which was a powerful Xe lamp (Fig. 1). Only when our sample electrodes were illuminated with this big bulb would they get excited, generate electric current and produce gas.

The more interesting part was, however, something called a monochromator. When I was doing physics module as an undergraduate and first came across this instrument in textbook, I mumbled, ‘What’s the big deal?’ But as different colours of light came out one after another in front of my eyes (with special safety goggles on, of course), it was like seeing some kind of magic unfolding. This was even cooler than ‘The Dark Side of The Moon’! But what the expensive monochromator really did was to allow us to evaluate how well our samples respond to each wavelength of light, technically called incident photon-to-current conversion efficiency (IPCE).

Another measurement we did was called intensity modulated photocurrent spectroscopy (IMPS), which has been gaining increasing popularity over the years. This test involved superimposing an AC signal on a DC signal and giving it as input to an LED so that the light intensity changed sinusoidally around a constant level. When the experiment started and you would see the light start to jiggle, at all sorts of frequencies from kHz to mHz, just like stage lights. Suddenly, we were like: It’s party time! Now back to business, we had to take recordings of the current generated by our electrodes and calculate a couple of rate constants to understand the kinetics of the water splitting reaction.

These fun experiments led our group to a number of publications (1, 2), including one in RSC Advances. Moving on to a different university as a postdoc, I’m planning to buy them again!

Fig 1. Lab setup at University of Bath (2017). Now at Imperial College London under group of Salvador Eslava.

References

1. J. Zhang et al., RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 35221
2. J. Zhang et al., Energy Environ. Sci., 2018, 11, 2972

 

About the Web Writer: 

Jifang Zhang completed his BEng at Beijing Institute of Technology, before moving to the UK for MSc at the University of Edinburgh and PhD at University of Bath. Now he is back in Beijing as a postdoc researcher at Tsinghua University.

Outside working hours, he is always juggling between karate, running, drumming and photography. You can find him on Instagram @jifang_zhang.

 

 

 

RSC Advances Royal Society of ChemistrySubmit to RSC Advances today! Check out our author guidelines for information on our article types or find out more about the advantages of publishing in a Royal Society of Chemistry journal.

Keep up to date with our latest HOT articles, Reviews, Collections & more by following us on Twitter. You can also keep informed by signing up to our E-Alerts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)