PhotosynthesisResearchers have traced the paths of three water channels in an ancient photosynthetic organism—a strain of cyanobacteria—to provide the first comprehensive, experimental study of how that organism uses and regulates water to create energy.

The finding advances photosynthesis research but also presents an advance in green fuels research.

Photosynthesis is the chemical conversion of sunlight into chemical energy via an electron transport chain essential to nearly all life on our planet. All plants operate by photosynthesis, as do algae and certain varieties of bacteria.

‘Damage trails’

To convert sunlight into a usable form of energy, photosynthetic organisms require water at the “active site” of the Photosystem II protein complex. But the channels through which water arrives at the active site are difficult to measure experimentally. Reactive oxygen species are produced at the active site and travel away from it, in the opposite direction as water, leaving a “damage trail” in their wake.

“We identified the damaged sites in Photosystem II using high-resolution mass spectrometry and found that they reveal several pathways centered on the active site and leading away from it all the way to the surface of the complex,” says lead study author Daniel A. Weisz, a postdoctoral researcher in biology at Washington University in St. Louis.

(more…)

Corrosion DivisonThe ECS Corrosion Division is currently accepting nominations for the following two awards:

Corrosion Division Morris Cohen Graduate Student Award: established in 1991 to recognize and reward outstanding graduate research in the field of corrosion science and/or engineering. The award consists of a framed scroll and $1,000 prize. The award, for outstanding Masters or PhD work, is open to graduate students who have successfully completed all the requirements for their degrees as testified to by the student’s advisor, within a period of two years prior to the nomination submission deadline.

Herbert H. Uhlig Award: established in 1972 to recognize excellence in corrosion research and outstanding technical contributions to the field of corrosion science and technology. The Award consists of $1,500 and a framed scroll. The recipient is eligible for travel reimbursement in order to attend the Society meeting at which the award is presented.

(more…)

Focus IssuesSubmit your manuscripts to the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS) Focus Issues on Semiconductor-Based Sensors for Application to Vapors, Chemicals, Biological Species, and Medical Diagnosis by February 14, 2018.

This JSS focus issue aims to cover various active or passive semiconductor devices for gas, chemical, bio and medical detection, with the focus on silicon, GaN, dichalcogenides/oxides, graphene, and other semiconductor materials for electronic or photonic devices. The scope of contributed articles includes materials preparation, growth, processing, devices, chemistry, physics, theory, and applications for the semiconductor sensors. Different methodologies, principles, designs, models, fabrication techniques, and characterization are all included. Integrated systems combine semiconductor sensors, electric circuit, microfluidic channels, display, and control unit for real applications such as disease diagnostic or environmental monitoring are also welcome.

(more…)

By: Joshua M. Pearce, Michigan Technological University

EnergyWithin the next month, energy watchers expect the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act on an order from Energy Secretary Rick Perry that would create new pricing rules for certain power plants that can store fuel on site to support grid resilience. This initiative seeks to protect coal-fired and nuclear power plants that are struggling to compete with cheaper energy sources.

Perry’s proposed rule applies to plants that operate in regions with deregulated power markets, where utilities normally compete to deliver electricity at the lowest price. To qualify, plants would have to keep a 90-day fuel supply on site. Each qualified plant would be allowed to “recover its fully allocated costs.”

In other words, plant owners would be able to charge enough to cover a range of costs, including operating costs, costs of capital and debt, and investor returns. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee has stated that the extra money to keep coal and nuclear plants running “would come from customers in that region, who need the reliability.”

(more…)

A new bendable lithium-ion battery prototype continues delivering electricity even when cut into pieces, submerged in water, or struck with force.

“We are very encouraged by the feedback we are receiving,” says Jeffrey P. Maranchi, manager of the materials science program at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. “We are not that far away from testing in the field.”

(more…)

GraphenePillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, report engineers.

Materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari of Rice University and alumnus Navid Sakhavand first built atom-level computer models of pillared graphene—sheets of graphene connected by covalently bonded carbon nanotubes—to discover their strength and electrical properties as well as their thermal conductivity.

In a new study, they found that manipulating the joints between the nanotubes and graphene has a significant impact on the material’s ability to direct heat. That could be important as electronic devices shrink and require more sophisticated heat sinks.

(more…)

Copyright Battle Impacts ResearchGate

ResearchA copyright battle between ResearchGate and a handful of publishing giants continues as the academic social network bends to pending legal pressure, restricting access to at least 1.7 million scholarly articles.

This move comes after a push from the Coalition for Responsible Sharing in early October, stating that if ResearchGate does not work to remedy what the CRS deems “copyright infringements,” that the group will begin taking formal steps to address the issue. The CRS consists of ACS Publications, Brill, Elsevier, Wiley, and Wolters Kluwer.

“ResearchGate’s primary service is taking high-quality content written and published by others and making as many as 7 million copyrighted articles—40% of its total content—freely available via its for-profit platform,” said an October 5 statement from CRS. “Numerous attempts to agree with ResearchGate on amicable solutions . . . remained unsuccessful. Members of the Coalition for Responsible Sharing are therefore now resorting to formal means to alter ResearchGate’s damaging practices.”

(more…)

Seattle Abstract Deadline Extended

Abstract submission deadline extended through November 20, 2017!

Meeting speakerDon’t miss this opportunity to join us as ECS comes to the Seattle Sheraton and Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA from May 13-17, 2018, for our 233rd meeting.

You can review the full list of symposia in the Call for Papers and check out topic close-ups for selected symposia, including the latest one from the Nanocarbons Division:

B04: The International Symposium on Nanomaterials: Focus – Korea

(more…)

Electric VehiclesAs sustainable technologies continue to expand into the marketplace, the demand for better batteries rises. Many researchers in the field are looking toward all-solid-state batteries as a promising venture, citing safety and energy density properties. Now, one company is looking to take that work from the lab to the marketplace.

Electric car maker Fisker has recently filed patents for solid state lithium-ion batteries, stating that mass scale production could begin as soon as 2023. The patent covers novel materials and manufacturing processes that the company plans to use to develop automotive-ready batteries.

Unlike other types of rechargeable batteries that use liquid electrodes and electrolytes, solid state batteries utilize both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes. While liquid electrolytes are efficient in conducting ions, there are certain safety hazards attached (i.e. fires if the battery overheats or is short-circuited). In addition to better safety, solid electrodes could also impact battery cost and energy density, opening up new possibilities for large scale storage applications.

(more…)

Green chemistryNew research is building a bridge from nature’s chemistry to greener, more efficient synthetic chemistry.

Researchers analyzed biocatalysts evolved by nature for their effectiveness in a variety of synthetic chemical reactions. The results, published in Nature Chemistry, open the door to promising practices for chemists, pointing to not only more efficient but also more powerful tools for chemists.

The researchers started with microorganisms that have, over the millennia, developed complex chemical reactions to create molecules with important biological activity for various purposes, such as defense mechanisms. The scientists then analyzed the chemical pathways that give rise to these potentially useful molecules to determine how they can be repurposed to create compounds synthetically in the lab.

“Nature has evolved catalytic tools that would enable chemists to build molecules that we can’t easily build just using traditional chemistry,” says senior study author Alison Narayan, assistant professor at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute. “Our work bridges the two worlds of biosynthesis and synthetic chemistry.”

(more…)

  • Page 1 of 68