Metrohm Announces Young Chemist Award Winner

MetrohmMetrohm USA and Metrohm Canada have announced Chad Atkins as the winner of the 2015 Young Chemist Award for his research in Raman spectroscopy to assess the degradation of stored red blood cells.

Atkins is currently completing his Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia where he works under the supervision of Robin Turner and Michael Blades. Here, he conducts his research in red blood cells to confirm viability prior to transfusion, which leads to a more successful patient outcome.

This is the third year Metrohm USA and Metrohm Canada have awarded the $10,000 Young Chemist Award.

“Metrohm has a history of giving back to the scientific community,” said Edward Colihan, President & CEO of Metrohm USA. “This year we saw a record number of applications for this award, demonstrating ingenuity and a passion for solving very practical problems. We are proud to support the next generation of scientists.”

Atkins will present a short overview of his work at Metrohm’s press conference at Pittcon 2015 in New Orleans. Take a look at his abstract.

The Young Chemist Award is open to all graduate, post-graduate and doctorate students residing and studying in the U.S. and Canada, who are performing novel research in the fields of titration, ion chromatography, spectroscopy and electrochemistry. For more details, click here.

The Science of Love

Best-selling American author Julia Quinn once said, “Love works in mysterious ways.” Well, it turns out love isn’t quite as mysterious as we once thought.

With countries across the world celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 14th, we figured we’d take a look at the science behind romantic love.

However, the answer to the age old question, “What is love?” really comes down to what aspect of science you’re looking at. Here at ECS, we’re going to delve into the chemical reactions that occur to make a person feel sensations associated with love.

While the heart is the most common image associated with the idea of love, it’s really the brain that’s doing all the work. When we make a connection that falls along the path of romantic love, our brain releases a plethora of chemicals that cause us to experience excitement, euphoria, and bonding.

Chemicals such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine are released in the early stages of love. Along with being able to see these chemicals at work on a brain scan, electrochemistry also offers us the option to track them and pick up patterns via sensors.

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Lab-on-a-Chip to Improve Clinical Diagnostics

The new method, which uses beads and microfluidics can change the way we study mixed populations of cells, such as those of tumors. Image: EPFL

The new method, which uses beads and microfluidics can change the way we study mixed populations of cells, such as those of tumors.
Image: EPFL

Scientist have developed a process that has the potential to make the study of tumor cells significantly more efficient.

They call it a “lab-on-a-chip,” and it’s allowing scientist to isolate single cells for study. The key here is in the difficulty that scientists typically face when attempting to study a single cell in a population. Due to factors such as variation of the isolated cell’s biochemistry and function, and technological and physical limitation dealing with size and fragility of the cells, studying at the single-cell level has always proven to be difficult.

In order to combat this issue, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) scientists have combined affinity beads with microfluidics to produce an integrated, highly sensitive method for studying single cells – which has the potential to be adopted into clinical diagnostics.

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3D Printing Organs for Transplant

A two-part water-based gel made of synthetic DNA and peptide could bring the inventors of a 3D bioprinter closer to being able to print organs for transplant, or to replace animal testing.Image:Angewandte Chemie

A two-part water-based gel made of synthetic DNA and peptide could bring the inventors of a 3D bioprinter closer to being able to print organs for transplant, or to replace animal testing.
Image: Angewandte Chemie

Need a new pancreas? These scientists will print one right up for you.

Thanks to the development of a two-part water-based gel made out of synthetic DNA from Heriot Watt University, the 3D bio-printer is one step closer to reality.

The team from Heriot-Watt that engineered this developed is led by Prof. Rory Duncan and Dr.Will Shu of the University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry, Biophysics, and Bioengineering.

“The first challenge was that if we used a normal gel it was not possible to mix live cells with it for 3D printing. Colleagues at Tsinghua University in Beijing have developed a gel which, like some proprietary glues, comes as two separate liquids into which cells can be added. These do not turn into a gel until the two liquids are actually mixed together during the printing process,” said Prof. Duncan in a release.

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What Is Penta-Graphene?

The newly discovered material, called penta-graphene, is a single layer of carbon pentagons that resembles the Cairo tiling, and that appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.Image: VCU

The newly discovered material, called penta-graphene, is a single layer of carbon pentagons that resembles the Cairo tiling, and that appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.
Image: VCU

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in conjunction with universities in China and Japan have discovered a new structural variant of carbon that they are coining “penta-graphene.”

The new material is comprised of a very thin sheet of pure carbon that is especially unique due to its exclusively pentagonal pattern. Thus far, the penta-graphene appears to be dynamically, thermally and mechanically stable.

“The three last important forms of carbon that have been discovered were fullerene, the nanotube and graphene. Each one of them has unique structure. Penta-graphene will belong in that category,” said the paper’s senior author and distinguished professor in the Department of Physics at VCU, Puru Jena in a press release.

The inspiration for this new development came from the pattern of the tiles found paving the streets of Cairo. Professor at Peking University and adjunct professor at VCU, Qian Wang, got the inspiration that inevitably led to penta-graphene while dining in Beijing.

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The Science of Distilling

One brave man is distilling his own potent, yet drinkable, biofuel. Of course, there’s quite a bit of electrochemistry involved via this reflux still.

WARNING: Distilling alcohol is illegal in many places. (It can also be pretty dangerous for the novice distiller, so let’s leave this one to Hackett.)

The Real Science of an Alkali Metal Explosion

You may remember the classic alkali metal explosion demonstration in one of your early chemistry classes. Many educators use this experiment to show the volatile power of chemistry. The thought was that the unstable reaction was caused by the ignition of hydrogen gas, but scientists in the Czech Republic have found new information behind this classic demonstration by using high-speed video.

The researchers began investigating the science behind this experiment by dropping a sodium-potassium alloy droplet into water. From there, they recorded the explosion with a high-speed camera that is capable of capturing 10,000 frames per second.

Of course, there’s a video.

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Modeling Corrosion, Atom by Atom

corrosion_atom_by_atomAn article by Christopher D. Taylor in the latest issue of Interface.

In the late 20th century, computer programs emerged that could solve the fundamental quantum mechanical equations that control the interactions of atoms that give rise to bonding. These tools, first applied to molecules and bulk solid materials, then began to be applied to surfaces and, in the early 21st century, to electrochemical environments. Commercial and open-source programs are now readily available and can be used on both desktop and high-performance computing platforms to solve for the electronic structure of a given configuration of atomic centers (nuclei) and, in so doing, provide the basis for determining a whole host of properties, including electronic and vibrational spectra, electrical moments such as the system dipole, and, most importantly, the energy and forces on the atoms. Other derived properties include the extent to which each atom is charged and bond-orders, although to compute these latter properties one of a variety of methods for dividing up and quantifying the electron density associated with each atom must be selected.

The physics behind these codes is complex, and, challengingly, has no rigorous analytical solution that can be obtained within a finite allotment of time. Thus, the computer programs themselves take advantage of approximations that allow for a feasible solution but, at the same time, constrain the accuracy of the result. Nonetheless, solutions can usually be reliably obtained for model systems representing materials, interfaces, or molecules that do not exceed thousands, and, more realistically, hundreds of atoms. Given that system sizes of hundreds or thousands of atoms amount to no more than the smallest nanoparticle of a substance, the question arises: What can atomistic simulations teach us about corrosion?

Read the rest.

This Day in Electrochemistry – Electric Lamp

On January 27, 1880, Thomas Edison received the historic patent embodying the principals of his incandescent lamp that paved the way for the universal domestic use of electric light.Image:Government Documents

On January 27, 1880, Thomas Edison received the historic patent embodying the principals of his incandescent lamp that paved the way for the universal domestic use of electric light.
Image: Government Documents

On this very day in the year 1880, Thomas Edison was granted a patent for the electric lamp, which gave light by incandescence.

While the first electric carbon arc lamp was invented by Sir Humphrey Davey of England in 1801, it wasn’t until Edison’s discovery in 1880 that we got the longer lasting electric lamp that changed the way we live.

Edison was one of the original members of The Electrochemical Society, joining the organization in 1903 – just one year after it was established. Early members such as Charles Burgess recall attending ECS meetings at Edison’s home in the early days of the Society.

On his years of research in developing the electric light blub, Edison was quoted in “Talks with Edison” by George Parsons Lathrop in Harpers magazine on February of 1890. He had this to say:

“During all those years of experimentation and research, I never once made a discovery. All my work was deductive, and the results I achieved were those of invention, pure and simple.”

Since the Thomas Edison’s days in the Society, ECS has been working to promote technological innovation and inspire scientists from around the world. Join some of the greatest scientific minds in electrochemical and solid state science and technology by becoming a member today!

Everybody Writes, Nobody Reads

May it be then a reward to all the Interface authors to know that there is a crowd of people who read their work.

May it be then a reward to all the Interface authors to know that there is a crowd of people who read their work.

An article by Interface Co-Editor Petr Vanysek in the latest issue of the publication.

I am happy to report that people read Interface magazine. Just the other day I received a long letter commenting on the usefulness of the topical articles, this one specifically detailing the issue dealing with ionic liquids. The message of the letter was that the reviews in Interface are just as useful as the summary articles in peer-reviewed publications. Another reader, reacting to the side remark I made in my recent editorial about opening a dog kennel, wanted to unload his German shepherds on me. Yet another letter mentioned the Classics column and how nice it was to read recollections about scientists, written by other scientists and colleagues.

Interface does not have an officially gauged impact factor and we do not have a good measure of how well and thoroughly this magazine is read. Still, we like to hear that it is a useful medium for the members, the advertisers, and anybody else who may follow what shows up in our quarterly.

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