Chemical Reactions Through Brute Force

"Katsenite" named after McGill researcher who analyzed short-lived material’s chemical structure.Source: McGill University

“Katsenite” named after McGill researcher who analyzed short-lived material’s chemical structure.
Source: McGill University

Have you heard of mechanochemistry yet? Researchers from McGill University are making a name for themselves in this up-and-coming multidisciplinary field with their discovery of a new material unveiled through unconventional means.

Prof. Tomislav Friščić’s research group in McGill’s Department of Chemistry is now producing chemical reactions through milling, grinding, or shering solid state ingredients. In other words, the team is using brute force to elicit these reactions rather than the typical liquid agents.

The group states that their process is similar to that of a coffee grinder. The advantage to using force over liquids is that it avoids environmentally harmful bulk solvents that are typically used when producing chemical reactions.

These findings were published in the paper “In Situ X-ray diffraction monitoring of a mechanochemical reaction reveals a unique topology metal-organic framework”. It all began in late 2012, where researchers reported that they had been able to observe milling reaction in real time – seeing chemical transformations using highly penetrating X-rays.


From Packing Peanuts to Energy Storage

The Electrochemical Society’s Vilas Pol has developed a new process to turn simple packing peanuts into energy-storing battery components.

Pol, an associate professor at Purdue University and active member of ECS, has thoroughly succeeded in turning one person’s trash into another person’s high-tech treasure. He and his team from Purdue University have developed a system that turns the puffy packing peanuts into nanoparticles and microsheets perfect for rechargeable batteries. Pol’s new generation of battery could even outperform the ones we currently use.


Sparking the Driverless Car Era

We’ve been hearing about the new generation of vehicles for some time now. The self-driving, autonomous, electric car seemed to be so distant that it transformed into a pipe dream—until now. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced this past week that Tesla’s self-driving cars will hit highways this summer.

On Thursday March 18, Musk arranged a press conference to talk about Tesla’s automobile software update that will eliminate range anxiety—or the fear that your electric car will run out of power before being able to recharge on long trips.

But that wasn’t the highlight of the press conference. Musk casually announced that beginning around June, all Tesla models well get an update that allows them to drive in “Autopilot” mode.


ORCID poster

ORCID poster by

What is ORCID?

ORCID, or Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is an organization that aims to ensure that all scientific works can be appropriately attributed to their authors. By providing members with unique 16-digit persistent digital identifiers (called ORCID identifiers) and maintaining a central registry of members, ORCID is rapidly taking hold in the research community as a means of improving the accuracy of attribution, collaboration, and funding.

Due to the ever-expanding and international nature of scientific literature, the need for a unique identifier has become increasingly apparent. First and last names can be unreliable and inaccurate due to cultural differences in name-order conventions, changing last names due to marriage, or inconsistent use of abbreviations or initials. All of these factors can lead to the unfortunate result of authors being incorrectly credited (or worse, not credited) for their work.

The use of ORCID identifiers actively prevents this potentially damaging mishap, instead allowing journals and institutions to accurately monitor individual authors’ contributions to science.


open access cakeFebruary 2015 marked the one year anniversary of ECS’s Author Choice Open Access Program. This has been a year full of exciting changes and challenges for the Society, as well as our authors. ECS is excited to say that, with the help of our authors and editors, we have moved one step closer in our mission to Free the Science™.

In the first full year of the program ECS received over 1,000 open access submissions with CC BY being the favored license (making up close to 60% of papers submitted)!

Open access (OA) submissions came from as many as 44 different countries with top submitters consisting of:

  • USA – 33%
  • China & Japan – tied at 11%
  • South Korea – 8%
  • Germany & Canada – tied at 5%

ECS is also pleased to share that 95% of submitted papers were eligible for article credits.

So what are you waiting for? Become an integral part of our mission, help Free the Science, and submit your manuscript as OA today!

Toyota Rolls out New Vehicle

Toyota has just unveiled the prototype of their 3-wheel i-ROAD urban mobility vehicle at the TED Conference in Vancouver.

Those who experienced the vehicle described it as a cross between a zip scooter and an eco-friendly electric car. Toyota is describing this electric two-seater as a “personal mobility vehicle.” The company used the TED Conference as their launching platform for to gauge how the attendees see the future of mobility.

However, the i-ROAD is not designed to be your primary highway-driving vehicle. John Schultz of Toyota Motor Sales USA states that the vehicle would be most effective for every day short trips, such as running errands and grocery shopping.


jss-sensorWith U.S. healthcare costs of juvenile diabetes approaching $14.9 billion annually due to the upwards of 3 million Americans affected by this type of diabetes, researchers and scientist are looking for more affordable and effective ways to diagnose and treat. Now, researchers from Oregon State University believe they have found that answer.

A paper recently published in ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS) entitled, “Fabrication of a Flexible Amperometric Glucose Sensor Using Additive Processes”, details a novel development in sensor technology to create an improved type of glucose sensor for those with juvenile diabetes. The researchers state that this new technology cold provide a more cost effective and comfortable sensor with better efficiency.


abernathyCammy Abernathy of the University of Florida will be awarded the 2015 Electronics and Photonics Division Award for spearheading research in materials science and engineering through thin-film electronic material innovation and novel research in metal organic chemical vapor deposition.

The prestigious award was established in 1968 to encourage excellence in electronics research and outstanding technical contribution to the field of electronics science.

Dr. Abernathy started her journey through solid state science at MIT in 1980, where she received her degree in materials science and engineering. After furthering her education at Stanford University, Dr. Abernathy continued in the world of academia at the University of Florida. She was appointed the College’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2004, and currently holds the position of Dean of the College of Engineering.


Gene Manipulation to Boost Biofuels

The research gives scientists clues about the genes that control plant structures and how we can manipulate them to our advantage.Source: Paul Efland/UGA

The research gives scientists clues about the genes that control plant structures and how we can manipulate them to our advantage.
Source: Paul Efland/UGA

Researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) are looking to accelerate the biofuel industry with this new development in plant gene structure.

The UGA scientists have discovered that manipulating a certain gene in a hardwood tree makes easier the process of breaking wood into fuel, and simultaneously increases the pace of tree growth.

This from UGA:

In a paper published recently in Biotechnology for Biofuels, the researchers describe how decreasing the expression of a gene called GAUT12.1 leads to a reduction in xylan and pectin, two major components of plant cell walls that make them resistant to the enzymes and chemicals used to extract the fermentable sugars used to create biofuels.


Graphene Opens Door to Better Fuel Cell

The new development provides a mechanism for engineers to design a simpler proton separation membrane.Image: Nature Communication

The new development provides a mechanism for engineers to design a simpler proton separation membrane.
Image: Nature Communication

We’ve all heard of graphene’s tremendous potential, which may be able to change the manufacturing process in many industries. The wonder material could make production faster, cheaper, and more efficient across the board.

Now, three ECS members have collaborated with other fellow scientists to develop a single layer graphene that could change the landscape of hydrogen fuel cell technology.

ECS members Robert Sacci, Sheng Dai, and Matthew Neurock are contributing authors on the recently published paper, “Aqueous proton transfer across single-layer graphene”.