Tiny, self-assembling traps capture dangerous pollutants, PFAS

University at Buffalo chemists have shown that self-assembling molecular traps can be used to capture PFAS — dangerous pollutants that have contaminated drinking water supplies around the world. The traps are made from iron-based and organic building blocks that connect, like Legos, to form a tetrahedral cage. Experiments showed that these structures bind to certain

Researchers develop chemistry needed to create marijuana breathalyzer

UCLA chemists have reported the key chemical discovery necessary for the creation of a small, electronic marijuana breathalyzer. The research is published in Organic Letters, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society. The legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in California and elsewhere have made marijuana detection especially important, said senior author Neil Garg, UCLA’s

Faster-degrading plastic could promise cleaner seas

To address plastic pollution plaguing the world’s seas and waterways, Cornell University chemists have developed a new polymer that can degrade by ultraviolet radiation, according to research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. “We have created a new plastic that has the mechanical properties required by commercial fishing gear. If it eventually

Catalyst enables reactions with the help of green light

For the first time, chemists at the University of Bonn and Lehigh University in Bethlehem (USA) have developed a titanium catalyst that makes light usable for selective chemical reactions. It provides a cost-effective and non-toxic alternative to the ruthenium and iridium catalysts used so far, which are based on very expensive and toxic metals. The

Nanotechnology: Putting a nanomachine to work

A team of chemists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich has successfully coupled the directed motion of a light-activated molecular motor to a different chemical unit — thus taking an important step toward the realization of synthetic nanomachines. Molecular motors are chemical compounds that convert energy into directed motions. For example, it is possible to cause

Chemists find new way to break down old tires into material for new ones

A team of chemists at McMaster University has discovered an innovative way to break down and dissolve the rubber used in automobile tires, a process which could lead to new recycling methods that have so far proven to be expensive, difficult and largely inefficient. The method, outlined in the journal Green Chemistry, addresses the enormous

Unused stockpiles of nuclear waste could be more useful than we might think

Chemists have found a new use for the waste product of nuclear power — transforming an unused stockpile into a versatile compound which could be used to create valuable commodity chemicals as well as new energy sources. Depleted uranium (DU) is a radioactive by-product from the process used to create nuclear energy. Many fear the

Mimicking enzymes, chemists produce large, useful carbon rings

Drawing inspiration from nature, University of Wisconsin-Madison chemists have discovered an efficient way to wrangle long, snaking molecules to form large rings — rings that form the backbone of many pharmaceuticals but are difficult to produce in the lab. The work may represent preliminary progress toward deciphering just how enzymes, honed by evolution, so efficiently

Scientists convert plastics into useful chemicals using sunlight

Chemists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have discovered a method that could turn plastic waste into valuable chemicals by using sunlight. In lab experiments, the research team mixed plastics with their catalyst in a solvent, which allows the solution to harness light energy and convert the dissolved plastics into formic acid — a