Archive for the ‘Interesting chemistry’ Category

The dark satanic mills (of the industrial revolution?)

Sunday, March 18th, 2018
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Around the time of the 2012 olympic games, the main site for which was Stratford in east London, I heard a fascinating talk about the “remediation” of the site from the pollution caused by its industrial chemical heritage. Here I visit another, arguably much more famous and indeed older industrial site.

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How FAIR are the data associated with the 2017 Molecules-of-the-Year?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
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C&EN has again run a vote for the 2017 Molecules of the year. Here I take a look not just at these molecules, but at how FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) the data associated with these molecules actually is.

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What are the highest bond indices for main group and transition group elements?

Sunday, March 4th, 2018
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A bond index (BI) approximately measures the totals of the bond orders at any given atom in a molecule. Here I ponder what the maximum values might be for elements with filled valence shells.

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Is (hν)3 an allotrope of light?

Friday, February 23rd, 2018
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A little while ago I pondered allotropic bromine, or Br(Br)3. But this is a far wackier report[1] of a molecule of light.

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References

  1. Q. Liang, A.V. Venkatramani, S.H. Cantu, T.L. Nicholson, M.J. Gullans, A.V. Gorshkov, J.D. Thompson, C. Chin, M.D. Lukin, and V. Vuletić, "Observation of three-photon bound states in a quantum nonlinear medium", Science, vol. 359, pp. 783-786, 2018. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aao7293

London: set to become a National Park City in 2019.

Friday, February 9th, 2018
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Last year, I showed photos of wildflower meadows in west London close to where we live, evolving as the seasons changed. Today we hear the announcement that London itself is set be declared the world’s first National Park City in 2019.

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Multispectral Chiral Imaging with a Metalens.

Saturday, January 6th, 2018
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The title here is from an article on metalenses[1] which caught my eye.

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References

  1. M. Khorasaninejad, W.T. Chen, A.Y. Zhu, J. Oh, R.C. Devlin, D. Rousso, and F. Capasso, "Multispectral Chiral Imaging with a Metalens", Nano Letters, vol. 16, pp. 4595-4600, 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01897

Can any hypervalence in diazomethanes be amplified?

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017
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In the previous post, I referred to a recently published review on hypervalency[1] which introduced a very simple way (the valence electron equivalent γ) of quantifying the effect. Diazomethane was cited as one example of a small molecule exhibiting hypervalency (on nitrogen) by this measure. Here I explore the effect of substituting diazomethane with cyano and nitro groups.

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References

  1. M.C. Durrant, "A quantitative definition of hypervalency", Chemical Science, vol. 6, pp. 6614-6623, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C5SC02076J

Are diazomethanes hypervalent molecules? Probably, but in an unexpected way!

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017
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A recently published review on hypervalency[1] introduced a very simple way of quantifying the effect. One of the molecules which was suggested to be hypervalent using this method was diazomethane. Here I take a closer look.

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References

  1. M.C. Durrant, "A quantitative definition of hypervalency", Chemical Science, vol. 6, pp. 6614-6623, 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C5SC02076J

A form of life that can stably store genetic information using a six-letter, three-base-pair alphabet?

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
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For around 16 years, Floyd Romesberg’s group has been exploring un-natural alternatives (UBPs) to the Watson-Crick base pairs (C-G and A-T) that form part of the genetic code in DNA. Recently they have had remarkable success with one such base pair, called X and Y (for the press) and dNaMTP and d5SICSTP (in scholarly articles).[1],[2] This extends the genetic coding from the standard 20 amino acids to the possibility of up to 172 amino acids. Already, organisms engineered to contain X-Y pairs in their DNA have been shown to express entirely new (and un-natural) proteins.

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References

  1. A.W. Feldman, M.P. Ledbetter, Y. Zhang, and F.E. Romesberg, "Reply to Hettinger: Hydrophobic unnatural base pairs and the expansion of the genetic alphabet", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 114, pp. E6478-E6479, 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708259114
  2. D.A. Malyshev, K. Dhami, H.T. Quach, T. Lavergne, P. Ordoukhanian, A. Torkamani, and F.E. Romesberg, "Efficient and sequence-independent replication of DNA containing a third base pair establishes a functional six-letter genetic alphabet", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 109, pp. 12005-12010, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1205176109

The di-anion of dilithium (not the Star Trek variety): Another “Hyper-bond”?

Saturday, September 16th, 2017
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Early in 2011, I wrote about how the diatomic molecule Be2 might be persuaded to improve upon its normal unbound state (bond order ~zero) by a double electronic excitation to a strongly bound species. I yesterday updated this post with further suggestions and one of these inspired this follow-up.

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