If you were asked to identify ancient chemists’ and pharmacists' attributes, your best answer would probably be the mortar and pestle. For centuries, this mechanical tool was used for crushing and homogenizing solids like food ingredients or natural medicines. Together with its electrically-powered twin called a ball mill, this antique instrument has become must-have equipment for any laboratory devoted to green chemical synthesis. It enables us to create some materials and molecules more efficiently and even makes some entirely new ones. Recently, a research team led by Janusz Lewiński, a Professor at the Institute of Physical Chemistry Polish Academy of Sciences (IChF PAN) in Warsaw has brought this idea to the nanoscale by developing sustainable and efficient synthesis of coated zinc oxide nanocrystals by mechanochemical grinding.
An international team has observed for the first time that long-range electron transfer within a chemical molecule can occur through hydrogen bonds without the so-called hopping. The discovery published in PNAS (https://www.pnas.org/content/118/11/e2026462118) could help not only better understand how proteins work, but also design new materials.
It was usually assumed that complex numbers, those containing a component with the imaginary number i (i squared equals minus one), are only a mathematical trick. A Polish-Chinese-Canadian team of scientists has proven, however, that the imaginary part of quantum mechanics can be seen in action in the real world, the Centre of New Technologies at the University of Warsaw reports.
It has been known for some time how to use DNA strands to embroider 2D shapes and build nanometer-sized structures. But these structures were stable only in the aquatic environment. Now scientists have shown how to go "ashore" with the solutions and use DNA to produce super-resistant nano-objects.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (Arthur C. Clarke). Researchers are working on a shape-shifting robotic material able to transform into any object or machine. Strong like solids and transformable like fluids, will T-1000 terminators knock on our doors soon?
For years, in the vastness of our galaxy, astrophysicists have been tracking down pevatrons – natural accelerators of particles with monstrous energies. Thanks to the HAWC Observatory for Cosmic Radiation, another probable trace of their existence has just been found: photons with some of the highest energies. However, what is particularly important is that this time the high-energy photons have not only been recorded, but also their probable place of origin has been determined.
Looking at the night sky, one’s thoughts might be drawn to astrochemistry. What molecules inhabit the vast spaces between the stars? Would we see the same molecules that surround us here on Earth? Or would some of them be more exotic—something rarely observed or even unknown?
At the heart of Cygnus, one of the most beautiful constellations of the summer sky, beats a source of high-energy cosmic ray particles: the Cygnus Cocoon. An international group of scientists at the HAWC observatory has gathered evidence that this vast astronomical structure is the most powerful of our galaxy's natural particle accelerators known of up to now.