Electronic Circuit Rides a Chemical Film

Chains of molecules known as conducting polymers are versatile materials that can work like electronic circuits. Potential uses include flat panel displays, solar panels, sensing devices and transistors, to name just a few. Their invention won three scientists the Nobel Prize in chemistry. But to make useful devices from conducting polymers requires a degree of chemical wizardry that often proves elusive. A Chicago chemistry professor has found a new and effective way around the problem.

Scientists Discover How Hydrogen-Making Bacteria Thrive with Cyanide

An Arizona chemist and colleagues from Munich, Germany, have discovered how microbes avoid being poisoned by the cyanide and carbon monoxide compounds they make and incorporate into enzymes. The bacteria use the enzymes to turn water into hydrogen for energy. Bacteria with this remarkable ability have long been widely dismissed as one of Mother Nature’s interesting, if largely useless and unimportant, oddities.

Chemists Discover New Molecules That Excel at Shedding Electrons

Anyone who’s taken chemistry might know that the element cesium is the hands-down champ when it comes to “ionizing,’ or giving up electrons. And up until about six months ago, they’d be right. But in recently announced work that was quickly heralded as one of the highlights in chemistry for 2002, chemists have developed a remarkable new class of stable molecules that ionize easier than anything on the periodic table, including cesium. “The ease with which an atom gives up electrons is one of its most important and basic characteristics because that defines the atom’s chemistry and capabilities,” said University of Arizona chemistry Professor Dennis L. Lichtenberger. “Until now, we’ve been limited by the range of what atoms can do and what we can do with molecules.”

Researchers decipher optical spectra of carbon nanotubes

Building upon this summer’s groundbreaking finding that carbon nanotubes are fluorescent, chemists at Rice University have precisely identified the optical signatures of 33 “species” of nanotubes, establishing a new methodology for assaying nanotubes that is simpler and faster than existing methods. In research published this week by Science magazine, a spectroscopy research team led by Rice Chemistry Professor R. Bruce Weisman detailed the wavelengths of light that are absorbed and emitted by each type of light-emitting nanotube. The findings hold great promise for chemists, physicists and materials scientists studying nanotubes, because it otherwise takes many hours of tedious testing for researchers to assay a single sample of nanotubes, and optical tests could be much faster and simpler.