The Sceptical Chymist | NChem Research Highlights: Ion transport, f-block ionic liquids and gold catalysis

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Neil’s away this week – enjoying Strasbourg – which means that I get the opportunity to introduce this week’s research highlights (and myself) on TSC.

First up is Gav, covering a Nature Letter that explains how photoelectron spectroscopy can tell us more about why hydroxide ion transport in water is so fast.

Neil (the absent one), writes about a couple of papers which report water-free f-block ionic liquids. The luminescence properties are much improved when you can avoid water, and those based on dysprosium are magnetic as well.

And, the way gold catalysts are prepared can have a marked effect on their activity. Jane writes about some high resolution microscopy that shows that small clusters of 10 gold atoms are responsible for most of the catalytic activity.

Finally, some readers of TSC will be old enough to recall being allowed to use copper sulfate to grow some nice blue crystals at school. It’s poisonous though, so you don’t get it in chemistry sets anymore, which makes me wonder who supplies Roger Hiorns? He creates artwork by filling everday objects with copper sulfate solution and letting the crystals grow where they will – his latest creation ‘Seizure’ makes use of a derelict flat in London. Check out the video on YouTube.

Actually, I wonder if he also has a return agreement with his supplier? – after all those recrystallisations it ought to be worth selling back….


Stephen Davey (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)

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