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ACS Editors’ Choice: The Evolution of High-Throughput Experimentation in Pharmaceutical Development

This week: The evolution of high-throughput experimentation in pharmaceutical development — and more!

Each and every day, ACS grants free access to a new peer-reviewed research article from one of the Society’s journals. These articles are specially chosen by a team of scientific editors of ACS journals from around the world to highlight the transformative power of chemistry. Access to these articles will remain open to all as a public service.

Check out this week’s picks!
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The Evolution of High-Throughput Experimentation in Pharmaceutical Development and Perspectives on the Future

Org. Process Res. Dev., 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.oprd.9b00140
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Two-Dimensional Infrared Spectroscopy and Molecular Dynamics Simulation Studies of Nonaqueous Lithium Ion Battery Electrolytes

J. Phys. Chem. B, 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.9b02026
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rEXPAR: An Isothermal Amplification Scheme That Is Robust to Autocatalytic Parasites

Biochemistry, 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.9b00063
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Peptide–Oligonucleotide Hybrid Molecules for Bioactive Nanomaterials

Bioconjugate Chem., 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.9b00259
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Slow-Release Implants for Manipulating Contaminant Exposures in Aquatic Wildlife: A New Tool for Field Ecotoxicology

Environ. Sci. Technol., 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b01975
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Role of Glutamine Synthetase Isogenes and Herbicide Metabolism in the Mechanism of Resistance to Glufosinate in Lolium perenne L. spp. multiflorum Biotypes from Oregon

J. Agric. Food Chem., 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b01392
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Photocatalytic Reduction of Carbon Dioxide over Quinacridone Nanoparticles Supported on Reduced Graphene Oxide

Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.9b00242
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Honoring the Winners of 40th Langmuir Lectureship Award

Langmuir and the ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry are proud to announce Professor Katsuhiko Ariga of the National Institute for Materials Science and Professor Ayusman Sen of Penn State University as the winners of the 2019 Langmuir Lectureship Award. For the past 40 years, this award has recognized leading researchers working in the interdisciplinary field of colloid and surface chemistry.

Meet the Winners:

Professor Katsuhiko Ariga

Professor Katsuhiko Ariga serves as MANA Principal Investigator at the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan. Professor Ariga is being recognized for his pioneering work in the self-assembly of functional nanostructures by exploiting the unique opportunities provided by interfaces, including fluid-fluid interfaces, molecule-molecule interfaces, and interfaces of self-assembled structures in bulk. We spoke with Profs. Lorena Tribe and Kathleen Stebe, the respective ACS Colloid Division of Surface Chemistry Chair and Chair-Elect, as well as Langmuir Editor-in-Chief Professor Françoise Winnik about Professor Ariga. They state the award is particularly appropriate in the case of Professor Ariga, who used the Langmuir-Blodgett trough throughout his career to manipulate molecules with a high level of sophistication.

Read an Interview with Professor Katsuhiko Ariga:

What does it mean to you to be awarded the 2019 Langmuir Lectureship?

Because I have been working on Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) films since [my] student days, I am extremely happy to receive the LangmuirLecture Award at the 100th anniversary year of Langmuir films.

Why did you build your career in interface science?

Because interfaces are meeting points in the meaning of materials and science.

What project in your group are you most excited about right now and why?

Control of the most fundamental machines (molecular machines) and the most advanced machines (living cell) at liquid interfaces, in order to prove that interfaces can control everything.

Can you share some advice for young researchers?

You do not have to be better than your friends, but [you] must be different from the others.

Professor Ayusman Sen

Professor Ayusman Sen is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Penn State University. The selection committee recognizes Professor Sen for his pioneering research in colloids and materials that harvest and convert catalytic chemical energy into mechanical energy, and for harnessing these phenomena to engineer intelligent functional materials from catalytically driven micropumps to active, motile colloids that sense, carry cargo, and self-organize via emergent interactions. “Professor Sen deserves recognition for his creative contributions that have spurred the growth of the highly interdisciplinary and exciting field of active colloids,” say Professors Stebe, Tribe, and Winnik.

Read an Interview with Professor Ayusman Sen:

What does it mean to you to be awarded the 2019 Langmuir Lectureship?

It is a great personal honor to win the Langmuir Lectureship and it recognizes the contributions that we and others have made to the burgeoning field of synthetic active matter and nano/micro-robotics.

What is your favorite thing about interface science?

We work on nano and microparticles that move in fluids by harvesting energy from the surroundings. At this small scale, surface forces dominate and we were forced to come up with motility mechanisms that involved the generation of interfacial gradients and fluid flow.

What project in your group are you most excited about right now and why?

The use of swarms of nanobots to perform seemingly miraculous tasks is a common trope in the annals of science fiction. Some of the physical challenges associated with operating on a small scale have been addressed, leading to the first generation of autonomous self-powered nanobots. We are now working on the next step: the design of nano and microbot systems that are able to communicate with each other and function collectively.

Can you share some advice for young researchers?

My advice is simple: Be excited about your work and go for broke! Research is hard and if you are not really excited, it is not worth doing. On the other hand, if you are doing cutting-edge research, fellow researchers will appreciate and follow your work, and that is the best reward.

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As this year’s Langmuir Lectureship winners, Professors Ariga and Sen, will be giving talks at a dedicated symposium and award ceremony organized by the ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry at the 2019 Fall ACS National Meeting in San Diego, California.

 

ACS Nano Virtual Issue Highlighted on Korean News Channel

The YTN Science news channel in the Republic of Korea recently highlighted an ACS Nano Virtual Issue. The issue, organized by the editors of ACS Nano with support from Dr. Sergey Shmakov, featured nanoscience research at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

KAIST is the oldest and most respected technology university in the Republic of Korea, having a global reputation as a world-class university. The contribution made to ACS Nano by the leading group of KAIST researchers today reflects how KAIST’s reputation has grown to international prominence.

When asked about the importance of this Virtual Issue, KAIST Department of Materials Science and Engineering Professor and ACS Nano Associate Editor Il-Doo Kim said it was an excellent opportunity for sharing the past, present, and future of KAIST with other members of ACS Nano.

“It is indeed my great pleasure and privilege to introduce the history of KAIST and its vision for the future to my fellow distinguished members of ACS Nano― a leading international research journal in the field of nanoscience. I hope this will lead to promoting a closer relationship between the members of the Journal and KAIST moving forward,” Kim said.

The Republic of Korea established KAIST during an economic downturn in 1971 with a six-million-dollar loan from U.S. Aid to foster qualified scientists and engineers to help usher in a new era of industrialization or the country. During the past five decades, KAIST has produced more than 64,000 graduates, including 13,000 Ph.D.’s. KAIST alumni have played pivotal roles in the Republic of Korea’s remarkable economic growth. KAIST alumni account for 23% of the leadership positions in the science and engineering communities in the country. For instance, in the semiconductor industry, which is dominating the global market, one in every four Ph.D.’s is a KAIST graduate.

Throughout its 48 years of history, KAIST has been the gateway for advanced science and technology, innovation, start-up and entrepreneurship in the Republic of Korea. KAIST now further envisions to become a “Global Value-Creative World-Leading University” at the forefront of impacting the global community and contributing to global sustainability.

Watch video of YTN Science’s coverage.

2019 ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces Young Investigator Award Goes to Jessica Schiffman

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, in partnership with the ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry, is pleased to announce that Dr. Jessica Schiffman, University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the winner of the 2019 ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces Young Investigator Award. Dr. Schiffman will present a lecture at the 2019 ACS Fall National Meeting in San Diego.

Read a Short Interview with Dr. Jessica Schiffman about Her Life and Work:

How did you become interested in materials science?

Growing up, my favorite subjects were always math and science. Not really knowing what I wanted to major in, I attended Rutgers University, a large state institution, and declared myself a math major (although I also considered chemistry and fine arts).

During course registration, I was browsing the huge paperback course catalog and saw “independent study in mathematics” listed, which sounded perfect, but it also required “permission by instructor.” Perhaps for the first time, I was forced into finding and talking to faculty members about their research. I fondly remember those conversations as being interesting but not aligned with my passions…so I again sat down with the course catalog. Page-by-page I tore out majors that were not of interest to me until I was left with only the engineering majors.

After reading the engineering majors and course descriptions, I realized that materials science and engineering combined my favorite courses – chemistry, physics, and math– while also promoting creativity to enable next-generation materials with improved properties, i.e., greener, lighter, and stronger. So, it was not until the very end of my sophomore year at Rutgers University that I learned that there actually was a discipline called materials science and that’s the day that I transferred from the school of arts and sciences into the school of engineering.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

The highlight of my day-to-day life is walking into my research lab and seeing a happy team of intelligent scientists and engineers learning and problem-solving together.

Could you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

I lead an interdisciplinary and imaginative research team that uses “green” materials science and engineering to address the grand challenges that humanity faces in human health. By engineering “slippery” polymer materials to resist microbial contamination, we can decrease the occurrence of hospital-acquired infections and improve people’s access to clean water. These are just two of the scientific queries that my team seeks to solve by interfacing materials science with microbiology.

Do you have any advice for early career scientists?

I would remind early career scientists to think globally because there is a big world that exists outside of your research lab. Years into a new position, you may remember some of the arguments you had with former collogues about thermodynamics or fume-hood space, but it will be sprinkled with a fondness because you survived your qualifying exams and other big deadlines together. Surround yourself with positive, ambitious, and critical people; commit to championing for each other and remember to invest in their success too.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

It is truly an honor to receive the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces Young Investigator Award! I would like to thank all of my current and former students, collaborators, mentors, and advisors.

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Read some of Dr. Jessica Schiffman’s ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces articles:

Mechanical Properties and Concentrations of Poly(ethylene glycol) in Hydrogels and Brushes Direct the Surface Transport of Staphylococcus aureus
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b18302

Antimicrobial Activity of Silver Ions Released from Zeolites Immobilized on Cellulose Nanofiber Mats
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b10130

Bacterial Adhesion Is Affected by the Thickness and Stiffness of Poly(ethylene glycol) Hydrogels
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b12145

Bioinspired Photocatalytic Shark-Skin Surfaces with Antibacterial and Antifouling Activity via Nanoimprint Lithography
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b05066

Meet the 2019 ACS Nano Award Lecture Laureates

The winners of the 2019 ACS Nano Lectureship Awards are Professor Naomi Halas of Rice University for the Americas, Professor Bin Liu of the National University of Singapore for Asia/Pacific, and Professor Jamie Warner of the University of Oxford for Europe/Africa/Middle East. All three winners are frequent contributors to ACS Nano. The winners will present their award lectures, as well as three complementing talks at ChinaNano in Beijing this August.

Read more about the three winners of this year’s ACS Nano Lectureship Awards:

Naomi Halas

Professor Naomi Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering; Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy; and Director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics at Rice University. She is a pioneer in the field of nanoplasmonics and her groundbreaking work includes creating the concept of the tunable plasmon, generating nanoparticles with resonances that span the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum and innovating the use of plasmonic nanoparticles in biomedical and energy applications. She serves on the editorial advisory board of ACS Nano and Nano Letters.

Read a short interview with Professor Naomi Halas:

How did you become interested in nanoscience and/or nanotechnology?

I was interested in the idea of manipulating optical properties by designing and building nanostructures from the very beginning, that is, from the point where our ability to do so began to exist.
It seemed much more interesting to me than trying to figure out why materials grown by other means had the properties they did.

Could you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

We are currently designing and developing complex nanoparticles that lower barriers for photo-driven chemical reactions.  They offer methods for doing chemistry at temperatures and pressures far below what is conventionally used.  This research direction has the potential to completely change the way we do chemistry and that is extremely exciting.

What career milestones are you especially proud of?

I am particularly proud that so many people have cited our work, it means that they find what we have discovered and demonstrated to be useful and valuable to their own research and that they have learned new science from what we’ve done: that is particularly satisfying.

What about your work do you find particularly exciting/motivating/inspiring?

It is very satisfying to see that your work has touched people’s lives and that has inspired real-world applications both directly and indirectly.

Do you have any experiences of being mentored or mentoring that you think other people could learn from?

I am not sure that mentoring is particularly well understood: the concept is frequently misused.  Anyone can be a mentor for you and you can be a mentor for many people: indirectly as well as directly.

Who are your role models?

I don’t want to name my role models lest I embarrass them.  But I have many.

Do you have any advice for early career scientists?

Aggressively pursue things that are new and novel.  The most interesting and exciting science is such because it is unexpected or counterintuitive.  Having theory and experiment agree all the time is boring- it is more important to pursue unknowns where theory and experiment do not yet agree: what is going on there, really?

Is there anything else you would like to share?

They say that armies lose when they prepare for the last war:  I think there is a lesson there for educating ourselves.  There are new and emerging fields and concepts appearing at a rapid rate: to be prepared for the future it is important not to put the blinders on but to look at emerging fields and ask yourself if some of those new concepts could be useful and could take your own work, perhaps your career, in exciting new directions.

Bin Liu

Professor Bin Liu is Provost’s Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the National University of Singapore. Her innovative research focuses on the design and synthesis of organic nanomaterials and explores their applications in optoelectronic devices and biomedical research, including advances in solar cells, bioimaging, and cancer therapy. She serves as the founding deputy editor of the new journal ACS Materials Letters.

Read a short interview with Professor Bin Liu:

How did you become interested in nanoscience and/or nanotechnology?

Being trained as an organic chemist, I started from research on water-soluble conjugated polymers with applications in organic electronic devices. During my postdoc, we were able to prepare water-dispersible conjugated polyelectrolyte nanoparticles and successfully extended their applications to the biomedical field. Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary realm where traditional physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers meet and produce new discoveries in the nanoscale. When it came to a stage that synthesizing conjugated polyelectrolytes was so slow, we looked into nanoparticle fabrication through nanoprecipitation, which allowed us to quickly bring almost all the conjugated polymers into aqueous media for their biological performance evaluation. I believe in nanotechnology, which has huge potentials to make a real impact on a variety of fields in the near future.

Could you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

We are developing organic functional materials and exploring their applications in biomedical and clean energy sectors. We endeavor to realize the visualization of crucial biological processes and noninvasive treatment for some diseases using biocompatible organic materials, especially those with aggregation-induced emission characteristics. In the clean energy sector, we aim to convert solar energy into clean and accessible energy fuels or value-added products by developing highly efficient organic semiconductor catalysts.

What career milestones are you especially proud of?

I appreciate original and innovative works the most. I am proud that we have successfully unveiled the huge potential of organic semiconductors in biological applications by bringing them into aqueous media through nanofabrication. Of particular interest are the luminogens with aggregation-induced emission (AIE), which emit weakly in the molecular state but give strong fluorescence in the aggregate state. Based on the unique properties of AIE materials, we have invented AIE light-up probes and AIE dots, which have been commercialized by the NUS spin-off of Luminicell. It clearly demonstrates that we are capable of taking care of both cutting-edge research and commercialization.

What about your work, do you find particularly exciting/motivating/inspiring?

I am super busy every day, but I enjoy every second of my work, especially research work. I enjoy it the most when my students excitingly tell me their new discoveries in the lab. I try to have as much conversation with my students as possible because they can teach me a lot of new knowledge. I am also inspired by many collaborative works. It is super exciting when new ideas are generated over tea or coffee.

Do you have any experiences of being mentored or mentoring that you think other people could learn from?

One thing I learnt and I often tell my students is that you differ by how you present yourself. All research should make an impact, either by answering fundamental questions or through the development of a useful technology. Study and think through before action: work-smart is far more effective than immersing yourself 24/7 in the lab. Powerful communication and being able to grasp the unique selling points are of equal importance to good scientific results.

Who are your role models?

I do not have a specific role model, but I do admire many people who perform in any way better than I do. They motivate me to improve myself every day.

Do you have any advice for early career scientists?

Stay focus to pursue your dream.
Be passionate about research.
Present results precisely and effectively.
Collaborate to achieve research excellence.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

My motto is “Enjoy everything you do and be happy every day”. For young scientists, working industriously and being positive, patient and passionate are necessary to excel in this community. No matter how busy you are, always remember to spare some time for your family, live a life of love and integrity is of high importance for a successful career.

Jamie Warner

Professor Jamie Warner is Professor of Materials and Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. His pioneering work explores the atomic-level structure and dynamics of low-dimensional nanomaterials using aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy and spectroscopy, providing foundational studies into the fundamental behavior of vacancies, dislocations, single-atom dopants, atomic impurities, grain boundaries, and interfaces in two-dimensional materials, such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides systems.

Read a short interview with Professor Jamie Warner:

How did you become interested in nanoscience and/or nanotechnology?

I got interested in quantum computing and quantum information science during my Ph.D. studies and started to work on nanomaterials in this area. This started my nano-interests, and as a postdoc, this then moved into silicon nanocrystals for biomedical imaging and TiO2 nanocrystals for biodegradable greenhouse plastics for crop-growth in drought-stricken regions. Then when moving to Oxford in 2006 for I got back into nanomaterials for quantum computing using carbon (nanotubes and fullerenes). When I started my own group I became active in graphene and then expanded this to other 2D materials over the years. I have studied areas of nanofabrication and nanopatterning for electronic devices, and more recently electrochemistry for catalysis and energy materials.

The consistent aspect through most of my career has been a core foundation of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to visualize the nanoworld and probe it atom-by-atom. Without TEM work, I would not have the same passion I do because I enjoy visual representation and imaging. Electron microscopy is a gateway to explore the nanoworld with resolution, clarity and speed not possible in any other technique. Observing single atoms moving around in new nanostructured materials for the first time was very exciting and stimulating. Gravity plays little role at the nanoscale and the forces that govern motion are completely different from what we experience. Discovering new mechanical responses in nanomaterials that can be watched in real time during TEM led to a strong passion for studying nanoscience. I find operating a large complex TEM a quite satisfying experience, with a vast array of buttons and dials to hand operate and control in unison to maintain precision alignment. It offers the chance to master a craft and challenge of continuous improvement.

Could you give us a short overview of the research you are currently undertaking?

My current research is focused on using TEM to study the atomic structure of new nanomaterials. I want to discover new structural phenomena that have not been seen before in materials that are relatively unexplored. I aim to probe materials down to individual atoms (pico-scale) using focused electron beams and push the spatial and temporal resolution to its extreme. This has been centered on the family of 2D materials and their interfaces. In particular, I am interested in developing TEM techniques that provide an in-situ response (heating, light, stress, and electrical biasing) to drive local phase changes, material growth, defect migration and edge reconstructions. In the last few years this has been done primarily using scanning transmission electron microscopy and in-situ holders.

I have been exploring new TEM methods that involve using high-speed direct electron detectors for collecting the diffraction patterns point-by-point during STEM. This gives 4D STEM data sets that can be used to reconstruct different contrast images to reveal phase, electric field maps, total charge maps, and shed new light on bonding sites and conduction channels in 2D semiconductors. Nanofabrication methods are used to develop specialized chips that enable customized in-situ measurements. I am interested in revealing the atomic structure of fundamental vacancies and individual atomic dopants. I research some areas of materials chemistry including chemical vapour deposition and solution phase processing. Nanoelectronic device fabrication is done in clean rooms to demonstrate these materials as ultrathin all-2D optoelectronics such as light emitting devices and photodetectors. My recent interests have expanded into single atom catalysts and energy materials.

What career milestones are you especially proud of?

First it would be completing my PhD and then obtaining a postdoc position at Oxford University was a very exciting moment in my career. At Oxford I obtained several research fellowships that were special, but becoming a full professor was the milestone I am most proud of due to the effort it took to put all the parts together to get there.

What about your work do you find particularly exciting/motivating/inspiring?

Seeing new nanomaterials ‘live’ in a TEM is still the most exciting part of research for me. Having synthesized a nanomaterial in the lab and wondering what it will be, and then loading it into the TEM and zooming in to see the material and the atoms in their place and moving around is captivating. It is always inspiring to work with a large group of students, postdocs and collaborators to share the passion for science and love for all things nano. I am motivated by the scientific curiosity of discovering the unknown and beauty that is encoded in the atomic structure and shape of nanomaterials. There is a never-ending surprise of what you find in TEM when looking at a range of different materials, molecules, quantum dots, 2D monolayers, dopants, thin films etc.

Do you have any experiences of being mentored or mentoring that you think other people could learn from?

To be a mentor, understand that everyone is different and you need to consider the person you are mentoring. Custom design your mentoring approach to match the person and the situation. What are their strengths and weakness, what are their passions and dreams? I try to share my own personal experiences with younger researchers, so they can know more about the processes and expectations of the career pathways. I try to get everyone in my group to feel happy to share and work together and enjoy the research. Operating as a team, and not as a group of individuals.  I like to get into the lab, especially on the TEM, and try to teach some junior members. I am still doing TEM on a regular basis and it is hard to get me off it, I love doing it. There are many different levels of mentoring and try to find innovative ways to motivate your group and yourself.

Who are your role models?

I don’t have particular role models, I prefer to just observe the behavior of successful people and try to implement some of this into my own personal development. At each stage in my career I have identified people who are doing great things and try to understand what they are doing to achieve that. I have been inspired by leaders from science, technology, education, sports, TV, film, music, and art.

Do you have any advice for early career scientists?

My best advice is to communicate. Communicate with your manager and those that you manage. Communicate the research you achieve by writing it into high-quality manuscripts and good presentations for conferences and seminars.

It is important to see yourself as an author, which means learning to write clearly and learning some graphic design skills to make figures represent your ideas with impact. Many talented scientists are great in the lab and get good quality data, but turning this into the manuscript draft requires focus, dedicated, persistence, and at times doing mundane tasks like references and checking the formatting details. In high-end restaurants, the food doesn’t head to customers without the head chef inspecting it and doing quality control. The same for your research group, the principal investigator has the responsibility to quality control the output coming from the laboratory.

It is important to be positive and not take criticism too hard, it is always going to be delivered to you and learn to take the constructive parts of the criticisms and use that to improve your work.

Be creative and innovative, learn how to stimulate creative thinking and to establish an environment that is conducive to ideas and moving forward new concepts.

Do research on topics that you enjoy.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

There is still an abundance of new cool things to discover in the nano-world that can change our future.

Iridescent Fish Inspires a New Color-Changing Device

A common aquarium fish has given researchers the inspiration for a new type of color-shifting device. The technology might one day provide soldiers with camouflage or form the basis of a new type of display screen, the researchers say.

The prototype device uses magnets to bend microsized columns made of iron oxide nanoparticles, and the angle of the columns changes the wavelength of reflected light. The device can quickly change from yellow to green and back again.

“We were inspired by the neon tetra,” says Chih-Hao Chang, a mechanical engineer at North Carolina State University. The colorful fish (Paracheirodon innesi) produces iridescence through light bouncing off stacks of tiny guanine platelets in its scales. By tilting the platelets, the fish can change the spacing between them and therefore the wavelength they reflect. Chang calls this a “Venetian blind mechanism,” in which slats stay the same distance apart but rotate to open or close the gaps between them.

A color-changing device consists of a patterned magnetic polymer (beige) with a layer of water containing iron oxide nanoparticles (black) on top. The device is sealed off with another polymer (purple). Applying a magnetic field causes nanoparticles in the water to form columns (center) that tilt when the field is changed (right).

To build their device, Chang and his colleagues first used lithography to inscribe a pattern of holes in a piece of silicon. They used that as a mold for a siloxane copolymer containing iron oxide nanoparticles, forming a block studded with short pillars 1 µm tall spaced 2 µm apart, which the researchers say resembles a Lego brick. They then surrounded the pillars with more nanoparticles dispersed in water and topped the device with a layer of polydimethylsiloxane.

When a magnetic field was applied, the nanoparticles in the water arranged themselves into 20 µm high columns on top of the polymer pillars. Changing the angle of the magnetic field caused the iron oxide columns to tilt backward or forward by 30°, so that they act like the slats in a Venetian blind.

The Venetian blind approach is different from an accordion-style method that chameleons use to change color and that researchers have replicated in photonic crystals, materials designed with periodically spaced nanostructures that interact with light. In that method, stretching or compressing the material increases or decreases the spacing between nanostructures, changing the reflectance characteristics. With that approach, though, the structures have to be smaller than the wavelengths of light, which means less than 400 to 700 nm for visible light. The iron oxide columns in Chang’s system can be much larger, and therefore should be easier to make.

Pete Vukusic, who studies biophotonics at the University of Exeter, says even though the way the fish produce color changes is somewhat different than how this device works, “what I do like is the idea of magnetically switching the structural color. This is pretty novel, and I can’t recall it being done elsewhere.”

This article is reproduced with permission from C&EN (© American Chemical Society). The article was first published on April 2, 2019.

Comprehensive MARC Records for ACS eBooks

ACS Publications recently refreshed and updated the MARC records for all ACS eBooks. This includes both the Advances in Chemistry and ACS Symposium Series, which is comprised of more than 1,500 books published between 1949–2019.

In addition to typical bibliographic information, the MARC records include the following:

  • Full metadata
  • NLM classification number
  • Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH)
  • Book industry subject access (BISAC)
  • Medical subject headings (MeSH)

The addition of this information to the records enhances discovery, providing a more valuable resource for library patrons. All of this is available free of charge, directly from ACS Publication under a CC-BY-ND-NC 2.0 license.

Visit the link below for direct access to all ACS MARC records and to sign up to be notified when new records become available.

Download MARC Records

Stir Bar Contamination May Inadvertently Catalyze Reactions

The humble stir bar is a ubiquitous workhorse of the chemistry lab that has swirled its way into researchers’ hearts. But it seems that magnetic stirrers have also been mixing things up in a different way—by smuggling rogue metals into chemists’ reaction flasks.

Stir bars are typically coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a durable and inert polymer. But they can quickly become discolored, especially when exposed to catalytic metals such as palladium. So Valentine P. Ananikov of the N. D. Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry gathered 60 used stir bars from other labs in his institute and took a closer look at what had caused the stains.

Electron microscopy revealed that the bars’ surfaces were littered with scratches, dents, and cracks that often contained a tangle of polymer filaments. These filaments trapped metal nanoparticles or microparticles, including palladium, gold, platinum, cobalt, or iron, which Ananikov’s team identified by X-ray spectroscopy. “It appears that almost all used stir bars in labs doing intensive catalysis and synthesis experiments are contaminated to varying degrees,” Ananikov says.

The researchers also found that these metals could leach into solution and interfere with reactions. Ananikov’s team tested used stir bars in the palladium-catalyzed Suzuki-Miyaura reaction, which couples aryl halides with boronic acids. First they used a palladium catalyst and a fresh stir bar to carry out a series of these reactions; then they repeated the experiments with no catalyst and a contaminated stir bar. In several cases, the dirty stir bar alone delivered a significant amount of the coupling product, and in one case it even matched the yield from the palladium catalyst. Running the reaction with no catalyst and a brand new stir bar gave no products at all.

Chemists who work with palladium catalysts generally know that dirty stir bars can affect their reactions, but it’s important to understand the extent of the problem, says synthetic chemist Mimi Hii of Imperial College London. “It’s been talked about anecdotally for a while, so it’s really nice to see a systematic study on it.” Because Hii’s group has found palladium to be active at concentrations as low as 5 parts per million, the researchers cleanse their stir bars of palladium with aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Others are not so thorough—indeed, many chemists clean their stir bars with nothing more than a quick scrub and a rinse with acetone and water, Ananikov says.

“I was surprised that there was enough metal there to catalyze reactions,” says Vladimir Gevorgyan, an organic chemist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He points out that trace amounts of metal can sometimes interact with other metal catalysts to alter their reaction mechanism, so the problem is unlikely to be restricted to palladium chemistry. “I think it’s more general than that,” he says.

Significant stir bar damage can appear within weeks of use, and Ananikov’s theoretical calculations suggest that damaged PTFE binds metal particles much more strongly than pristine PTFE. He advises chemists to use new stir bars when they report reactions that apparently need very low concentrations of metal catalysts, or even none at all. “It’s a cautionary tale for anyone working in catalysis,” Hii says.

This article is reproduced with permission from C&EN (© American Chemical Society). The article was first published on March 28, 2019.

The Remarkable Life and Work of Katharine Burr Blodgett (1898–1979)

Katharine Burr Blodgett was born on January 10, 1898, and lived a privileged, but not necessarily carefree, childhood. The family had employed servants in their original Schenectady home, which was located in the historic Stockade district. Following her husband’s death, Mrs. Blodgett moved with the children to New York City where they lived for 3 years. Mrs. Blodgett believed there would be greater opportunities in a big city than in a smaller town like Schenectady. According to her aunt, Katharine was already reading at age two.

A Young Scientist’s Education: Bryn Mawr Years

In the autumn of 1913, Katharine enrolled in Bryn Mawr College, near Philadelphia. The college was prominent among women’s liberal arts colleges and had been founded in 1885 as “an institution of learning for the advanced education of women which should afford them ‘all the advantages of a college education that are so freely offered to young men.’” One of the policies instituted by the college trustees was “to organize no department in which they could not provide for graduate as well as undergraduate study,” indicating that the faculty had advanced degrees.

Of the 10 science and mathematics faculty, 3 were women and all had doctoral degrees. According to the Bryn Mawr College Calendar for 1913, chemistry instruction was under the direction of Dr. Frederick H. Getman, Dr. Roger F. Brunel, and Dr. Annie L. Macleod, who was in charge of demonstrations. Physics instruction was under the direction of Dr. William B. Huff, Dr. James Barnes, and Miss Mable K. Frehafer, who was in charge of demonstrations.

Katharine, now a “Mawrter,” was especially drawn to the courses taught by Professors Charlotte Scott and James Barnes, in mathematics and physics, respectively. It was with Barnes that she studied optics, a subject that she would continue to develop throughout her career. Barnes also suggested that she continue in science after her college degree.

On campus, Katharine took on a number of leadership roles including treasurer and secretary of the Science Club, treasurer of the Christian Association, and manager of track meets, in addition to her participation in athletic activities like swimming, water polo, and hockey. She was also known, along with her mates from the Class of 1917, as somewhat of a prankster!

During this period, as the Great War raged in Europe, the United States made preparations to enter the conflict in the spring of 1917. Indeed, the College’s publications at that time reflected wartime concerns, including calls for students to participate in activities related to national defense.

A Wartime Master’s Degree

In the fall of 1917, Katharine traveled to the Midwest to enter a master’s degree program in physics at the University of Chicago (UC). There, in the Ryerson Physical Laboratory, she carried out research under the direction of a young faculty member, Professor Harvey Brace Lemon. Lemon was conducting research on the use of charcoal for the adsorption of gases, a project aimed at improving the efficacy of gas masks. This work was performed in cooperation with the government’s Chemical Warfare Service.

The First World War came to be known as the Chemists’ War, in part because of the harmful or incapacitating lethal gases—including tear gases, chlorine, phosgene, diphosgene, and mustard gas—that were deployed on the battlefield. Although early WWI masks were treated with sodium thiosulfate to neutralize chlorine gas, “the crude personal protection devices gave way to more advanced masks that were connected to a canister filled with activated charcoal to filter poison gases.”

Katharine completed her degree in the spring of 1918, just months before Professor Lemon was commissioned as a captain in the Army’s Ordnance Department. Her newly gained knowledge of surface phenomena, adsorption, and physical measurements would prove useful for her subsequent work at GE.

The June 1919 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine, under the headline, “Gas Mask Work at the University,” stated that “Now that the censorship on scientific work connected with war problems is being lifted it becomes possible to announce the publication of work done on our campus which has heretofore been known only by rumor.” Blodgett’s papers on charcoal adsorption were published in 1919, once they had been approved for release by the director of the Chemical Warfare Service at the end of the war.

Read the full chapter.

 This post is an excerpt from The Remarkable Life and Work of Katharine Burr Blodgett (1898–1979)‘, The Posthumous Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Volume 2. Ladies in Waiting for the Nobel Prize.
Chapter Author: Margaret E. Schott
Volume Editors: Vera V. Mainz, E. Thomas Strom
Publication Date (Web): December 14, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society

ACS Publications Travel Grant for Librarians – applications due June 28, 2019

Looking to advance your career and grow your professional network? ACS Publications is excited to announce that applications are open for our Travel Grant for Librarians and Library School Students to attend the ACS National Meeting, to be held in San Diego, August 24-29, 2019.

We encourage all librarians who have never attended an ACS National Meeting, or have not attended in the last five years, to apply for this grant. This is an opportunity to connect with the global community of librarians, researchers, exhibitors, and ACS staff who attend this conference. Full-time library school students are also encouraged to apply to gain valuable experience and learn more about the field of science librarianship. Recipients will also receive one year of ACS membership compliments of ACS Publications.

Learn more about the librarian experience at ACS National Meetings from our Spring 2019 Travel Grant recipients:

Grant Details

  • The Americas: Recipients will receive up to $2,500 USD for travel expenses, full registration to the conference, and one year ACS membership
  • EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa): Recipients will receive up to $5,000 USD for travel expenses, full registration to the conference, and one year ACS membership
  • Asia-Pacific: Recipients will receive up to $7,000 USD for travel expenses, full registration to the conference, and one year ACS membership
  • Four travel grants are available: two grants for the Americas, one grant for EMEA, and one grant for Asia-Pacific

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be a full-time librarian, or full-time library school student at an accredited, or country-equivalent institution
  • Applicants must have never attended an ACS National Meeting, or have not attended in the last five years, and must be available to attend the entire conference
  • Awardees are responsible for obtaining the proper US Visa, or authorization to attend the ACS National Meeting, if required. Travel grant funds may be used to cover any Visa fees. ACS provides information on obtaining on U.S. Visa. ACS provides no guarantee that a Visa will be issued. For international attendees, you may also need to obtain an ESTA before traveling to the United States. Please consult U.S. Customs and Border Protection for more information. If an awardee is unable to obtain a Visa or authorization to travel, the travel grant may be awarded to another recipient.

Awardee Requirements

  • Attend the ACS Division of Chemical Information (CINF) Welcoming Reception and ACS CINF Luncheon.
  • Meet with ACS Publications staff during the conference at various sessions, presentations, receptions, and other engagements.
  • Serve on the Award Committee for the next travel grant selection process.
  • Write an article for ACS Axial after the meeting on their first time experience, advice, and takeaways from the meeting.

An institutional subscription to ACS Publications is not required

Award Committee

  • Previous Travel Grant Recipients, CINF Executive Committee members, and ACS Publications staff

To apply for the travel grant, please submit the following in a single PDF:

  • CV or Resume
  • Short essay (750 words maximum) on how attending the ACS National Meeting will benefit your education/career and what you hope to get out of attending the conference

Applications should be sent to Michael Qiu, M_Qiu@acs.org, by Friday, June 28, 2019, at 5 P.M. Eastern Time. Applicants will receive a confirmation email within 72 hours. Award recipients will be contacted no later than Monday, July 15, 2019.

Questions? Please contact Michael Qiu, Senior Global Library Relations Manager, M_Qiu@acs.org.