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Sparking Interest in New Firework Colors

Sparklers are a favorite for holidays and celebratory events across the world, providing dramatic and eye-catching bursts of light. While their flames can span the rainbow, the actual sparks that fly and branch out are traditionally limited to dark red, gold, or white light. But chemists are now uncovering new ways to expand the pyrotechnic color palette using rare-earth metals.

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Sparks are tiny pieces of materials that, when heated to a certain temperature, produce visible light. Long-flying sparks formed from hot, incandescent metal particles are essential components of sparklers, fireworks, and other pyrotechnic spectacles—however, these traditional metallic sparks may leave something to be desired due to their limited color range. This is because the color of the spark is controlled exclusively by the temperature of the metal heated by surface combustion, a phenomenon known as black or gray body radiation.

In recent decades, studies have demonstrated the potential for rare-earth metals to be promising agents for more colorful pyrotechnic displays and spark variety due to their low boiling points and ability to burn in the vapor phase. Unfortunately, the metals are consumed very quickly during vapor-phase combustion, resulting in only brief flashes of light rather than the desired effect of long, branching sparks.

But now, a recent study published in ACS Omega reports that rare-earth metals in alloy powder form can produce flashes that shift from gold to green while maintaining continuous branching and sparking effects. This study is thought to be the first investigation into how such alloys expand spark colors beyond the black body limit, as well as their impact on branching behavior.

Overall, the researchers studied 11 commercial and synthesized alloys plus six rare-earth elements. They were able to achieve deep green spark segments based on eutectic ytterbium–zinc (Yb–Zn) and ytterbium–copper (Yb–Cu) powders. Once ignited, Yb–Cu burst into a shower of both gold and green sparks. In contrast to pure Yb, the Yb–Cu sparks successfully traveled outside of the flame, reaching significant lengths of 3–6 cm. The resulting effects appeared as a mixture of surface combustion (gold), vapor combustion (green flashes), and color-changing sparks with deep green and golden stages, repeating several times over.

In addition to color, the researchers demonstrated that rare-earth metal alloys could influence the branching behavior of sparks. Among the various candidates that were analyzed, the neodymium-iron-boron alloy Nd2Fe14B proved to be the most ideal and practical due to its stable phase and ability to produce bright, continuous branching effects. 

The authors conclude that binary metal alloys could one day play a vital role in enhancing the color variety and spark behavior of handheld sparklers and other pyrotechnic devices. However, further research and intensive safety testing must be conducted to ensure commercial viability.

So, as you stand under your next fireworks show or trace shapes in the cold night air with a sparkler, spare a thought for the chemists working to light up the skies and add color to our celebrations.  

To see the research in action, watch the video below created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the Original Article

Read the Full Press Release

Learn more about the chemistry of pyrotechnics in ACS journals:

  1. Ritchie, T. et al. Evolution of Medieval Gunpowder: Thermodynamic and Combustion Analysis. ACS Omega 2021, 6, 35, 22848–22856
  2. Dong, W. et al. Multidimensional Energetic Coordination Polymers as Flame Colorants: Intriguing Architecture and Excellent Performance. Cryst. Growth Des. 2022, 22, 9, 5449–5458
  3. Cao, W. et al. Access to Green Pyrotechnic Compositions via Constructing Coordination Polymers: A New Approach to the Application of 3,4-Dinitropyrazole. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 28, 32084–32095
  4. Zeman, O. Diketopyrrolopyrrole─A Greener Alternative for Pyrotechnic Smoke Compositions. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2022, 10, 14, 4788–4791
  5. Fan, S. et al. Are Environmentally Friendly Fireworks Really “Green” for Air Quality? A Study from the 2019 National Day Fireworks Display in Shenzhen. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2021, 55, 6, 3520–3529

Need a Circuit? Just Print One

This article is based on a recent paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, “Thermal Transfer-Enabled Rapid Printing of Liquid Metal Circuits on Multiple Substrates.”

Read the full paper here

As electronics evolve, their component parts—including circuits—need to as well. New research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces describes a method to print functional liquid circuitry on all manner of objects and surfaces—from smooth ceramics to the dimpled skin of an orange—using a standard laser printer.

Flexible Circuitry: Finding a Solution that Sticks

Most circuit boards used today are built with rigid materials, but as electronics become more widely incorporated in malleable products such as items of clothing or soft robots, there is now a greater need for flexible, low-cost circuitry. Liquid metal circuits have shown to be a promising solution, but current printing methods have proven to be both expensive and complex, rendering them impractical for large-scale production. Xian Huang and colleagues at Tanjin University in China began exploring a new printing approach in hopes of developing a cheaper, more efficient way of fabricating liquid metal circuits for use across many different materials.

While liquid metals have been used for a variety of applications in flexible materials and electronics, their high surface tension often leads to pattern distortion and weaker adhesive properties—making it difficult to successfully print directly on curved or uneven surfaces. To improve this process, the researchers presented a more universal technique for creating circuit patterns on thermal transfer paper using a standard desktop laser printer and Cu−Ag-EGaIn—a liquid metal obtained by melting silver−copper microparticles in a gallium−indium eutectic alloy.

Turning Any Surface Into a Circuit Board

Similar to iron-on decals for transferring photos or images onto clothing, the carbon-based toner was laid down by the laser printer and then heat-transferred to a pane of glass. The toner patterns roughened the glass and created a hydrophobic gap of air between the carbon and the Cu−Ag-EGaIn liquid metal, allowing only the exposed parts of the surface to stick to the electronic ink-based pattern when the liquid metal was brushed on top. The resulting circuit could then be mounted directly onto smooth surfaces, or, after applying a flexible polymer coating, onto rougher materials such as the bumpy skin of an orange.

Regardless of how they were attached, the simple electronics tested in the lab—which included LED displays, sound sensors, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) circuits—all functioned as intended on their underlying surfaces. These included wettable substrates such as thermoplastic polyurethane and glass as well as low-adhesion materials such as knitted fabric, paper, wood, and fruit. By demonstrating a cheaper, easier method of producing liquid metal circuits, this new technology has great potential to expand flexible circuitry across applications such as consumer electronics, health monitoring, wearable devices, and more.

Watch the video around this research created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the Full Press Release

Read the Original Article

Discover more research on liquid metals in ACS journals

  1. Kim, S. et al. Liquid-Metal-Coated Magnetic Particles toward Writable, Nonwettable, Stretchable Circuit Boards, and Directly Assembled Liquid Metal-Elastomer Conductors. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 32, 37110–37119
  2. Huang, C. et al. Soft and Stretchable Liquid Metal–Elastomer Composite for Wearable Electronics. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 33, 38196–38204
  3. Bhuyan, P. et al. Soft and Stretchable Liquid Metal Composites with Shape Memory and Healable Conductivity. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 24, 28916–28924
  4. Lopes, P.A. et al. Bi-Phasic Ag–In–Ga-Embedded Elastomer Inks for Digitally Printed, Ultra-Stretchable, Multi-layer Electronics. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 12, 14552–14561
  5. Choi, D.Y. et al. Highly Stretchable, Hysteresis-Free Ionic Liquid-Based Strain Sensor for Precise Human Motion Monitoring. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 2, 1770–1780

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 3: FAQs and Additional Resources

Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and an integral part of the overall research process. In the final part of this three-part series, we cover frequently asked questions and highlight additional chemical safety resources from ACS. If you haven’t caught up, be sure to read the full series below.

Part 1 |  Part 2 | Part 3

Frequently Asked Questions

Quote: Authors must emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.

There will undoubtedly be many questions that will arise when considering how to best structure your safety statement within the context of your manuscript.

Here, we’ve provided additional clarification for commonly asked questions when authors seek to meet the ACS requirement to “emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.”

How do I determine what classifies as a “significant” hazard or risk?

A “significant or unusual” hazard is anything that presents a major risk or requires preventative measures beyond those commonly expected to be present in a laboratory setting. Any hazards that fall within the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Category 1 classification should always be noted. Even with novel or less hazardous materials, it is always best to use discretion, perform a comprehensive risk assessment, and note any potential risks associated with your processes. It will never hurt to be as thorough as possible during this reporting step!

Which section of my manuscript should include the safety statement?

To maximize visibility and utility, it is recommended to insert your safety statement in the Experimental Materials or Methods section of your manuscript. It is also a good idea to reiterate or expand upon your safety statement in the Supporting Information section, especially if it includes any details and context related to the author’s specific experience with the hazardous materials or procedures used.

At what point in the research process should I perform a risk assessment?

The risk assessment is the second step of RAMP, and it should be conducted after you’ve identified any hazards and before you begin your experimental methods. As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, your risk assessment will be the most complex step of RAMP, but it will help inform the necessary components of your safety statement as you begin writing.

RAMP Methodology

Does my safety statement count towards my overall word limit? 

If your statement is 100 words or fewer, it will not contribute towards your final word count. Longer summaries will be handled differently by each individual journal—you can learn more about length requirements by either consulting the journal’s Author Guidelines or contacting the Editor-in-Chief’s office.

Additional Safety Resources

ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety

ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety

The ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety is a technical division of ACS and a premier source for advancing best chemical and health safety practices through authoritative technical resources and mentorship. With nearly 2,000 members, the Division provides educational tools, training, and support for chemists, educators, safety professionals, and the public.

For more information or to become a member of the Division, contact

ACS Committee on Chemical Safety

ACS Committee on Chemical Safety

The ACS Committee on Chemical Safety (CCS) was established in 1963 with the vision of fostering “a scientific community that embraces safety in all activities of the chemistry enterprise.” Through collaborative partnerships, peer-reviewed publications, tools for professional and educational use, and advisory support for other ACS committees and members, CCS is leading resource for promoting chemical and laboratory safety throughout the Society.

Visit the CCS website to learn more about the Committee and its members, explore resources, and browse upcoming events.

ACS Chemical Health & Safety

ACS Chemical Health & Safety

The journal ACS Chemical Health & Safety is a global platform for ensuring that all members of the chemical enterprise receive access to new research, safety information, regulatory updates, effective chemical hygiene practices, and hazard assessment tools. The Journal publishes high-quality articles and research appropriate for scientists, EH&S industry professionals, educators, and others who work in settings that contain chemicals or hazardous materials.

If you would like to learn more or are interested in publishing in ACS Chemical Health & Safety, visit the Journal’s website to browse the latest issue or view manuscript criteria.

ACS Center for Lab Safety

Part of the ACS Institute, the ACS Center for Lab Safety is a one-stop shop for educational resources supporting safe, ethical, and sustainable chemistry practices. From grade school classrooms to industrial laboratories, you will find training tools and learning opportunities—both in person and online— that aim to strengthen ACS’s Core Value of Safety through education.

Further Reading

Part 1: The Necessity of Communication
Part 2: Tips for a Well-Written Safety Statement
Part 3: FAQs and Additional Resources


Approaches to Understanding Human Behavior When Investigating Incidents in Academic Chemical Laboratories

Ronald W. McLeod
ACS Chem. Health Saf.
 2022, 29, 3, 263–279

Safety Data Sheets: Challenges for Authors, Expectations for End-Users
Anne DeMasi, Harry Elston, and Neal Langerman
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2022, 29, 4, 369–377

The Ten Most Common Laboratory Safety Issues
Richard Palluzi
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2022, 29, 1, 19–26

Peer Reviewed Methods/Protocols
Mary Beth Mulcahy
ACS Chem. Health Saf. 2022, 29, 1, 1–2

Periodic Table of Safety Elements
ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry: A Course
CHAS Workshops 2022-2023
CCS Publications and Resources
ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication: Communicating Safety Information

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 2: Tips for a Well-Written Safety Statement

Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and an integral part of the overall research process. In Part 2 of this three-part series, provide tips and best practices for authors to formulate a well-written safety summary statement. If you haven’t caught up, be sure to read the full series below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

How to RAMP Up Your Safety Statement

Including a clear, articulate safety summary statement in your research is vital to ensuring that others who reproduce or expand upon your work can prepare for significant hazards and conduct their own methods as safely as possible. Therefore, crafting your statement should go beyond simply writing a few lines of text—there are many important things to consider before and during the safety reporting process in your manuscript.

In Part 1 of this series, we provide an overview of RAMP, a system that guarantees laboratory safety measures are at the top of every scientist’s mind before and during experimental processes. After Recognizing significant hazards and Assessing associated risks, you can apply this information to your safety statement to help both yourself and others Minimize these risks and Prepare thoroughly for possible emergencies.1

Safety Hazard Pictograms

Credit: GHS Hazard Communication Pictograms/ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication. Click image to view full size.

This figure contains the nine pictograms established by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).2 These symbols are located on chemical containers and labels, allowing you to quickly recognize the nature and possible hazards of a chemical. Certain chemical classes are noted as being of particular concern and should always be included in your safety statement.3

It is crucial to document any reaction or process hazards as well. Some examples include elevated temperature or pressure, highly exothermic processes, oxygen/fuel mixtures that are ignitable, or any factors that could make your process more complex such as radiation or biological pathogens.3

After identifying all hazards involved in your experimental process, you must then assess any risks from these hazards. Risk assessment involves consulting authoritative resources and analyzing the available data throughout all stages of your experiment to inform the best strategies for minimizing risk. There is no denying that risk assessment is often the most lengthy and complex component of RAMP, but there is a wealth of information and resources available for you to reference along the way.

Essential safety information should outline the approaches and strategies used to minimize risks and prepare for unforeseen emergencies. Examples may include using special equipment, substituting with a less hazardous method, or, in extremely high-risk scenarios, eliminating the use of certain hazards.3

What to Include in a Safety Summary Statement: A Checklist

The checklist below contains important items to include in your safety statement as they apply to the journal, procedures, and audience.3 Other things to consider:

  • Using numbers and bullets helps compartmentalize your risks and mitigations, making your statement easier to read.
  • Know your audience—with a research audience, certain standard safety procedures are widely known, but a teaching audience might benefit from a bit more detail.
  • Be sure to cite all sources used during the risk assessment portion of your statement.
Information to Include in a Safety Summary Statement: A Checklist

Credit: ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication. Click image to view full size.

Join us on Monday, October 24 for the third and final part of our series, in which we address common questions and provide additional tools and resources for communicating safety information. In the meantime, catch up on Part 1 and explore the resources below to learn more about evaluating hazards, writing your safety statement, and the importance of chemical health and safety.


Further Reading

ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS)
Identifying and Evaluating Hazards in Research Laboratories
ACS Chemical Health & Safety
ACS Style Sheet for Writing Safety Statements

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 1: The Necessity of Communication
Sharps in the Lab: Safety Procedures
How to Make Safety a Priority Before Students Enter the Lab
The Missing Piece of the Lab Safety Puzzle
RAMP Up Your Safety Education and Practice


  1. What is RAMP? The ACS Center for Lab Safety.
  2. About the GHS. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
  3. McEwen, L. and Sigmann, S. Communicating Safety Information. ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication 2020:1.3.1–1.3.7.

Safety Information in Journal Articles Part 1: The Necessity of Communication

Safety is a core value of the American Chemical Society and an integral part of the overall research process. In this three-part series, we review the importance of disclosing safety information in journal articles; provide tips and best practices for authors to formulate a well-written safety summary statement; and share additional resources that will help authors prepare for potential safety risks associated with their research and effectively communicate them with the scientific community. Read the full series below.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The Hazard of Insufficient Safety Reporting

The importance of safety in the research laboratory is widely recognized, including maintaining awareness of potential hazards and associated risks. But what about when it comes to effectively communicating these hazards and risks1 as authors prepare their research for submission to a scientific journal?

When submitting a manuscript to an ACS journal, authors are expected to disclose potential safety hazards and other relevant information. These reporting requirements came into force in 2017,2 driven in part by a review of author guidelines across more than 720 chemistry journals—which found that only 8% mentioned safety information requirements for authors.3

The ACS Divisions of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS) and Chemical Information (CINF) along with the Committee of Chemical Safety (CCS) also conducted a survey of chemical safety in academia around the same time, and they found while most researchers were somewhat familiar with formal, industrial-level safety management processes, they rarely used them in their daily work—and few consistently shared them in their publications.4 Perhaps unsurprising, then, that a decade ago 46% of scientists had experienced some sort of injury in the lab and 30% had witnessed at least one major incident requiring medical attention.5

What Information Should be Included in a Safety Statement?

Quote: Authors must emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.

The Author Guidelines of every ACS journal state that an author “must emphasize any unexpected, new, and/or significant hazards or risks associated with the reported work.”6 If an experiment requires specialized equipment, procedures, or training beyond basic laboratory practices, the author must provide sufficient information so that others who may want to reproduce or build upon the published work can easily understand the hazards and risks involved and replicate the processes safely.

Even though a chemical may carry a “significant risk” and must be reported does not mean it cannot be used. Laboratory hazards and risks can be managed using RAMP methodology: Recognize hazards, Assess and Minimize risks, and Prepare for emergencies.7 Chemistry professionals must therefore be proficient in evaluating hazards, conducting assessments, and mitigating any identified risks. ACS recognizes this in both the Society’s Core Value of Safety and their position statement on safety in the chemical enterprise.8

RAMP Methodology

Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society

Doing What’s Right

Chemical safety is both an ethical and legal responsibility for chemistry professionals, and it is necessary for the protection of both researchers themselves and of the broader scientific community. As principal sources of chemical information, it is imperative that both authors and journals use their platforms to educate readers about inherent risks in the experiments they publish. By championing an ethical, transparent, and positive safety culture, there is hope that scientists will change how they think about safety and incorporate it as a fundamental part of their role.9

Part 2: Tips for a Well-Written Safety Statement
Part 3: FAQs and Additional Resources (coming soon!)


Further Reading

ACS Chemical Health & Safety
ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety (CHAS)
ACS Center for Lab Safety
ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry: A Course

Sharps in the Lab: Safety Procedures
How to Make Safety a Priority Before Students Enter the Lab
The Missing Piece of the Lab Safety Puzzle
RAMP Up Your Safety Education and Practice


  1. McEwen, L. and Sigmann, S. Communicating Safety Information. ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication 2020:1.3.1–1.3.7.
  2. Kemsley, J. ACS Journals Enact New Safety Policy. Chem. Eng. News 2016;94(48):7.
  3. Goode, S.R. and Grabowski, L.E. Review and analysis of safety policies of chemical journals. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2016;23(3):30–35.
  4. McEwen, L., et al. Baseline survey of academic chemical safety information practices. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2018;25(3):6–10.
  5. Nitsche, C.I. Promoting safety culture: An overview of collaborative chemical safety information initiatives. J. Chem. Health Saf. 2019;26(3):27–30.
  6. Safety Considerations. ACS Publications Author Guidelines.
  7. What is RAMP? The ACS Center for Lab Safety.
  8. Safety in the Chemistry Enterprise: ACS Position Statement.
  9. Bertozzi, C.R. Ingredients for a Positive Safety Culture. ACS Cent. Sci. 2016;2(11):764–766.

Metamorphosis in the Robot World

This article is based on a recent paper published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, “Soft Tunable Gelatin Robot with Insect-like Claw for Grasping, Transportation, and Delivery.”

Read the full paper here

Research recently published in ACS Applied Polymer Materials describes a soft, magnetic millirobot inspired by the walking and grabbing capabilities of insects. But what are we going to do with a robotic caterpillar?

Millirobots are small-scale flexible robots with unique structures that allow them to roll or inch themselves forward, making them useful for applications such as targeted drug delivery, minimally invasive surgery, small-scale manipulations, and microfluidic devices. This may include work in hard-to-reach areas such as the gastrointestinal tract, which not only requires movement and navigation using a magnetic field, but also ease of removal or degradation. Unlike traditional rigid robots, soft millirobots do not have motors or joints that allow them to perform complex tasks, and therefore need special designs and structures to achieve advanced operations. 1-10

Conventional small-scale soft magnetic robots are usually made of polydimethylsiloxane or silicone rubber. While these materials are convenient for both fabrication and control, they are non-degradable, and their fixed mechanical characteristics limit fine-tuning of the robot’s properties for various purposes. However, researchers have now created a millirobot out of soft, biodegradable materials that can grab, roll, and climb—and then dissolve after its job is done. Inspired by the grasping movement of insects and mammals, they have been able to achieve independent control and demonstrate cargo transportation by a series of continuous operations such as nipping, rolling, opening, flipping, and releasing.11

The researchers developed this caterpillar-style millirobot using a gelatin solution mixed with microparticles of iron oxide. They achieved strength and solidity by cooling and then soaking the hydrogel in ammonium sulfate to cause cross-linking. Placing the material above a permanent magnet caused the microparticles to push the gel outwards, forming insect-like legs along the lines of the magnetic field. Because the iron oxide microparticles form magnetic chains within the gel, moving a magnet caused the legs to bend and produce a claw-like grasping motion.

In experiments, the material gripped a 3D-printed cylinder and a rubber band, and it was able to carry each to new locations. The team also tested the millirobot’s ability to deliver a drug by loading its legs with a dyed solution and rolling it through a stomach model. Once at its destination, the robot unfurled and released the dye with the strategic use of magnets.

Importantly, the millirobot easily degraded in water in just 48 hours, leaving behind only the iron oxide particles—which have no magnetic torque once the magnetic field is removed. The researchers say that the new millirobot could pave the way for new methods of drug delivery and other biomedical applications.

Watch the video around this research created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the full press release on

Read the original article from ACS Applied Polymer Materials

Read more about millirobots in ACS journals

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Solid–Liquid State Transformable Magnetorheological Millirobot
Zhipeng Chen, Weibin Lu, Yuanyuan Li, Pengfei Liu, Yawen Yang, and Lelun Jiang

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Magnetic Soft Materials and Robots
Yoonho Kim and Xuanhe Zhao
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrev.1c00481

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Robust, Healable, Self-Locomotive Integrated Robots Enabled by Noncovalent Assembled Gradient Nanostructure
Yuyan Wang, Gehong Su, Jin Li, Quanquan Guo, Yinggang Miao, and Xinxing Zhang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c01375

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Visible Light-Driven Jellyfish-like Miniature Swimming Soft Robot
Chao Yin, Fanan Wei, Shihan Fu, Zhushan Zhai, Zhixing Ge, Ligang Yao, Minlin Jiang, and Ming Liu
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c13975

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Biodegradable Thermomagnetically Responsive Soft Untethered Grippers
Kunihiko Kobayashi, ChangKyu Yoon, Seung Hyun Oh, Jayson V. Pagaduan, and David H. Gracias
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b15646


  1. Sitti M, et al. Biomedical applications of untethered mobile milli/microrobots. Proc IEEE 2015;103:205–224.
  2. Yang X, et al. An agglutinate magnetic spray transforms inanimate objects into millirobots for biomedical applications. Sci Robot 2020;5:eabc8191.
  3. Nelson BJ, et al. Microrobots for minimally invasive medicine. Annu Rev Biomed Eng 2010;12:55–85.
  4. Hu W, et al. Small-scale soft-bodied robot with multimodal locomotion. Nature 2018;554:81–85.
  5. Lu H, et al. A bioinspired multilegged soft millirobot that functions in both dry and wet conditions. Nat Commun 2018;9:3944.
  6. Zheng Z, et al. Ionic shape-morphing microrobotic end-effectors for environmentally adaptive targeting, releasing, and sampling. Nat Commun 2021;12:411.
  7. Li G, et al. Transparent Magnetic Soft Millirobot Actuated by Micro-Node Array. Adv Mater Technol 2021;6:2100131.
  8. Zhang T, et al. Millimeter-Scale Soft Continuum Robots for Large-Angle and High-Precision Manipulation by Hybrid Actuation. Adv Intell Syst 2021;3:2000189.
  9. Liu JAC, et al. Photothermally and magnetically controlled reconfiguration of polymer composites for soft robotics. Sci Adv 2019;5:eaaw2897.
  10. Dong X, et al. Bioinspired cilia arrays with programmable nonreciprocal motion and metachronal coordination. Sci Adv 2020;6:eabc9323.
  11. Yang L, et al. Soft Tunable Gelatin Robot with Insect-like Claw for Grasping, Transportation, and Delivery. ACS Appl Polym Mater 2022;4(8):5431–5440.

White Teeth Without the Toothbrush

This article is based on a recent paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, “Fast Cross-Linked Hydrogel as a Green Light-Activated Photocatalyst for Localized Biofilm Disruption and Brush-Free Tooth Whitening.”

Read the full paper here

It’s not just a cliché that the first thing people notice about you is your smile: a 2010 survey found nearly half of us choose a great smile as a person’s most attractive feature.1 Furthermore, aspects of oral hygiene such as bad breath (89%) and yellow teeth (79%) took the lead for major turn-offs.1 Is there a chemistry solution for this very human problem?  

Globally, around 3.5 billion people suffer from oral diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease,2 many of which can be prevented through good oral hygiene. But traditional toothpastes remove only surface stains, and bleaching treatments can harm enamel. New research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces reports on a novel hydrogel treatment that can break apart cavity-forming biofilms and whiten teeth without damage.

Current whitening treatments combine hydrogen peroxide gels with blue light, producing a chemical reaction that removes stains but also generates reactive oxygen species that can break down enamel and potentially damage exposed skin and eyes. Researchers at Nanchang University in China wanted to find a material that could instead be activated by a safer green light to both whiten teeth and prevent cavities.

The research team designed an injectable sodium alginate hydrogel membrane doped with bismuth oxychloride and cubic cuprous oxide nanoparticles to simultaneously achieve local tooth whitening and biofilm removal through a photodynamic dental therapy process.3 This was tested ex vivo on teeth stained with coffee, tea, blueberry juice, and soy sauce. Following treatment with the hydrogel and green light, teeth got brighter over time with no damage to the enamel. Additionally, the treatment killed 94% of bacteria in biofilms.

To demonstrate efficacy in vivo, the team used the new method on mice whose mouths were inoculated with cavity-forming bacteria, and they found that the new method prevented both moderate and deep cavities forming on tooth surfaces. The researchers report that their safe, brush-free treatment both effectively prevents cavities and whitens teeth, demonstrating a promising strategy for oral health care in the future.3 

Watch the video around this research created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the full press release on

Read the original article from ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces


  1. Philips Sonicare Survey. Oral Care Love Affair: Americans Open up About Their Oral Health. 6 December 2010.
  2. World Health Organization. Oral Health Fact Sheet. 15 March 2022.
  3. Li Q, et al. Fast Cross-Linked Hydrogel as a Green Light-Activated Photocatalyst for Localized Biofilm Disruption and Brush-Free Tooth Whitening. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 2022;14(25):28427–28438.

Further reading on this topic

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A safe and effective way to whiten teeth
American Chemical Society. Press Release. 18 July 2018

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Photothermal-Enhanced Fenton-like Catalytic Activity of Oxygen-Deficient Nanotitania for Efficient and Safe Tooth Whitening
Xingyu Hu, Li Xie, Zhaoyu Xu, Suru Liu, Xinzhi Tan, Ruojing Qian, Ruitao Zhang, Mingyan Jiang, Wenjia Xie, and Weidong Tian
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c06774

Live Demonstration: ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry

Introducing ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry, a 90-minute web-based course that prepares students to start general chemistry lab with a safety-first mindset. We are hosting a live virtual event on February 23 at 2 pm EST (7 pm GMT) to demonstrate the course content and features.

In this webinar, led by ACS course developer Dr. Jessica Martin, you will explore the topics covered within the six interactive learning modules, see its accessibility features, and learn how to get access for your institution. You can also interact with the ACS team by participating in the Q&A session at the end.

ACS Essentials of Lab Safety for General Chemistry is intended for use in the introductory general chemistry laboratory sequence but may also support other science and engineering labs. It provides students with authoritative safety protocols through narrated presentation and exercises, accompanied by real-life pictures and videos. Easy assignment and assessment via LMS integration means instructors save time in developing resources and checking for understanding. Its disability-friendly format makes content available to all students anytime, anywhere via most common devices.

Register today and learn how to ensure all your students meet the ACS standard for safety preparedness.

ACS Celebrates the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022

February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day created by the United Nations to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Women and girls continue to make important contributions to chemistry, even as the COVID-19 pandemic of the past two years has proved to be measurably more disruptive for female scientists than their male counterparts.

Together with our many women editors, authors, reviewers, and readers, ACS Publications works to promote the full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. We salute the hard work of women and girls in the chemistry community, who contribute to the American Chemical Society’s mission “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”

Chemistry of Materials Virtual Issue: Resilient Women and the Resiliency of Science

This Virtual Issue highlights a collection of papers published during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chemistry of Materials by women corresponding authors. In addition, the issue Editorial features a Q&A with nine recent authors in the journal about how they define resilience and the times in which they were resilient.

ACS Energy Letters Virtual Issue Series: Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research

As part of ACS Energy Letters’ annual celebration of the contributions of women scientists, we bring you a four-part Virtual Issue series. From early career researchers to well- established senior scientists, the successful career paths they have taken to become leaders in the community have impacted energy research in a significant way. The contributions of female energy researchers who have published new advances from their laboratories in ACS Energy Letters are compiled along with their short inspirational stories. To inspire other scientists working in the field, we asked them to comment on their inspiration to engage in energy research, discuss an aha! moment in research, and/or provide advice to newcomers in the field. We hope that these personal reflections compiled in this virtual issue can motivate many young researchers to tackle challenges in clean energy.

Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research: A Virtual Issue, Parts 1 & 2

Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research: A Virtual Issue, Part 3

Women Scientists at the Forefront of Energy Research: A Virtual Issue, Part 4

Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Virtual Issue: Women in Mass Spectrometry

We have assembled this virtual issue featuring talented women mass spectrometrists who publish in Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry as the corresponding author. The articles compiled are among the most highly cited that were published in the journal in the last 5 years, regardless of gender, and are representative of the best mass spectrometry science reported in Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry.

ACS Omega Virtual Issue: Women at the Forefront of Chemistry

In this special collection, ACS Omega celebrates the contribution of women researchers who have published new advances from their groups in our journal. This Virtual Issue is guest-edited by ACS Omega’s Associate Editor, Prof. Luisa Torsi (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy), a recipient of the IUPAC 2019 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering award. The articles selected feature women at different stages of their career from around the world, in all areas of chemistry. We hope highlighting the work of these champions of chemistry will challenge stereotypes, advance progress towards full gender equality in the future, and encourage more women to pursue a career in STEM.

ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters Women in Medicinal Chemistry Special Issue

Journal of Medicinal Chemistry Women in Medicinal Chemistry Special Industry

Impactful Publications from Women in Materials, Interfaces, and Applications

ACS Applied Bio Materials
Osteogenic Potential of Additively Manufactured TiTa Alloys

Erin G. Brodie, Kye J. Robinson, Elizabeth Sigston, Andrey Molotnikov, and Jessica E. Frith


Biodegradable Breast Tissue Marker Clip

Moran Haim Zada, Zehava Gallimidi, Michal Schlesinger−Laufer, Abraham Nyska, and Abraham J. Domb


Catalyst-Free Mechanochemical Recycling of Biobased Epoxy with Cellulose Nanocrystals

Liang Yue, Kai Ke, Mehrad Amirkhosravi, Thomas G. Gray, and Ica Manas-Zloczower

ACS Applied Electronic Materials
Record-High Responsivity and Detectivity of a Flexible Deep-Ultraviolet Photodetector Based on Solid State-Assisted Synthesized hBN Nanosheets
Sushmitha Veeralingam, Lignesh Durai, Pinki Yadav, and Sushmee Badhulika
Nanospike Electrode Designs for Improved Electrical Performance in Nanoscale Organic Thin-Film Transistors
Calla M. McCulley, Xin Xu, Kelly Liang, Xiao Wang, Liang Wang, and Ananth Dodabalapur
Near-Unity Photoluminescence Quantum Yield in Blue-Emitting Cs3Cu2Br5–xIx (0 ≤ x ≤ 5)
Rachel Roccanova, Aymen Yangui, Hariharan Nhalil, Hongliang Shi, Mao-Hua Du, and Bayrammurad Saparov

ACS Applied Energy Materials
Reduced Graphene Oxide-NiO Photocathodes for p-Type Dye-Sensitized Solar Cellsv
Marco Zannotti, Elisabetta Benazzi, Lee A. Stevens, Marco Minicucci, Lawrence Bruce, Colin E. Snape, Elizabeth A. Gibson, and Rita Giovannetti
Understanding the Role of Interfaces for Water Management in Platinum Group Metal-Free Electrodes in Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells
Jiangjin Liu, Morteza Rezaei Talarposhti, Tristan Asset, Dinesh C. Sabarirajan, Dilworth Y. Parkinson, Plamen Atanassov, and Iryna V. Zenyuk
Operando X-ray Tomography Imaging of Solid-State Electrolyte Response to Li Evolution under Realistic Operating Conditions
Natalie Seitzman, Olivia F. Bird, Rory Andrykowski, Steve Robbins, Mowafak M. Al-Jassim, and Svitlana Pylypenko

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Cytotoxicity of Graphene Oxide and Graphene in Human Erythrocytes and Skin Fibroblasts
Ken-Hsuan Liao, Yu-Shen Lin, Christopher W. Macosko, and Christy L. Haynes
Decomposition of Organic Perovskite Precursors on MoO3: Role of Halogen and Surface Defects
Sofia Apergi, Christine Koch, Geert Brocks, Selina Olthof, and Shuxia Tao
Stretchable, Biocompatible, and Multifunctional Silk Fibroin-Based Hydrogels toward Wearable Strain/Pressure Sensors and Triboelectric Nanogenerators
Faliang He, Xingyan You, Hao Gong, Yun Yang, Tian Bai, Weiguo Wang, Wenxi Guo, Xiangyang Liu, and Meidan Ye

ACS Applied Nano Materials
Metal and Metal Oxide Nanoparticles to Enhance the Performance of Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)
Yuan Gao, Yingzhu Zhou, and Rona Chandrawati
Quantum Dots and Their Applications: What Lies Ahead?
Mônica A. Cotta
High-Index Core–Shell Ni–Pt Nanoparticles as Oxygen Reduction Electrocatalystsv
Gerard M. Leteba, David R. G. Mitchell, Pieter B. J. Levecque, Lebohang Macheli, Eric van Steen, and Candace I. Lang

ACS Applied Polymer Materials
Utilizing Reclaimed Petroleum Waste to Synthesize Water-Soluble Polysulfides for Selective Heavy Metal Binding and Detection

Logan Eder, Cameron B. Call, and Courtney L. Jenkins
Fundamentals and Applications of Polymer Brushes in Air
Guido C. Ritsema van Eck, Leonardo Chiappisi, and Sissi de Beer
Recent Trends in Advanced Polymer Materials in Agriculture Related Applications
Amrita Sikder, Amanda K. Pearce, Sam J. Parkinson, Richard Napier, and Rachel K. O’Reilly

ACS Central Science Editorials

In this Editorial, Achieving Gender Balance in the Chemistry Professoriate Is Not Rocket Science, Carolyn R. Bertozzi considers why it seems so hard to populate the ranks of chemistry department faculty with women.
Learn more about The Chemistry Women Mentorship Network (ChemWMN) in this piece from Brandi M. Cossairt, Jillian L. Dempsey, and Elizabeth R. Young.

OPR&D: Celebrating Women in Process Chemistry Special Issue

In recognition of a new age that embraces better gender balance and diversity in all its forms, this Special Issue of Organic Process Research & Development features a collection of papers published by women in process chemistry. Such innovative work encompasses a multitude of topics relevant for the safe, environmentally benign, and ultimately economical manufacturing of organic compounds that are required in larger amounts to help address the needs of society across the globe. Read a related Virtual Issue on Celebrating Women in Organic Chemistry

Bioconjugate Chemistry: Women in Bioconjugate Chemistry: Celebrating Women Scientists

In the spirit of celebrating women who are collaborating across disciplines, developing new understanding and new ideas, publishing groundbreaking research in our journal and in all the journals beyond ours, and not letting the trappings of other people’s expectations and assumptions define what is possible, Bioconjugate Chemistry is happy to present the “Women in Bioconjugate Chemistry: Celebrating Women Scientists” Virtual Issue.

Journal of Chemical Information Modeling : Advancing Women in Chemistry Call for Papers

Following the response to and impact of JCIMs May 2019 special issue on  Women in Computational Chemistry addressing the issue of gender disparity in science, JCIM is launching a new call for papers for a special issue on “Advancing Women in Chemistry.” This special issue aims to raise awareness for addressing and closing the gender gap in chemical sciences.

ACS Symposium Series eBook: Addressing Gender Bias in Science & Technology

A recent addition to the ACS Symposium Series, Addressing Gender Bias in Science & Technology walks readers through this important subject by using supporting data to define the challenges and then discussing ways to dismantle barriers and respond to gender biases. With solutions backed by research, this work will be useful for those working in all science and technology fields. Read more here.

A New ACS Guide Chapter: ACS Inclusivity Style Guide

The ACS Inclusivity Style Guide, a new open-access chapter added to the ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication, helps readers learn to communicate in ways that recognize and respect diversity in all its forms. The chapter includes recommended language on gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, disabilities and disorders, and more. It offers important context for each topic, including the background behind each recommendation and links to valuable resources. Because language is ever-evolving, the guide will be updated over time to reflect changes in language and to incorporate new topics. Read the chapter here.

ACS Wishes You a Happy Year of the Tiger

American Chemical Society CEO Dr. Thomas M. Connelly has prepared a special message on behalf of everyone at ACS, wishing you and your families the very best health and happiness as you celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The past year has been one of difficulty as the pandemic continues. But it was also a year of incredible collaboration between ACS and Chinese authors, reviewers, and institutions. ACS would like to thank our colleagues and partners throughout Asia for their excellent work and wish them a happy and prosperous Year of the Tiger.