“The more, the merrier” is true for most occasions, but for catalysts, sometimes having less is beneficial, especially when it comes to using platinum and other costly metals. Two EFRCs show how less expensive metals can be used in catalysts without sacrificing performance.
The problem with contemporary nuclear waste storage is the same problem with any container: it can get damaged. One way of fixing this problem is not to focus on the containers themselves, but instead think about the actual form the waste is in. Two centers are finding answers.
Chemistry is like a puzzle, where the right equations, laws, and, of course, exceptions to those laws must fit in order to put the pieces together. Solving these puzzles fascinated Samantha Johnson in high school and inspired her to pursue a career in science.
During plant growth, specific enzymes let cellulose fibers get longer and wider. Understanding this growth process could lead to new ways to gather and break cellulose into the precursors of biofuels.
New batteries that last longer and charge in about the same amount of time as it takes to fill the car’s gas tank could change the face of transportation. Seeing what happens inside a battery while it charges or powers vehicles has been a challenge. Until now.
What if waste water could be turned into hydrogen fuel? The problem is that it is tough to split water, until new catalysts were discovered that help make hydrogen production more efficient and cost-effective.
Water bottles. X-ray films. Curtains. The connection? These materials all require the chemical para-xylene, but separating it from two similarly sized chemicals requires heat. Scientists wanted a more energy-efficient option.
In a clever tango with water, oxygen atoms traverse across a gold catalyst’s surface. The steps in that dance can teach us a lot about designing ultra-efficient catalysts.
Jenny G. Vitillo
Scientists are looking for fast, efficient ways to snap together short molecules from renewable resources to create energy-dense fuels, but they need to avoid uphill reactions. Scientists calculated possible synthesis routes to pick the easiest ones.
One of my favorite lines in this newsletter is from Samantha Johnson, an early career scientist profiled by Natasha Pence. Samantha said: “The best science happens among friends.” Science is a highly collaborative endeavor, and it helps to work with people who are truly generous and compassionate. In reading the articles, you’ll see how teams worked together to find answers about growing biofuel crops, operating batteries, separating valuable chemicals without heat, and catalyzing reactions. You’ll also see how editorial board members worked with sources at centers to provide a broader view of radiation, nuclear energy, and catalytic pathways. I hope you enjoy these articles and your summer includes time among friends. Kristin Manke, Editor-in-Chief
- Andrea Bruck, Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties (m2M)
- Bor-Rong Chen, Center for Next Generation of Materials Design (CNGMD)
- David Dan, Center for Actinide Science & Technology (CAST)
- Amanda Filie, Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis (IMASC)
- Patricia Huestis, Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM)
- Kenneth Madsen, Center for Electrochemical Energy Science (CEES)
- Amin Makarem, Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF)
- Angela Norton, Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI)
- Natasha Pence, Center for Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis (BETCy)
- Emily Sahadeo, Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES)
- Jenny G. Vitillo, Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center (ICDC)