Promethium bound: Rare earth element’s secrets exposed

Scientists have uncovered the properties of a rare earth element that was first discovered 80 years ago at the very same laboratory, opening a new pathway for the exploration of elements critical in modern technology, from medicine to space travel.

UC Irvine-led research team discovers new property of light

Irvine, Calif., May 6, 2024 – A research team headed by chemists at the University of California, Irvine has discovered a previously unknown way in which light interacts with matter, a finding that could lead to improved solar power systems, light-emitting diodes, semiconductor lasers and other technological advancements.

DOE’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program Selects 86 Outstanding U.S. Graduate Students

The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science has selected 86 graduate students representing 31 states and Puerto Rico for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program’s 2023 Solicitation 2 cycle.

Testing environmental water to monitor COVID-19 spread in unsheltered encampments

To better understand COVID-19’s spread during the pandemic, public health officials expanded wastewater surveillance. These efforts track SARS-CoV-2 levels and health risks among most people, but they miss people who live without shelter, a population particularly vulnerable to severe infection.

Recyclable Reagent and Sunlight Convert Carbon Monoxide into Methanol

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC) have demonstrated the selective conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into methanol using a cascade reaction strategy. The two-part process is powered by sunlight, occurs at room temperature and at ambient pressure, and employs a recyclable organic reagent that’s similar to a catalyst found in natural photosynthesis.

Is food waste the key to sustainable, plastic-free diapers and sanitary pads?

Many disposable diapers and sanitary pads contain plastic and need centuries to decompose. Now, researchers are replacing the plastic with parts made from food waste. That could lead to biodegradable diapers and pads that could be used as fertilizer. They’ll present their results at ACS Spring 2024.

Toxic metal particles can be present in cannabis vapes even before the first use

Vapes are thought to be a “safer” way to consume cannabis, but they present their own risks. Researchers have discovered toxic metal particles in vaping liquids even before first use of the device, and this toxicity was worse in illicit products. They will present their results at ACS Spring 2024.

New composite decking could reduce global warming effects of building materials

Building materials are major contributors to global carbon dioxide emissions. So scientists have designed a composite decking material that stores more carbon dioxide than is required to manufacture it, providing the first “carbon-negative” option. They will present their results at ACS Spring 2024.

Highways through historically redlined areas likely cause air pollution disparities today

Historically “redlined” areas – neighborhoods with primarily Black or immigrant communities – are exposed to more air pollution than other urban neighborhoods. According to research published in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology, the cause could relate to nearby highways or industrial parks.

Membrane Technology: Looking Deep into Smallest Pores

Membranes of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VaCNT) can be used to clean or desalinate water at high flow rate and low pressure. Recently, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and partners carried out steroid hormone adsorption experiments to study the interplay of forces in the small pores. They found that VaCNT of specific pore geometry and pore surface structure are suited for use as highly selective membranes. The researchers report in Nature Communications. (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-44883-2)

New process allows full recovery of starting materials from tough polymer composites

In a win for chemistry, inventors at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have designed a closed-loop path for synthesizing an exceptionally tough carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer and later recovering all of its starting materials.