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WHAT'S HOT IN... CHEMISTRY - 2008

The Top Ten lists in Chemistry feature papers published during the last two years (excluding review articles) that were most cited in current journal articles indexed by Clarivate Analytics during a recent two-month period. Papers are ranked according to the latest bimonthly citation count. The articles below are accompanied by expert discussion and analysis (including comments from the papers’ authors) written by one of four veteran scientist-journalists and longtime ScienceWatch.com contributors.


November/December 2008

Inorganic Solids with Remarkable Electronic Properties
by John Emsley

Inorganic solids proved to be of interest to chemists during the latest bimonthly period. One highly cited paper describes a lanthanum oxide iron arsenide superconductor, a development contradicting the conventional wisdom that iron is unsuited for such purposes. Another paper describes a "nanogenerator," a tiny device that produces a current by harnessing the brushing of nanowires against an electrode.
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September/October 2008

Water Flows Through Nanotubes at an Impossibly Rapid Rate
by John Emsley

Recent research on carbon nanotubes has produced membranes that permit the transport of water and gas molecules at very high speed—technology that might one day assist in desalinating seawater for drinking, thus addressing the world’s pressing shortage of fresh water.
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July/August 2008

Materials Scientists Harness Viruses for Battery Power
by John Emsley

A team of materials scientists at MIT has successfully used a virus to grow nanowires to serve as anodes in a lithium battery, just one example of the team’s harnessing of biological organisms and processes in the synthesis of new materials.
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May/June 2008

Sound Chemical Research: Control of Stereo Centers
by John Emsley

Chemists have made recent advances in the use of non-toxic organocatalysts that have demonstrated utility in initiating cascade-like, precisely controllable chemical reactions.
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March/April 2008

Beating Cancers to Death with Nanorods of Gold
by John Emsley

Chemists have experimented successfully with using gold nanorods to image and destroy cancer cells. Once in place in tissue, the nanorods scatter electrons in a fashion that aids in probing and imaging cancer cells, and when near-infrared light is applied to the nanorods, the localized heating is sufficient to destroy cancer cells in the vicinity.
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January/February 2008

Using Gold-Based Catalysts to Make Chemistry Greener
by John Emsley

By developing and using catalysts based on gold and palladium, a group of chemists has demonstrated solvent-free oxidation of primary alcohols into aldehydes, in a safer and more environmentally friendly process compared to earlier methods.
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