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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.