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WHAT'S HOT IN... CHEMISTRY - 2009

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 2009

More on MOFs: Frameworks For Storing Future Fuels
by John Emsley

Researchers continue to develop metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, which are nanostructures whose extensive cavities are well suited to storing large volumes of gases such as hydrogen and methane. In one instance of recent research, MOFs based on an anthracene derivative have shown effectiveness in storing methane, raising the possibility that the gas may find wide usage as a practical vehicle fuel.
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September/October 2009

Encouraging Good Chemistry Between Aromatic Couples
by John Emsley

Chemistry involving the C-H bond, and specifically arenes, which are molecules containing aromatic rings, recently got a boost from the development of a palladium-based catalyst that increases the efficiency and yield of cross-coupling reactions between aromatic compounds. Such work could find important commercial applications, given that linked arene groups figure into the chemistry of light-emitting diodes, liquid crystals, and pharmaceutical compounds.
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July/August 2009

Power Shirts from Kevlar Polymer Plus Zinc Oxide
by John Emsley

The latest batch of Top Ten papers in nanochemistry includes a report on the creation of graphene sheets via the reduction of graphite oxide, and another on using nanowires on zinc oxide in the creation of fabric in which microfibers rub against one another, creating an electric current. These fabrics may one day find application in garments that will harness the movements of the wearer in providing a power source. The authors are also pursuing nanogenerators that create energy from the action of muscles.
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May/June 2009

Surprising Steps Forward in Solar Cells Thanks to Nano Chemistry
by John Emsley

Recent research in chemistry has demonstrated the utility of nanomaterials—specifically, silicon and titanium dioxide—in improving the performance of miniature solar cells. Arrangements employing nanowires or nanotubes have the potential to power microelectronic systems, and chemists and materials scientists are experimenting with various structures, such as silicon nanowires, to improve efficiency and to fully understand the electronic dynamics in these systems.
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March/April 2009

Amid Glut of Superconductivity, Gold Shines Through
by John Emsley

Among chemistry's recent Hot Papers, gold has played a prominent role. One study employed X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of a gold nanoparticle. In other investigations, gold-based catalysts served to provide high yields of desired products such as ventircosene, azepines, and other compounds. Gold is now finding wider application in chemical synthesis and nanotechnology.
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January/February 2009

A Neat Little Trick Doubles Plastic Solar-Cell Efficiency
by John Emsley

Materials scientists have succeeded in increasing the efficiency of solar cells based on polymers. The timely addition of alkane diothols to the photovoltaic-film solution was found to nearly double the power-conversion efficiency. Much remains to be learned about the arrangements of the molecular components of these systems, but such knowledge will be critical for a future based on renewable energy and free of power based on fossil fuels.
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