What's Hot In Chemistry> 2011

Year: 2011

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 Thomson Reuters 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 2011

Superconductors, Solar Cells Appearing in New Films

by John Emsley

COOKIESInterest in iron-based superconductors continues, as evinced by citations to a report on an iron selenide compound in which the superconductivity increases under pressure. Solar cells are also keeping researchers busy, including a team that describes a roll-to-roll technique in the production of “printed” solar cells. Another solar-cell group reports on a new solution-processed film that successfully conducts without the problems usually associated with conducting polymers.
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2011

Oxide-Coated Nanoparticles Applied to SERS, with Love

by John Emsley

(a) below: Raman spectrum of liquid 2-mercaptoethanol and (b) above: SERS spectrum of 2-mercaptoethanol monolayer formed on roughened silver. SERS measurement was carried out for metal substrate immersed in a 10 mM 2-mercaptoethanol aqueous solution. Spectra are scaled and shifted for clarity.The latest manifestation of graphene’s current dominance of the Chemistry Top Ten is a paper discussing hybrid nanocrystals of titanium dioxide and graphene, fashioned into so-called functionalized graphene sheets that proved capable of serving as electrodes for a lithium-ion battery. Another hot chemistry report centers on gold nanoparticles and their application in greatly increasing the sensitivity of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy.
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JULY/AUGUST 2011

Screens of Carbon and Yttrium, and Screening for SilveR

by John Emsley

A monocrystalline solar cellA team of researchers reports a means of mass-producing 30-inch-wide strips of graphene, resulting in a material that is sufficiently transparent, adhesive, and conductant to serve in touch-screen electronics and other applications. Another highly cited chemistry paper examines the genotoxicity and cytotoxicity of silver nano-particles, which are now placed in some items of clothing and in household products.
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MAY/JUNE 2011

Fuelling the Future with PTB and PCBM

by John Emsley

Examples of organic photovoltaic materials. From the Wiki Commons.Materials scientists continue to develop organic photovoltaic compounds for use in solar cells. These compounds include polymers with thienothiophene and benzodithiophene units along their chains, collectively given the acronym PTB. Some polymer compounds have achieved energy-conversion efficiency at rates of upwards of 8%, a figure that researchers are striving to improve as these compounds move toward viability as alternatives to inorganic materials.
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MARCH/APRIL 2011

Palladium(III), An Unusual State for Chemical Catalysis

by John Emsley

Figure of Graphene, from the Wiki Commons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Graphen.jpg).A team of chemists has reported an advance with the use of palladium as a catalyst in the formation of carbon-chlorine, carbon-bromine, and carbon-oxygen bonds, with the discovery that the palladium, in contrast to its typical catalytic actions, operates via an unusual oxidative state, designated palladium(III). This observation has stimulated fresh investigation into palladium catalysis and a new impetus to develop commercial applications.
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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

Recharge Your Gadgets in Minutes? A Step Closer

by John Emsley

Gerbrand CederAdvances in the technology of rechargeable batteries include recent work on lithium iron phosphate, a material which, when properly synthesized, can speed lithium ions more than a hundred times faster than in a conventional lithium battery. Many engineering challenges remain to be solved, but the material points the way to a time when cell phones, computers, and electronic appliances will take only minutes to recharge.
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