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Better catalysts, made-to-order

Scientists have taken a big step toward the rational design of catalysts

16-Feb-2015

Most of our food, medicine, fuel, plastics and synthetic fibers wouldn't exist without catalysts, materials that open favorable pathways for chemical reactions to run forth. And yet chemists don't fully understand how most catalysts work, and developing new catalysts often still depends on ...

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Scientists get first glimpse of a chemical bond being born

A fundamental advance has big implications for making chemistry more efficient

16-Feb-2015

Scientists have used an X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to get the first glimpse of the transition state where two atoms begin to form a weak bond on the way to becoming a molecule. This fundamental advance, reported Feb. 12 in Science Express and ...

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New catalyst uses light to convert nitrogen to ammonia

Method could lead to more environmentally friendly fertilizer production

06-Feb-2015

Northwestern University scientists are the first to develop a catalyst that can perform a remarkable feat found only in nature: take nitrogen from the air and turn it into ammonia under natural conditions. No high temperatures or pressure required. Driven by light, the new method offers promise ...

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Cheap and abundant chemical outperforms precious metals as a catalyst

06-Feb-2015

A team of Caltech chemists has discovered a method for producing a group of silicon-containing organic chemicals without relying on expensive precious metal catalysts. Instead, the new technique uses as a catalyst a cheap, abundant chemical that is commonly found in chemistry labs around the ...

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Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals

01-Dec-2014

New catalysts designed and investigated by Tufts University School of Engineering researchers and collaborators from other university and national laboratories have the potential to greatly reduce processing costs in future fuels, such as hydrogen. The catalysts are composed of a unique structure ...

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Secrets of enzyme used to make popular anti-cholesterol drug

15-May-2014

In pharmaceutical production, identifying enzyme catalysts that help improve the speed and efficiency of the process can be a major boon. Figuring out exactly why a particular enzyme works so well is an altogether different quest. Take the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin. First marketed ...

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Breakthrough harnesses light for controlled chemical reaction

Dual-catalyst technique controls 'handedness' of product

28-Apr-2014

When chemist Tehshik Yoon looks out his office window, he sees a source of energy to drive chemical reactions. Plants "learned" to synthesize chemicals with sunlight eons ago; Yoon came to the field a bit more recently. In the journal Science, he and three collaborators detail a way to use ...

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Halving hydrogen

First view of nature-inspired catalyst after ripping hydrogen apart provides insights for better, cheaper fuel cells

25-Apr-2014

Like a hungry diner ripping open a dinner roll, a fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen into electricity must tear open a hydrogen molecule. Now researchers have captured a view of such a catalyst holding onto the two halves of its hydrogen feast. The view confirms previous hypotheses and ...

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New way to upgrade natural gas

Discovery may impact natural gas use in the US

17-Mar-2014

America's current energy boom may take a new direction thanks to the discovery of a new way to turn raw natural gas into upgraded liquid alcohol fuel. In the issue of Science magazine, chemists from Brigham Young University and The Scripps Research Institute detail a process that could reduce ...

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Good vibes for catalytic chemistry

A way to make better catalysts for meds, industry and materials

14-Mar-2014

University of Utah chemists discovered how vibrations in chemical bonds can be used to predict chemical reactions and thus design better catalysts to speed reactions that make medicines, industrial products and new materials. "The vibrations alone are not adequate, but combined with other ...

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