Compounds break bonds holding dangerous pollutants together
Everything from the manufacture of new materials to the creation of modern medications relies on chemicals known as metal-based catalysts. Catalysts pack a double punch: Even as they greatly increase the rate of chemical processes, they regenerate so they can be used again. Catalysts also can be designed to break or make powerful chemical bonds at one end of a molecule while leaving the other end to sit quietly inactive. For this reason, many chemists -- particularly, inorganic chemists who often study metals and their reactivity -- are on a continuing quest for new catalysts.
At The Johns Hopkins University, researchers have developed a new set of molecules that has the potential to catalyze a wide variety of chemical reactions, including -– but not limited to -– the cleanup of common but quite dangerous groundwater pollutants called organohalides. Scientists will announce their results in late August at the American Chemical Societys annual summer meeting, held this year in Philadelphia.
"Organohalides comprise a high percentage of the priority pollutants as registered by the EPA, so this is a pretty important advance," said David P. Goldberg, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins. "In addition, our molecules have the potential to catalyze a number of other reactions important in the synthesis of specialty chemicals for industry."
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