The periodic table of elements, all 111 of them, just got a little competition. A new discovery by a University of Missouri-Columbia research team, published in Angewandte Chemie, the journal of the German Society of Chemists, allows scientists to manipulate a molecule discovered 50 years ago in such as way as to give the molecule metal-like properties, creating a new, "pseudo" element. The pseudo-metal properties can be adjusted for a wide range of uses and might change the way scientists think about attacking disease or even building electronics.
Five decades ago, Fred Hawthorne, professor of radiology and director of the International Institute for Nano and Molecular Medicine at MU, discovered an extremely stable molecule consisting of 12 boron atoms and 12 hydrogen atoms. Known as "boron cages," these molecules were difficult to change or manipulate, and sat dormant in Hawthorne's laboratory for many years.
Recently, Hawthorne's scientific team found a way to modify these cages, resulting in a large, new family of nano-sized compounds. In their study, which was published this month, Hawthorne, and Mark Lee, assistant professor at the institute and first author of the study, found that attaching different compounds to the cages gave them the properties of many different metals.
"Since the range of properties for these pseudo-metals is quite large, they might be referred to as 'psuedo-elements belonging to a completely new pseudo-periodic table,'" Lee said.
Potential applications of this discovery are abundant, especially in medicine.
"All living organisms are essentially a grand concert of chemical reactions involving the transfer of electrons between molecules and metals," Lee said. "The electron transfer properties of this new family of molecules span the entire range of those found within living systems. Because of this, these pseudo-metals may be tuned for use as specific probes in living systems to detect or treat disease at the earliest state."
In addition, because the compounds possess such a wide range of flexibility, they might have ramifications for nanotechnology and various kinds of electronics.
"This single discovery could open entirely new fields of study because of the controlled variability of the compounds," Lee said. "We have the ability to change the properties of these pseudo-metals, which gives us the opportunity to tailor them to our needs, whether that is biomedical, chemical or electronic applications, some of which may utilize nanoscience."
Christian Basi | EurekAlert!
What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society
Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy