The research, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will further understanding of how to control chemical reactions and will influence improvements in a range of important processes from the design of biopharmaceuticals to the engineering of new catalysts, enabling scientists, for example, to develop products in more environmentally friendly ways.
The Liverpool team created a porous crystal which has 'walls' of atoms and cavities which act as containers for molecules. They used this crystal to accommodate a set of molecules as they took part in a chemical reaction similar to reactions by enzymes and proteins to regulate and keep alive living systems.
The crystal was put into a powerful X-ray diffraction machine at Daresbury laboratory, Warrington. This allowed scientists to pinpoint precisely the positions of individual atoms, providing snapshots of their movement. Because the reaction was carried out within the cavities of the crystal, the team was able to locate the positions of the atoms both before and after the reaction. This is the first time that the positions of atoms both at the beginning and the end of a chemical process have been seen.
Professor Matthew Rosseinsky explains: "To design more efficient processes which run with less waste and less energy input, scientists need a better understanding of the way in which atoms move during chemical reactions. We designed a robust structure that remained stable when a chemical reaction occurred inside its walls – a structure with an opening the same size as a single molecule of aspirin. The X-ray experiment then allowed us to see how the entire structure changed during the chemical process.
"Chemical reactions are essential in key manufacturing methods and in maintaining life in living systems and so this new research could influence the understanding of a wide range of important processes. This includes the chemical reactions involved in the production of anti-cancer drugs as well as reactions which allow biological molecules in plants and animals to convert food into energy."
Samantha Martin | EurekAlert!
Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells
12.12.2018 | Universität Basel
Smelling the forest – not the trees
12.12.2018 | Universität Konstanz
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine
12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine