Research News: Blueprint outlined to add in ‘fail-safes’ for science publishing

Two prominent researchers that have frequently written about science’s reproducibility problem have suggested seven key reforms that they say will improve the reliability of scientific publications.

Writing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Arturo Casadevall of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the US and Ferric Fang of the University of Washington say the reliability of the scientific literature is ‘of the utmost importance to society’. ‘However, in recent years, rising numbers of retracted articles, reproducibility problems and inappropriately duplicated images have increased concern that the scientific literature is unreliable,’ the pair write.

Posted: 2018-09-12

Research News: Molecule undergoes unprecedented topology switch from Möbius aromatic to Hückel anti-aromatic when immersed in polar solvent

Three-component reversible π-system switching between 28π Möbius cross-conjugated, 28π Hückel macrocyclic and 26π Hückel cross-conjugated π-systems by solvent-dependent topological or redox interconversions

Scientists in Japan have developed a system that can switch its topology from being Möbius to Hückel and back again. Not only was this type of reversible switch unexpected, it could also be triggered by external stimuli such as a polar solvent. 

A cyclic molecule is Möbius aromatic if it has [4n]π electrons and anti-aromatic (destabilised) if it has [4n+2]π electrons. The opposite is true of Hückel systems – a system with [4n+2] conjugated electrons is aromatic and a [4n]π electron system is anti-aromatic. Aromaticity brings stability, so you would expect [28]hexaphyrins – having [4n]π electrons – to adopt an aromatic Möbius topology. 

Schematic representation of reversible π-system switching between hexaphyrins 5a, 5b, and 6

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry

Posted: 2018-09-12

Research News: Macrocycles power up carbon nanotubes

Interlocked molecules tune the electronic properties of nanotubes, allowing researchers to control their catalytic activity

Carbon nanotubes are a green alternative to metallic catalysts. However, tuning their activity relies on difficult and invasive chemical processes that normally damage the nanotubes’ structure. Now, only a few years after reporting the first mechanically interlocked nanotube derivatives, Emilio Pérez and his team at the IMDEA Nanoscience Institute in Madrid, Spain, have envisioned how to use these non-covalent modifications to power up the catalytic activity of carbon nanotubes.

An illustration depicting positive and negative regulation of carbon nanotube catalysts through encapsulation within macrocycles

Posted: 2018-09-12

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