In 1839 the first ever hydrogen fuel cell was created. It was already well known that when enough energy was put into water it could be broken into the hydrogen and oxygen that form it. One William Robert Grove had the idea that if hydrogen and oxygen could be recombined with an electrolyte present to reproduce the water but also gain a flow of charge. Now vehicles can be fuelled with hydrogen but there is a catch. How is the least dense element going to be contained in a reasonable volume. It could be cooled into a liquid but this doesn’t seem practical for a car or perhaps out under high pressure but there are quite a lot of safety concerns about putting high pressure tanks in road vehicles. One of the suggestions that is being looked into is that of using metal hydrides as a way of chemically storing hydrogen by reacting it with a metal from which it can be extracted when used in the car.
If you were to ask any child for a method of cleaning water then filtering is probably the answer they would give. A step up from a piece of filter paper is a membrane which only allows water or water sized particles through while resisting others. Separation by membrane is a very useful process as it is nontoxic, requires little energy input and can be easily up sized for different water quantities. Unfortunately, like with all filters, the impurities and contaminants will remain on the membrane if not treated and severely limits the practical applications of such membranes. What is required is a membrane that has some way of cleaning itself, hopefully during the process.
The octet rules from chemistry is the idea that chemicals, when they react, will always try to gain eight electrons in their outer shell, as this is similar the noble gases and is the most stable configuration (in most cases). You can get free radicals floating around which are atoms or molecules that have unpaired electron but these radicals are very reactive and will quickly react to stabilise.
Carbon is known to form many different allotropes such as the nice variety shown on the right (a-diamond, b-graphite, c-Lonsdaleite, d-buckminsterfullerene, e-Fullerite, f-C70, g-amorphous carbon and h-carbon nanotube). Due to the ability to form four strong covalent bonds structures like diamond are very tough due to the tetrahedral formation. The other common arrangement, which can be seen in b, d, e, f and h, is the hexagonal ring with occasional help from the pentagonal ring. An interesting fact of 3D geometry is that any plane of regular hexagons (that are, of course, tessellating) can be bent into three dimensions and form a closed surface by adding just 12 pentagons to the structure.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is the process of injecting a radioactive dye into a human’s so that when it decays positrons (positive electrons) are emitted which can be used to learn about what might have gone wrong in the body. Often the dye is in fact glucose with the radioactive component attached so it will easily be absorbed into the blood and transferred around the body to the locations of interest. One of the other options is to use a metal ion as many of these are also required by the body and so accepted willingly. This study is looking primarily at copper (Cu) and the possibility of using it as the radioactive dye.
Due to resonant electrons in metals surfaces, nanoparticles of noble metals are able to absorb a large proportion of incoming light. For gold and silver nanoparticles the resonant frequency, and therefore the frequency where the absorption takes place, is located squarely in the visible spectrum making them the target or various research projects. The other main effect of metal nanoparticles is the increased electric field strength near the particles surface. For photoluminescent dyes, these electric fields have been shown to either severely mitigate or greatly enhance the dyes effects.
Cloud droplets and ice crystals; water in rocks and in oil fields; liquids in the body and in biological processes, these are all examples of water existing, completely encapsulated, in a hydrophobic environment. To be able to understand and predict the activity of the water droplets it is essential to know the dynamics of the water to hydrophobic interface on the nano and micro length scales. Understanding the reactivity of water suspended in air is quite an important thing to know in atmospheric science but up to this point the properties of the surfaces on a molecular level have been predicted by looking at macroscopic interface which is quite a poor indicator. There is another method that involves dissolving the hydrophobic molecules into an aqueous environment but the conditions differ wildly in chemistry and size to the droplet surfaces presented in nature.