Scientists from the Universities of Bath and Cambridge have developed a new, green synthetic route for cerium oxide (ceria) – an important component in catalytic converters and solid oxide fuel cells – using neutron diffraction to determine the mechanism of reaction.
Minimising payload is vital in aviation and space applications, and one option is to replace conventional inorganic electronics with organic-based devices. Organic semiconductors, in particular, are carbon-based materials that combine the excellent mechanical characteristics of organic materials, being robust, flexible and lightweight, with the optoelectronic properties of semiconducting systems. However, any electronics used in space or high in the atmosphere are subject to bombardment by cosmic rays, which can generate neutrons that cause damage through neutron-nucleus collisions.
Scientists have identified a potential new target for the development of anticancer drugs against metastatic breast cancer. In a novel series of experiments, whole human cells were analysed with neutrons for the first time and the results revealed that the water within cells responded to the widely used chemotherapy drug, cisplatin. This study highlights the potential of intracellular water as an additional target for the development of new anticancer drugs, which could lead to higher efficiency, fewer cases of acquired resistance and less deleterious secondary drug effects in the treatment of breast cancer.
Photochemistry is a chemical reaction caused by the absorption of light (photons). It underpins a large range of important biological and industrial processes, from photosynthesis in plants through a host of chemical engineering applications – for example, the manufacture of the antimalarial drug artemisinin. Excitations in molecules also play a key role in devices – for example organic LEDs and organic photovoltaic cells. However, the fundamental science that underpins many of the photophysical and photochemical processes is not understood on the atomic scale.