Sunday, 10 February 2013

Nano Star Wars

The first cover from the past to make the list is a blockbuster from Angewandte Chemie.

Nano Star Wars AngewandteThe Force is strong with this one

The Death Star is being attacked by the Rebel Alliance which appears to be using its new range of hydrazine based spacecraft. Eye-catching and certain to draw attention as the cover is based on an already iconic image.

An A-wing hydrazine ship (not the Rebels' best) can be upgraded to an X-wing (the pride of their fleet) by the simple addition of nickel ions. Now why didn’t Admiral Ackbar think of this earlier? Armed with these ion blasters the hydrazine ships swoop down into the Empire’s stronghold reacting with the innocent platinum nanoparticles imprisoned within.

An interesting analogy here, which begs the question of whether the authors have actually seen Star Wars. But nevertheless a smart reimagining of a classic tale. Personally however, I think I’ll stick to the original for my film of choice.

Science-fiction to science-fact

The paper: Highly Active Nanoreactors: Nanomaterial Encapsulation Based on Confined Catalysis
Found at: Angew.Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 3877–3882 

Things may seem more exciting when high powered laser beams are being used, but reality is often no less interesting. Back on Earth, the research presented here does illustrate the use of nanoreactors for confined and controlled catalysis. Hydrazine reduces the nickel ions and the encapsulated platinum nanoparticles catalyse the formation of metallic nickel. The hollow, porous silica nanocapsules provide the perfect environment for a confined reaction, allowing dynamic exchange of the reagents without loss of catalytic activity.

With nanoparticles forming nanocapsules as nanoreactors enclosing nanocrystals for the production of nanomaterials, this paper surely deserves the prize for the most excessive use of the prefix nano.

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