Chemistry news, articles, and more

Depletion of the Ozone Layer in the 21st Century

A paper in Angewandte Chemie suggests that models predict that climate change will lead to an accelerated recovery of the ozone layer. However, reliable predictions are complicated by the ozone-depleting effect of N2O. If emissions of this greenhouse gas remain at current levels, by 2050 they could account for 30% of the ozone-destroying effects of chlorofluorocarbons at their peak.1

It is concluded that "the regulation of N2O levels in the atmosphere is not only important for the protection of Earth's climate (Kyoto Protocol) but also for the future evolution of the stratospheric ozone layer (Montreal Protocol). A reduction of N2O emissions would decrease the anthropogenic greenhouse effect and it would have a positive impact on the recovery of the ozone layer."

Royal Society Digital Journal Archive Free from 23 Nov to 28 Feb 2010

Royal Society Digital Journal Archive Free from 23 Nov to 28 Feb 2010

The year "2010 is going to be a very special year at the Royal Society. As the worlds oldest science academy, we are looking forward to celebrating our 350th anniversary and to mark this special occasion we are making our digital archive containing more than 65,000 articles free to access.

The Royal Society Digital Journal Archive is easily the most comprehensive archive in science and contains some of the most significant scientific papers ever published. Covering almost 350 years of scientific research across the disciplines it is a priceless academic resource, free and exclusive to our journal package subscribers."

The complete archive is available online at and is free as part of one of the Royal Society's journal subscription packages.

Independent Verification of Element 114 (ununquadium)

Workers in the USA verify the production of element 114 in the reaction of 244-MeV 48Ca with 242Pu. Two chains of time- and position-correlated decays were assigned to 286114 and 287114. The observed decay modes, half-lives, and decay energies agree with the original claims of researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna in Russia. The Russian results were first reported in 1999. Such independent verification is vital for verification purposes. The measured cross sections at a center-of-target energy of 244 MeV for the 242Pu(48Ca,3–4n)287,286114 reactions were 1.4(+3.2, -1.2) pb each, which are lower than the reported values.1

IAEA Analysis of Uranium Supply to 2050

The IAEA is the world's centre of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world's "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.

The IAEA has published "Analysis of Uranium Supply to 2050". The document's foreword comments "It has been nearly a decade since the IAEA prepared its forecast of uranium supply to 2035. Since the preparation of that study uranium supply has become more complex, and the uranium mining and milling industry has changed dramatically. The importance of the secondary, or non-production, supply has increased, while becoming more diversified. Therefore it was essential that a new analysis be completed to provide the information required for making strategic decisions related to nuclear power and its fuel supply. This study should be useful for government and industry planners, policy and decision makers, and project managers. Potential users include both consumers and producers of nuclear fuel."

Might future fuel cells be nickel based?

There seems to be a possibility that nickel compounds might help in the electrolysis of water, the reaction at the centre of hydrogen fuel cells. Researchers at the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, and at the French Atomic Energy Commission in Gif-sur-Yvette and attached a nickel compound that mimics hydrogenase enzymes (catalysts) and attached it to the surface of carbon nanotubes. This maximises the catalyst's surface area. The resulting material was tested using a proton-exchange membrane and produced hydrogen from a sulphuric acid solution. The result is only 1% as efficient than commercial platinum catalysts but is stable under typical fuel cell conditions, justifying further study.1

Chinese periodic table poster

Chinese periodic table (traditional)Chinese periodic table (traditional)
I'm pleased to announce that you can now buy a Chinese periodic table poster (traditional) at the WebElements shop.

Orbitron atomic orbitals poster

The Orbitron Atomic Orbitals posterThe Orbitron Atomic Orbitals poster
I'm pleased to announce that you can now buy the Orbitron atomic orbitals poster at the WebElements shop. You can visit The Orbitron to see these images and also animations showing representing the orbital functions.

Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry 2009

The 2009 chemistry prize goes to Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M. Castaño (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila.

Abstract from "Growth of Diamond Films from Tequila," Javier Morales, Miguel Apatiga and Victor M. Castano, 2008, arXiv:0806.1485. Diamond thin films were growth using Tequila as precursor by Pulsed Liquid Injection Chemical Vapor Deposition (PLI-CVD) onto both silicon (100) and stainless steel 304 at 850 C. The diamond films were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Raman spectroscopy. The spherical crystallites (100 to 400 nm) show the characteristic 1332 cm-1 Raman band of diamond.

Element 112 (Uub) to become Copernicium, Cp

CoperniciumCoperniciumIn honour of scientist and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), the discovering team around Professor Sigurd Hofmann suggested the name copernicium with the element symbol Cp for the new element 112, discovered at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Center for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt. It was Copernicus who discovered that the Earth orbits the Sun, thus paving the way for our modern view of the world. Thirteen years ago, element 112 was discovered by an international team of scientists at the GSI accelerator facility. A few weeks ago, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, IUPAC, officially confirmed their discovery. In around six months, IUPAC will officially endorse the new element's name. This period is set to allow the scientific community to discuss the suggested name copernicium before the IUPAC naming.

"After IUPAC officially recognized our discovery, we – that is all scientists involved in the discovery – agreed on proposing the name copernicium for the new element 112. We would like to honor an outstanding scientist, who changed our view of the world", says Sigurd Hofmann, head of the discovering team.

Copernicus was born 1473 in Torun; he died 1543 in Frombork, Poland. Working in the field of astronomy, he realized that the planets circle the Sun. His discovery refuted the then accepted belief that the Earth was the center of the universe. His finding was pivotal for the discovery of the gravitational force, which is responsible for the motion of the planets. It also led to the conclusion that the stars are incredibly far away and the universe inconceivably large, as the size and position of the stars does not change even though the Earth is moving. Furthermore, the new world view inspired by Copernicus had an impact on the human self-concept in theology and philosophy: humankind could no longer be seen as the center of the world.

With its planets revolving around the Sun on different orbits, the solar system is also a model for other physical systems. The structure of an atom is like a microcosm: its electrons orbit the atomic nucleus like the planets orbit the Sun. Exactly 112 electrons circle the atomic nucleus in an atom of the new element "copernicium".

Element 112 is the heaviest element in the periodic table, 277 times heavier than hydrogen. It is produced by a nuclear fusion, when bombarding zinc ions onto a lead target. As the element already decays after a split second, its existence can only be proved with the help of extremely fast and sensitive analysis methods. Twenty-one scientists from Germany, Finland, Russia and Slovakia have been involved in the experiments that led to the discovery of element 112.

Since 1981, GSI accelerator experiments have yielded the discovery of six chemical elements, which carry the atomic numbers 107 to 112. The discovering teams at GSI already named five of them: element 107 is called bohrium, element 108 hassium, element 109 meitnerium, element 110 darmstadtium, and element 111 is named roentgenium.

Element 112 (copernicium, ununbium)

The discoverors at GSIThe discoverors at GSI
Darmstadt, June 10, 2009

The new element 112 discovered by GSI has been officially recognized and will be named by the Darmstadt group in due course. Their suggestion should be made public over this summer.

The element 112, discovered at the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (Centre for Heavy Ion Research) in Darmstadt, has been officially recognized as a new element by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). IUPAC confirmed the recognition of element 112 in an official letter to the head of the discovering team, Professor Sigurd Hofmann. The letter furthermore asks the discoverers to propose a name for the new element. Their suggestion will be submitted within the next weeks. In about 6 months, after the proposed name has been thoroughly assessed by IUPAC, the element will receive its official name. The new element is approximately 277 times heavier than hydrogen, making it the heaviest element in the periodic table.

“We are delighted that now the sixth element – and thus all of the elements discovered at GSI during the past 30 years – has been officially recognized. During the next few weeks, the scientists of the discovering team will deliberate on a name for the new element”, says Sigurd Hofmann. 21 scientists from Germany, Finland, Russia and Slovakia were involved in the experiments around the discovery of the new element 112.

Since 1981, GSI accelerator experiments have yielded the discovery of six chemical elements, which carry the atomic numbers 107 to 112. GSI has already named their officially recognized elements 107 to 111: element 107 is called Bohrium, element 108 Hassium, element 109 Meitnerium, element 110 Darmstadtium, and element 111 is named Roentgenium.

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