From wine to synthetic diamonds — chemistry for the holidays

In our holiday selection of chemistry articles, researchers reveal a new way to make synthetic diamonds and healthier wine

Paul Carton, PhD,  is a Publishing Director for Chemistry journals at Elsevier.It’s the festive season, and many of us are surrounded by shimmering gold decorations and colorful lights adorning the streets. We may indulge in wine and cakes, exchange gifts and turn on the heating to keep the freezing weather at bay.

These familiar festive signs are all connected to chemistry. To celebrate the chemistry of the holidays, we have put together a selection of articles published in 2015 that reflect the glimmer of the festive season, covering everything from sparkly diamonds to the wine you drink by the fire.

The holiday season is colorful – and so is chemistry. In a paper published in Electrochimica Acta, researchers from Hokkaido University in Japan have come up with a new substance called etidronic acid, which creates a material with a rainbow spectrum of colors. A certain kind of material called a porous anodic oxide film is very important for a variety of uses, including in gas sensors and nanomagnets. It is made up of millions of microscopic porous cells, like a honeycomb. In the study, researchers show that using etidronic acid, they can make this material in a way that gives it a multicolored structure, making it useful in optical instruments.

In another article, researchers at Michigan State University assess a new way to make synthetic diamond. In their research research published in Diamond and Related Materials, they investigated a method called microwave plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition (MPACVD), at high pressure and power. They found that using a “pocket holder” – a tiny pocket in which the diamond can grow – helps make thicker diamond.

Chemistry gives us multicolored lights, healthier wine and synthetic diamonds for the festive season. (Photo by Quadronet CC0 Public Domain via one precious material to another: gold is not only an iconic festive metal, but it’s also vital in chemistry. In an article published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, researchers from Ryukoku University in Japan have developed a new way of making gold nanocrystals that are the same size and shape. Gold nanocrystals are used for a variety of things, from electronics to drug delivery systems. To be most reliable and effective, they need to be of a regular size and shape. Usually this is controlled using a toxic substance, but in the new paper, the team has developed a protein chain that can do the same job when mixed with a template molecule and chloroauric acid in water. This makes the process safer and simpler.

Many people enjoy a glass of wine by the fire – and the claimed health benefits that could bring. But with concerns over the alcohol content of red wine, researchers have been looking for ways to dealcoholize wine. An article in Sustainable Production and Consumption, by researchers at Universidad de Cantabria in Spain, looks at the life cycle of several of the methods being used and considers their environmental impacts. Evaporative pertraction (EP) was the best method in terms of its environmental impacts, so could be used more widely to make healthier wines.

This special festive collection is our gift for the season. The articles in the collection are all free to access until June 9, 2016, so you can enjoy the festive chemistry glow for months to come.

Chemistry for the holidays

Fabrication of Self-Ordered Porous Alumina via Etidronic Acid Anodizing and Structural Color Generation from Submicrometer-Scale Dimple Array
Tatsuya Kikuchi, Osamu Nishinaga, Shungo Natsui, Ryosuke O. Suzuki
Electrochimica Acta, February 2015

Effect of alkali metal ions (Li+, Na+ and K+) on the luminescence properties of CaMgB2O5: Sm3+ nanophosphor
M. Manhas, Vinay Kumar, Visha Sharma, O.M. Ntwaeaborwa, H.C. Swart
Nano-Structures and Nano-Objects, October 2015

Synthesis and characterization of copolyanhydrides of carbohydrate-based galactaric acid and adipic acid
Tuomas Mehtiö, Leena Nurmi, Virpi Rämö, Hannu Mikkonen, Ali Harlin
Carbohydrate Research, January 2015

Roles of aromatic side chains and template effects of the hydrophobic cavity of a self-assembled peptide nanoarchitecture for anisotropic growth of gold nanocrystals
Kin-ya Tomizaki, Kohei Kishioka, Hiroki Kobayashi, Akitsugu Kobayashi, Naoki Yamada, Shunsuke Kataoka, Takahito Imai, Megumi Kasuno
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, November 2015

Spiral finned crystallizer for progressive freeze concentration process
Shafirah Samsuri, Nurul Aini Amran, Mazura Jusoh
Chemical Engineering Research and Design, December 2015

Life cycle assessment of technologies for partial dealcoholisation of wines
María Margallo, Rubén Aldaco, Albert Barceló, Nazely Diban, Inmaculada Ortiz, Angel Irabien
Sustainable Production and Consumption, April 2015

Platinum nanocrystals supported on CoAl mixed metal oxide nanosheets derived from layered double hydroxides as catalysts for selective hydrogenation of cinnamaldehyde
Zhengbin Tian, Qingyang Li, Juying Hou, Lei Pei, Yan Li, Shiyun Ai
Journal of Catalysis, November 2015

Deformation behavior of micron-sized polycrystalline gold particles studied by in situ compression experiments and frictional finite element simulation
Jonas Paul, Stefan Romeis, Patrick Herre, Wolfgang Peukert
Powder Technology, December 2015

A comprehensive study of noble gases and nitrogen in “Hypatia”, a diamond-rich pebble from SW Egypt
Guillaume Avice, Matthias M.M. Meier, Bernard Marty, Rainer Wieler, Jan D. Kramers, Falko Langenhorst, Pierre Cartigny, Colin Maden, Laurent Zimmermann, Marco A.G. Andreoli
Earth and Planetary Science Letters, December 2015

A two step method to synthesize palladium–copper nanoparticles on reduced graphene oxide and their extremely high electrocatalytic activity for the electrooxidation of methanol and ethanol
HeYa Na, Lei Zhang, HaiXia Qiu, Tao Wu, MingXi Chen, Nian Yang, LingZhi Li, FuBao Xing, JianPing Gao
Journal of Power Sources, August 2015

Growth strategies for large and high quality single crystal diamond substrates
Shreya Nad, Yajun Gu, Jes Asmussen
Diamond and Related Materials, November 2015

Bulk metallic glasses based on precious metals: Thermal treatments and mechanical properties
S. Cardinal, J. Qiao, J.M. Pelletier, H. Kato
Intermetallics, August 2015

Elsevier Connect Contributor

Dr. Paul Carton is a Publishing Director for Chemistry journals at Elsevier, based in London. He studied Physical Chemistry in the United States. Over the last 30 years, he has held various editorial positions with Nature, Routledge Chapman and Hall, and Elsevier.

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