NChem Research Highlights: Ion transport, f-block ionic liquids and gold catalysis

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Neil’s away this week – enjoying Strasbourg – which means that I get the opportunity to introduce this week’s research highlights (and myself) on TSC.

First up is Gav, covering a Nature Letter that explains how photoelectron spectroscopy can tell us more about why hydroxide ion transport in water is so fast.

Neil (the absent one), writes about a couple of papers which report water-free f-block ionic liquids. The luminescence properties are much improved when you can avoid water, and those based on dysprosium are magnetic as well.

And, the way gold catalysts are prepared can have a marked effect on their activity. Jane writes about some high resolution microscopy that shows that small clusters of 10 gold atoms are responsible for most of the catalytic activity.

Finally, some readers of TSC will be old enough to recall being allowed to use copper sulfate to grow some nice blue crystals at school. It’s poisonous though, so you don’t get it in chemistry sets anymore, which makes me wonder who supplies Roger Hiorns? He creates artwork by filling everday objects with copper sulfate solution and letting the crystals grow where they will – his latest creation ‘Seizure’ makes use of a derelict flat in London. Check out the video on YouTube.

Actually, I wonder if he also has a return agreement with his supplier? – after all those recrystallisations it ought to be worth selling back….


Stephen Davey (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)

Stephen Davey

Chief Editor, Nature Reviews Chemistry, Springer Nature

Stephen holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Sheffield where he conducted research on asymmetric nucleophilic catalysis. He then moved to Groningen, Netherlands for postdoctoral research on the synthesis and applications of light-driven molecular motors. He has been a chemistry editor for 12 years. He began his editorial career with the Royal Society of Chemistry (working on the journals Lab on a Chip and the Journal of Environmental Monitoring). In 2008 he joined the launch team of Nature Chemistry and later that year moved to Boston, USA where he stayed until the end of 2015. Shortly after returning to London he moved jobs to become Chief Editor for Nature Reviews Chemistry, which launched in 2017.