NChem Research Highlights: Fullerenes, opalescent arrays and hydrogels

While half the office seems to be at the ACS, from London here’s another slice of what’s going on in the world of chemistry: our Research Highlights.

Stu covers a Nature letter that shows that you can make C60 using a more advanced method than just vapourizing graphite rods. By putting the right aromatic precursor on a platinum surface and heating, the atoms just curl up into the familiar spherical shape.

My highlight covers a route for making arrays of colloidal particles, which resemble opals. These sparkly microspheres are made on a superhydrophobic surface, which gives really good size and shape control.

Gav worked on the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction during his PhD, so was quite excited to cover some work putting it to an interesting use. Coupling the BZ reaction to a responsive hydrogel results in a material that shows a peristalsis effect. If, like me, you can only dimly remember what that means, think of toothpaste tubes or swallowing mechanisms!

Keeping us amused in the world of science this week has been this extra digging on the cloned dogs story. And the news that scientists have proved that ‘beer goggles’ are real. I’d like to hope that the researchers are now getting to grips with the beer jacket and beer scooter phenomena.


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)