Maastricht Economic and social Research and  training centre on Innovation and Technology

 
I&T Weekly holiday break
I&T Weekly is taking a holiday break. We will be back on Friday, January 12, 2018 with a fresh selection of innovation and technology news. On behalf of the entire UNU-MERIT team, we wish our readers an excellent 2018!




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All headlines
  • France announces landmark ban on fossil fuel production
  • Extreme laser bursts may lead to practical nuclear fusion
  • Gene editing staves off deafness in mice
  • Integrated circuits could make quantum computers scalable
  • 'Water cloak' uses electromagnetic waves to eliminate turbulence
  • Cold cigarette lighter will power satellite
  • Hydrogen-bond strength measured directly
    The first direct measurements of the strength of hydrogen bonds in individual molecules have been claimed by an international team of physicists. Unlike chemical bonds, which involve the sharing or transfer of electrons, hydrogen bonds are dipole-dipole interactions between certain molecules containing hydrogen. As well as playing key roles in defining the properties of proteins and nucleic acids, hydrogen bonds are also responsible for the relatively high boiling point of water.

    Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland and Aalto University in Finland used an atomic force microscope (AFM) to study hydrogen bonds in molecules called propellanes - which arrange themselves on surfaces such that two hydrogen atoms are pointing upwards. Their AFM tip comprised a single oxygen atom, which was positioned so close to a propellane molecule that a hydrogen bond formed between the oxygen atom and the two hydrogen atoms.

    Then, the AFM was used to measure the strength of the bond as a function of the separation between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The measurements confirmed that the hydrogen bond is much weaker than chemical bonds, but much stronger than van der Waals forces - which is a dipolar interaction that is weaker than hydrogen bonding. The measurements were also in agreement with calculations of bond strength done by members of the team. The technique could be used to identify 3D molecules such as DNA and polymers.

    Physics World / Science Advances    May 15, 2017