Great joy in the Ruhr region: The Cluster of Excellence in solvation science has once again succeeded in the competition! The Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) and the TU Dortmund University have been successful in Germany’s Excellence Strategy: starting from 2019, the new Ruhr Explores Solvation (Resolv) Cluster of Excellence, hosted at both RUB and TU Dortmund University, will receive funding for seven years.
In Resolv – Understanding and Design of Solvent-Controlled Processes –, scientists investigate the role of solvents. Experts from RUB and TU Dortmund University have already been successfully cooperating with scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen and other non-university partners during the first funding phase of Resolv. The German Research Foundation (DFG) supported the Resolv Cluster of Excellence at RUB from 2012 to 2018. Resolv has since developed a dense network in solvation research– both within the region and internationally, including with CalSOLV at UC Berkeley!
“We are delighted to be funded again and to be able to tackle the future challenges of solvation science”, says Professor Martina Havenith, speaker of Resolv. “We will now explore chemical processes beyond ambient conditions, beyond thermal equilibrium and beyond homogeneous bulk phase to advance the development of important technological applications, such as energy conversion and storage, or the development of smart sensors.”
The Role of Interfaces for Water and Binary Systems under Confinement. Theoretical Chemistry Colloquium, Oxford University, Oxford, U. K. October 15, 2018
The chemical origin of soot is a persistent puzzle. It is clear that small hydrocarbon fragments formed in flames must aggregate into larger particles, but the initial driving force for aggregation remains a mystery. Johansson et al. combined theory and mass spectrometry to suggest a solution based on resonance-stabilized radicals (see the Perspective by Thomson and Mitra). Aromatics such as cyclopentadiene have a characteristically weak C–H bond because their cleavage produces radicals with extended spans of π-electron conjugation. Clusters thus build up through successive coupling reactions that extend conjugation in stabilized radicals of larger and larger size.
Using a spatially resolved analysis of hydration patterns, intermolecular vibrations, and local solvent entropies, the T. Head-Gordon group in collaboration with RESolv researcher Matthias Hayden and Viren Patti have identified distinct classes of hydration water and follow their changes upon substrate binding and transition state formation for the designed KE07 and KE70 enzymes and their evolved variants. We observe that differences in hydration of the enzymatic systems are concentrated in the active site and undergo significant changes during substrate recruitment. For KE07, directed evolution reduces variations in the hydration of the polar catalytic center upon substrate binding, preserving strong protein-water interactions, while the evolved enzyme variant of KE70 features a more hydrophobic reaction center for which the expulsion of low-entropy water molecules upon substrate binding is substantially enhanced. While our analysis indicates a system-dependent role of solvation for the substrate binding process, we identify more subtle changes in solvation for the transition state formation, which are less affected by directed evolution.
In a proof-of-concept study, Richard J. Saykally and a large team of researchers working at the FERMI facility in Trieste, Italy, have demonstrated that the method can selectively probe layers of graphene inside a graphite sample (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2018, DOI: 10.1103/physrevlett.120.023901). The new technique may eventually enable researchers to use X-rays to track chemical reactions at interfaces with femtosecond resolution.
Prof. Dan Neumark will give a Keynote Lecture at the 2017 American Chemical Society Southwest Regional Meeting Oct 29- Nov 1 on Electron Interactions with Nucleic Acid Constituently in Clusters and Liquid Jets. Program information available here.
Prof. Teresa Head-Gordon leads the Berkeley partnership towards a multi-university center to improve scientific software.
Head-Gordon leads Berkeley partnership to improve scientific software
Prof. Teresa Head-Gordon will be speaking at the Interdisciplinary Lecture Series Gemeinsames Kolloquium –Summersemester 2016 at the Ruhr University Bochum on 30th June 2016. Details of the talk can be found here.
Professor Rich Saykally will deliver an invited lecture entitled ” Characterization of the Hydration Structure of Aqueous Carbonic Acid by X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy” at the SXET Workshop In Berlin(Aug 20, 2015).