PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

A mysterious blue molecule will help make better use of light energy

A mysterious blue molecule will help make better use of light energy
2023-09-19
(Press-News.org)

Researchers at IOCB Prague are the first to describe the causes of the behavior of one of the fundamental aromatic molecules, which fascinates the scientific world not only with its blue color but also with other unusual properties – azulene. Their current undertaking will influence the foundations of organic chemistry in the years to come and in practice will help harness the maximum potential of captured light energy. The article appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS).

Azulene has piqued the curiosity of chemists for many years. The question of why it is blue, despite there being no obvious reason for this, was answered almost fifty years ago by a scientist of global importance, who, coincidentally, had close ties with IOCB Prague, Prof. Josef Michl. Now, Dr. Tomáš Slanina is following in his footsteps in order to offer his colleagues in the field the solution to another puzzle. He and his colleagues have convincingly described why the tiny azulene molecule violates the universal Kasha’s rule.

This rule explains how molecules emit light upon transitioning to various excited states. If we use the analogy of an ascending staircase, then the first step, i.e. the first excited state of the molecule, is high, and each subsequent step is lower and therefore closer to the previous one. The smaller the distance between the steps, the faster the molecule tends to fall from the step to lower levels. It then waits the longest on the first step before returning to the base level, whereupon it can emit light. But azulene behaves differently.

To explain the behavior of azulene, researchers at IOCB Prague used the concept of (anti)aromaticity. Again, simply put, an aromatic substance is not characterized by an aromatic smell but by being stable, or satisfied, if you will. Some chemists even refer to it informally with the familiar smiley face emoticon. On the other hand, an antiaromatic substance is unstable, and the molecule tries to escape from this state as quickly as possible. It leaves the higher energy state and falls downward. On the first step, azulene is unsatisfied, i.e. antiaromatic, and therefore falls downward in the order of picoseconds without having time to emit light. On the second step, however, it behaves like a satisfied aromatic substance. And that is important! It can exist in this excited state for even a full nanosecond, and that is long enough to emit light. Therefore, the energy of this excited state is not lost anywhere and is completely converted into a high-energy photon.

With their research, Slanina’s team is responding to the needs of the present, which seeks a way to ensure that the energy from photons (e.g. from the Sun) captured by a molecule is not lost and that it can be further used (e.g. to transfer energy between molecules or for charge separation in solar cells). The goal is to create molecules that manage light energy as efficiently as possible. Additionally, in the current paper, the researchers show in many cases that the property of azulene is transferable; it can be simply attached to the structure of any aromatic molecule, thanks to which that molecule gets the key properties of azulene.

Tomáš Slanina adds: “I like theories that are so simple you can easily envision, remember, and then put them to use. And that’s exactly what we’ve succeeded in doing. We’ve answered the question of why molecules behave in a certain way, and we’ve done it using a very simple concept.”

In their research, the scientists at IOCB Prague used several unique programs that can calculate how electrons in a molecule behave in the aforesaid higher excited states. Little is known about these states in general, so the work is also groundbreaking because it opens the door to their further study. Moreover, the article published in JACS is not only computational but also experimental. Researchers from Tomáš Slanina’s group supported their findings with an experiment that accurately confirmed the correctness of the calculated data. They also collaborated with one of the world’s most respected authorities in the field of (anti)aromatic molecules, Prof. Henrik Ottosson of Uppsala University in Sweden. And this is the second time JACS has taken an interest in their collaboration; the first time was in relation to research on another primary molecule – benzene.

Yet the story of azulene is even more layered. It concerns not only photochemistry but also medicine. Like the first area, the second also bears the seal of IOCB Prague – one of the first drugs developed in its laboratories was an ointment based on chamomile oil containing a derivative of azulene. Over the decades, the little box labelled Dermazulen, which contains a preparation with healing and anti-inflammatory effects, has found its place in first-aid kits throughout the country.


Original article: Dunlop, D.; Ludvíková, L.; Banerjee, A.; Ottosson, H.; Slanina, T. Excited-State (Anti)Aromaticity Explains Why Azulene Disobeys Kasha’s Rule. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023. https://doi.org/10.1021/jacs.3c07625


IOCB Prague / Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (www.uochb.cz) is a leading internationally recognized scientific institution whose primary mission is the pursuit of basic research in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, organic and materials chemistry, chemistry of natural substances, biochemistry and molecular biology, physical chemistry, theoretical chemistry, and analytical chemistry. An integral part of the IOCB Prague’s mission is the implementation of the results of basic research in practice. Emphasis on interdisciplinary research gives rise to a wide range of applications in medicine, pharmacy, and other fields.

END


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
A mysterious blue molecule will help make better use of light energy A mysterious blue molecule will help make better use of light energy 2

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

New research unveils pseudomonas cyclic lipopeptide medpeptin’s role in modulating plant immunity

New research unveils pseudomonas cyclic lipopeptide medpeptin’s role in modulating plant immunity
2023-09-19
A groundbreaking research study conducted by Hai-Lei Wei's research team at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China has revealed significant insights into the biosynthesis and modulation of plant immunity by a novel cyclic lipopeptide called medpeptin, produced by Pseudomonas mediterranea. The findings, published in Engineering, shed light on the intricate structure–function interactions of cyclic lipopeptides (CLPs) and open new avenues for the development of plant disease resistance strategies. CLPs, multifunctional secondary metabolites produced by various bacteria, have emerged as key elicitors of plant ...

The MIT Press announces the Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, a paradigm shift in open access reference works

The MIT Press announces the Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, a paradigm shift in open access reference works
2023-09-19
For over a generation, the MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences has been an essential resource for researchers and students of cognitive science and neuroscience. Today, the MIT Press proudly announces its intellectual successor—the Open Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science (OECS), a dynamic and openly accessible web reference poised to guide the next generation of exploration. Thanks to generous funding from James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Allen Institute for AI, the first set of articles will be published in 2024. In ...

Exercise boosts anti-cancer immunity and reduces inflammation in Lynch Syndrome patients

Exercise boosts anti-cancer immunity and reduces inflammation in Lynch Syndrome patients
2023-09-19
HOUSTON ― Regular and intense aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in patients with Lynch Syndrome (LS) by improving the immune system's ability to detect and remove potentially harmful cells, according to researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.   The findings, published today in Clinical Cancer Research, revealed that LS carriers participating in a high-intensity training (HIIT) regimen saw a reduction of the inflammatory marker prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in both the colon and the blood. Researchers ...

COVID-infected adults with 4 or more underlying diseases or advanced age, face higher risk of ICU stay, death

2023-09-19
Whether vaccinated or not, having at least four disease risk factors put adults hospitalized due to COVID-19 at higher risk for critical outcomes, according to a 10-state study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) VISION Network. The study describes the characteristics of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 from June 2021 through March 2023 and enumerates their risk factors for critical outcomes, defined as intensive care unit (ICU) admission and/or in-hospital death. It ...

Novel ligands for transition-metal catalysis of photoreactions

Novel ligands for transition-metal catalysis of photoreactions
2023-09-19
Transition metals form catalytic complexes that can speed up various chemical processes, especially in the production of pharmaceuticals as well as various pigments, dyes, and laboratory reagents like sulfuric acid. The use of light emitting diodes (LEDs) has boosted the use of visible light in reaction catalysis, and scientists have developed photo-redox catalysts made of iridium and ruthenium, which facilitate catalysis when irradiated with specific wavelengths of light. Further, scientists have even demonstrated visible light photoreactions with palladium complexes without the use of photo-redox catalysts. While several such transition metal-catalyzed ...

Ability to drive a car influences quality of life of older adults in Japan

Ability to drive a car influences quality of life of older adults in Japan
2023-09-19
Physical health and cognitive function declines as we age. Aging impacts people’s ability to perform routine tasks, which affects their well-being and sense of independence. One such routine activity that is frequently affected is driving. For older adults, the inability to drive themselves can mean that they become unable to access basic needs or engage in social activities. In a recent study that was made available online on 29 August 2023 and is all set to be published in volume 176 of Transportation Research in October 2023, researchers ...

Pediatric endocrinologists concerned for safety amid divisive political climate

2023-09-19
WASHINGTON—Pediatric endocrinologists are concerned for their safety and their ability to provide evidenced-based care to transgender and gender-diverse adolescents amid political divides over gender-affirming care, according to a new paper published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society. Pediatric endocrinologists specialize in the care of children and adolescents with disorders related to hormones and the glands that produce them, such as diabetes and disorders of growth, thyroid or puberty. Some pediatric endocrinologists also provide gender-affirming care as part of their medical practice. Among youth ages 13 to 17 in the United States, 1.4% identify as transgender, ...

Team looks to plant tissues that move for inspiration in designing artificial actuators

Team looks to plant tissues that move for inspiration in designing artificial actuators
2023-09-19
Scientists are looking to plant tissues that are capable of motion to inspire the design and fabrication of artificial actuators. These bioinspired actuators hold significant potential in applications, such as soft robotics, prosthetics, and smart biomedical devices. A research team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences has published a perspective paper focusing specifically on the ways plants regulate their motion speed and how this might be applied with artificial actuators.   Their paper is published in the journal Nano Research on September 18.   These artificial actuators, that are responsive to humidity, solvents, heat, light, and electricity, ...

Treating NASH disease by removing cholesterol from macrophages using a unique supramolecule

Treating NASH disease by removing cholesterol from macrophages using a unique supramolecule
2023-09-19
A research group from the Graduate School of Medicine and Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at Nagoya University reported that cholesterol accumulation in macrophages promotes liver fibrosis in the development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Using a unique supramolecule, they removed cholesterol in a mouse model, stopping the development of the disease. As cholesterol crystals are also found in human patients, this suggests a potential treatment for the disease. Their findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.     As the number of patients with ...

Researchers unveil new flexible adhesive with exceptional recovery and adhesion properties for electronic devices

Researchers unveil new flexible adhesive with exceptional recovery and adhesion properties for electronic devices
2023-09-19
The rapid advancements in flexible electronic technology have led to the emergence of innovative devices such as foldable displays, wearables, e-skin, and medical devices. These breakthroughs have created a growing demand for flexible adhesives that can quickly recover their shape while effectively connecting various components in these devices. However, conventional pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) often face challenges in achieving a balance between recovery capabilities and adhesive strength. In an extraordinary study conducted at UNIST, researchers have successfully synthesized new types of urethane-based crosslinkers that address this critical challenge. Led by Professor Dong Woog ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

12.5, the 1st Impact Factor of COMMTR released!

Circadian clock impact on cluster headaches funded by $2.4M NIH grant for UTHealth Houston research

Study identifies first drug therapy for sleep apnea

How old is your bone marrow?

Boosting biodiversity without hurting local economies

ChatGPT is biased against resumes with credentials that imply a disability — but it can improve

Simple test for flu could improve diagnosis and surveillance

UT Health San Antonio researcher awarded five-year, $2.53 million NIH grant to study alcohol-assisted liver disease

Giving pre-med students hands-on clinical training

CAMH research suggests potential targets for prevention and early identification of psychotic disorders

Mapping the heart to prevent damage caused by a heart attack

Study challenges popular idea that Easter islanders committed ‘ecocide’

Chilling discovery: Study reveals evolution of human cold and menthol sensing protein, offering hope for future non-addictive pain therapies.

Elena Beccalli, new rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, takes office on 1st July

Pacific Northwest Research Institute uncovers hidden DNA mechanisms of rare genetic diseases

Empowering older adults: Wearable tech made easier with personalized support

Pennington Biomedical researchers partner on award-winning Long Covid study

Cooling ‘blood oranges’ could make them even healthier – a bonus for consumers

Body image and overall health found important to the sexual health of older gay men, according to new studies

Lab-grown muscles reveal mysteries of rare muscle diseases

Primary hepatic angiosarcoma: Treatment options for a rare tumor

Research finds causal evidence tying cerebral small-vessel disease to Alzheimer’s, dementia

Navigating the Pyrocene: Recent Cell Press papers on managing fire risk

Restoring the Great Salt Lake would have environmental justice as well as ecological benefits

Cannabis, tobacco use, and COVID-19 outcomes

A 5:2 intermittent fasting meal replacement diet and glycemic control for adults with diabetes

Scientists document self-propelling oxygen decline in the oceans

Activating molecular target reverses multiple hallmarks of aging

Cannabis use tied to increased risk of severe COVID-19

How to make ageing a ‘fairer game’ for all wormkind

[Press-News.org] A mysterious blue molecule will help make better use of light energy