DEC 27, 2020 6:00 AM PST

The Coolest Molecules of 2020

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

(Pixabay)

2020 was a chaotic, stressful year for most, but it did not stop innovative ideas and creative scientific thinking from flourishing. The Chemical and Engineering News, a trade magazine published by the American Chemical Society, posted a list of star molecules in 2020 according to its readers' poll.

Among them, large organic molecules with never-seen-before properties seem to be the crowd-pleasers, including a 2-dimensional metallo-supramolecule. It stood out among its peers due to its size. Previously, supramolecules that rely on metal cation for self-assembly usually lead to a compound less than 10 nm in diameter.

As reported in Nature Chemistry, an international collaboration reported a collection of 20 nm-wide giant 2-D molecules with 65 kDa of mass. These compounds were formed through ruthenium and iron-mediated intra- and intermolecular self-assembly. The team hoped that these supramolecules could be incorporated into single-molecule information storage devices.

A chemistry team from the University of Oxford came up with the largest aromatic ring thus far. In organic chemistry, the Hückel's rule is used to determine if a planar ring structure has aromatic properties. Benzene, a benchmark aromatic compound, has six delocalized electrons, thus following this rule (4n + 2) π- (in this case, n = 1). 

The Oxford researchers constructed a giant molecule with a monstrosity of "free" electrons: a total of 162 π-electrons (n = 40). When this 12 porphyrins-formed structure is placed in a magnetic field, a ring current is observed with its direction strictly following Hückel's rule, which confirms its aromaticity.

Tying a Molecule into Different Knots (Chemistry Views)

Last but not least, Scientists from Chinese and British institutes reported a molecular strand that forms different kinds of tiny knots. The compound, under the coordination of different metal cations, can be folded into a three-twist knot, a trefoil knot, or a simple macrocycle.

Excited to find out what other miraculous molecules are created this year? Check out the top molecule list of 2020 from Chemistry and Engineering News.

Source: C&EN

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
DEC 19, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Urine Tests Sets Parents' Minds at Ease in Minutes After a Miscarriage Threat
DEC 19, 2020
Urine Tests Sets Parents' Minds at Ease in Minutes After a Miscarriage Threat
Researchers have developed a chip-based test that can determine pregnancy outcomes after the signs of a possible miscarr ...
DEC 21, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Newly described hydrogen hydrate holds potential for hydrogen storage
DEC 21, 2020
Newly described hydrogen hydrate holds potential for hydrogen storage
A study published recently in the journal Physical Review Letters highlights the discovery of a new hydrogen clathr ...
JAN 29, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Photosynthetic bio-ink becomes six times its original strength
JAN 29, 2021
Photosynthetic bio-ink becomes six times its original strength
Research conducted by scientists from USC Viterbi School of Engineering Civil and Environmental Engineering reimagines b ...
FEB 18, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
New insight on metal organic frameworks
FEB 18, 2021
New insight on metal organic frameworks
Researchers from KAUST have developed a metal organic framework (MOF) mimicking a class of inorganic porous materials ca ...
MAR 05, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Half-auxeticity described in borophene-based material
MAR 05, 2021
Half-auxeticity described in borophene-based material
Auxetic materials are being of more and more interest to materials scientists and designers because of their ability to ...
MAR 11, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
MAR 11, 2021
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
A team from the University of Sydney's School of Civil Engineering has designed a method to improve the recycling of ...
Loading Comments...