Research news: Defects make catalysts perfect

A recent published Science article reports about insights into the process which converts carbon dioxide into methanol.

An international team, including chemists from the Fritz Haber Institute […] established that defects in an as yet unknown combination with mixing of copper and zinc oxide at the catalyst’s surface are the reason why the catalysts are so active. These findings could make a contribution to further improving the catalyst, and also help researchers develop catalysts that convert pure carbon dioxide efficiently. These could be used to recycle the greenhouse gas that is produced when fossil fuels burn.” (MPG research news)

Original publication:
Malte Behrens, Felix Studt, Igor Kasatkin, Stefanie Kühl, Michael Hävecker, Frank Abild-Pedersen, Stefan Zander, Frank Girgsdies, Patrick Kurr, Benjamin-Louis Kniep, Michael Tovar, Richard W. Fischer, Jens K. Nørskov, Robert Schlögl: The Active Site of Methanol Synthesis over Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 Industrial Catalysts
ScienceExpress, 19 April 2012; doi: 10.1126/science.1219831 [pdf only for subscribers]

More Science articles by FHI authors:

  • Zhao, B.S., Meijer, G., Schöllkopf, W.: Quantum reflection of He2 several nanometers above a grating surface. Science, 331, 6019, pp. 892-894 (2011); doi: 10.1126/science.1200911 [only for subscribers]
  • Bostwick, A., Speck, F., Seyller, T., Horn, K., Polini, M., Asgari, R., MacDonald, A.H., Rotenberg, E.: Observation of plasmarons in quasi-freestanding doped graphene. Science, 328, 5981, pp. 999-1002 (2010); doi: 10.1126/science.1186489 [only for subscribers]
  • Lei, Y., Mehmood, F., Lee, S., Greeley, J., Lee, B., Seifert, S., Winansl, R.E., Elám, W., Meyer, R.J., Redfern, P.C., Teschner, D., Schlögl, R., Pellin, M.J., Curtiss, L.A., Vajda, S.: Increased silver activity for direct propylene epoxidation via subnanometer size effects. Science, 328, 5975, pp. 224-228 (2010); doi: 10.1126/science.1185200 [only for subscribers]

Textbooks by Peter Atkins

The current issue (April 2012) of Nachrichten aus der Chemie includes an interview with Peter Atkins.

“Peter Atkins is one of the most successful authors of chemical textbooks. To Nachrichten aus der Chemie he speaks about the way teaching will change in the future and why it saddens him that many people go to their graves without understanding the second law of thermodynamics.”

Of course you find textbooks by Peter Atkins in our library:

Shelf mark: 38 B 56-8. ed.
Shelf mark: 38 B 52-4. ed.
Shelf mark: 40 B 18
Shelf mark: 38 B 69
Shelf mark: 42 B 11
Shelf mark: 8 A 93-5. ed.

How the Scientific Community Reacts to Newly Submitted Preprints

Here comes the second reference tip for this week:

How the Scientific Community Reacts to Newly Submitted Preprints: Article Downloads, Twitter Mentions, and Citations

“Second, we run correlation tests to investigate the relationship between Twitter mentions and both article downloads and article citations. We find that Twitter mentions follow rapidly after article submission and that they are correlated with later article downloads and later article citations, indicating that social media may be an important factor in determining the scientific impact of an article.”

Published by Xin Shuai, Alberto Pepe and Johan Bollen at

Women in physics: A tale of limits

This is the title of an article published in Physics Today (February 2012) by Rachel Ivie and Casey Langer Tesfaye (Statistical Research Center of the American Institute of Physics).

“A newly completed survey of 15 000 physicists worldwide reveals that women physicists still do not have equal access to the career-advancing resources and opportunities enjoyed by their male colleagues.”

The paper is available at [only for subscribers].