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Vol. 27 No. 2
March-April 2005

Bookworm | Books and publications hot off the press.
See also www.iupac.org/publications

Special Topic Articles Featuring the 2004 Winners of the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists

Pure and Applied Chemistry
Vol. 76, No. 12, pp. 2051–2099, 2004

The IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists encourages young scientists throughout the world to enter an annual competition that requires candidates to submit short essays based upon the topic of their Ph.D. studies. Starting in 2002, prizewinners have been invited to submit manuscripts on aspects of their research topics for consideration as short, critical review articles to be published in Pure and Applied Chemistry. Following peer review, the first collection appeared in PAC 74(11), 2021–2081 (2002) and encouraged the view that it offers sufficient readership appeal to become a regular special topic feature of the journal. The second series, covering the works of the 2003 winners was published in PAC 76(2), 263–319 (2004). The most recent series of articles was published in the Dec 2004 issue of PAC and includes the following critical reviews:

Crossed InP nanowire LED. (top) Three-dimensional (3D) plot of light intensity of the electroluminescence from a crossed NW LED. Light is only observed around the crossing region. (bottom) 3D atomic force microscope image of a crossed NW LED. (inset) Photolumine-scence image of a crossed NW junction. Y. Huan and C.M. Lieber, PAC 76(12), 2051-2068 (2004).

“Integrated Nanoscale Electronics and Optoelectronics: Exploring Nanoscale Science and Technology through Semiconductor Nanowires,” by Y. Huan
Semiconductor nanowires (NWs) represent an ideal system for investigating low-dimensional physics and are expected to play an important role as both interconnects and functional device elements in nanoscale electronic and optoelectronic devices. In their review, Huang and Lieber look at a series of key advances defining a new paradigm of bottom-up assembling integrated nanosystems using semiconductor NW building blocks. They first introduce a general approach for the synthesis of a broad range of semiconductor NWs with precisely controlled chemical composition, physical dimension, and electronic, optical properties using a metal cluster catalyzed vapor-liquid-solid growth mechanism. Subsequently, they describe rational strategies for the hierarchical assembly of NW building blocks into functional devices and complex architectures based on electric field or micro-fluidic flow. Next, they discuss a variety of new nanoscale electronic device concepts including crossed NW p-n diode and crossed NW field effect transistors (FETs). Lastly, they describe a wide range of photonic and optoelectronic devices, including nanoscale light-emitting diode (nanoLED), multicolor LED arrays, integrated nanoLED-nanoFET array, single nanowire waveguide, and single nanowire nanolaser. The potential application of these nanoscale light sources for chemical and biological analyses is also discussed.

Typical transition state structures of NO dissociation on the close-packed {111} surface and the stepped {211} surface. Z.-P. Liu, PAC 76(12), 2069-2083 (2004).

“Chemical Reactions at Surfaces and Interfaces from First Principles: Theory and Application,” by Z.-P. Liu
The last decade has seen rapid expansion and development in the field of density functional theory (DFT) simulation on the complex chemical processes that occur at surfaces and interfaces. The understanding of the phenomena in surface science and heterogeneous catalysis has benefited tremendously from these quantum mechanic calculations. Liu reviews the current progress in the theory of reactions on surfaces, in particular those relevant to the barrier and the active site of surface reactions. Two representative reactions, namely NO dissociation and CO oxidation, are selected to illustrate how these theoretical concepts are applied to understand catalytic reactions. Here, the pathways and the energetics of these reactions under various catalytic conditions are described in detail and the understanding of the reactions is generalized. It is concluded that DFT-based methods can be well applied to catalysis to understand the electronic structure of chemical processes and to elucidate mechanisms of complex surface reactions.

“Modeling Prebiotic Catalysis with Nucleic Acid-Like Polymers and its Implications for the Proposed RNA World,” by S.G. Srivatsan
The theory that RNA molecules played a pivotal role in the early evolution of life is now widely accepted. Studies related to this hypothetical “RNA world” include three major areas: the formation of precursors for the first RNA molecules, the polymerization process, and the potential of RNA to catalyze chemical and biochemical reactions. Several chemical and biochemical studies performed under simulated prebiotic conditions support the role of RNA as both genetic as well as catalytic material. However, due to the lack of credible mechanism for de novo nucleic acid synthesis and the hydrolytic instability of RNA molecules, there has been some serious discussion of whether biopolymers that closely resembled nucleic acid preceded the “RNA world.” In this context, an overview of prebiotic chemistry, the role of the mineral surface, and the significance of studies related to RNA-like polymers in the origin of life are presented in Srivatsan’s review.

Probable events related to the origin of life. S.G. Srivatsan, PAC 76(12), 2085-2099 (2004).

www.iupac.org/publications/pac/2004/7612


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