Chemists discover ozone-boosting reaction
AirUCI is an Environmental Molecular Sciences Institute funded by the National Science Foundation. Director Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and colleagues found new chemistry that increases ozone formation, missing from existing models of choking smog.
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Going for gold
Gold nanowires can activate a credit card or launch a missile. Ervin Meneses, a 17-year old summer intern, grows gold-coated filaments 1,000th the width of a human hair. 
http://ps.uci.edu/news/135
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Imaging the inner workings of single molecules
Professor Ara Apkarian and colleagues are attempting to take time-lapse images of single molecules. His team was awarded $20 million from the National Science Foundation.  UC Irvine scientists hope to make the first ever real-time videos of single molecules in action - a feat that has so far proved elusive, because the size and time scales are so small.
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Photograph of unique particle flow tube in Finlayson-Pitts laboratory
This custom-designed and built apparatus allows the study of the formation and growth of particles from the reactions of precursor gases under controlled conditions relevant to the atmosphere.  This flow tube has been highlighted on the Scientific American website as one of ten important atmospheric science experiments.  It requires a group effort to clean.
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Message from Chair Reginald Penner

January 23, 2015

Winter is my favorite time in Southern California because the winter rains turn the landscape green.  Over the last couple of years, that transformation hasn't occurred because of our drought, but we have green hills once again this winter, and it’s beautiful.

A similar transformation has happened in our undergraduate teaching laboratories.  Many of these labs date back to the 1960’s.  Since we are one of the largest Chemistry teaching enterprises in the country, the wear and tear on these labs has been substantial in 50 years of constant use. We have just completed renovating two of these labs, transforming them into beautiful, state-of-the-art teaching spaces for our undergraduate students (see photo at right), and we are currently installing new instrumentation.  More work remains to be done and the renovations of other teaching labs are continuing.  We are grateful to the supporters of the School of Physical Sciences Dean’s Fund, who helped make this possible. We look forward to providing an upgraded experience in Chemistry laboratory to all of our undergraduate students very soon.

With best regards,
Reg Penner

Research Highlights

Vy2
  In a recent Science paper, the Dong Group reports a way to transform aldehydes into olefins by using a catalyst that scrambles...
fisheyes
The Martin lab recently explored why Antarctic toothfish don't get cataracts. As part of an ongoing effort to understand the phenomenon of...