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New Borylation Methods Generate New Building Blocks For Drug Discovery

Boron plays a key role in modern organic chemistry, but, the utility of boron beyond Brown’s hydroboration and Suzuki’s palladium cross-coupling reactions is limited.

Self-Assembled, Molecular Auxetic Materials

When a material is compressed in one direction, it usually tends to expand in other directions. Poisson's ratio is a measure of this effect; it is the fraction of expansion divided by the fraction of compression. By calculation the Poisson's ratio cannot be less than -1.0 or greater than 0.5. Materials that have a positive Poisson's ratio easily undergo go shape changes but not volume changes. For example, when a rubber band is stretched, it becomes noticeably thinner without changing its volume. The class of material with negative Poisson's ratio is known as auxetics, aka anti-rubber or dilational materials. They have a hinge-like network structure. When compressed they tend to shrink, become more square and thicker (fatter in cross section when stretched), such as Gore-Tex and paper.

Chemoenzymatic Synthesis Of Acyl Coenzyme-A Molecules

Acyl-CoAs is involved in both primary and secondary metabolism; it is an important intermediate molecule for in vitro enzymatic assays in research. Current chemical methods to generate acyl-CoAs rely on chemical ligation of carboxylic acids to commercially available coenzyme A molecule by the use of peptide coupling reagents. These couplings are inefficient and the final product is hard to purify. This process of acyl-CoA synthesis is therefore expensive.

Self-Healing Elastomers

The invention is a design of material capable of spontaneous self-repair upon mechanical damage. This material is tough, yet, in contrast with previously reported self-healing substances, it repairs itself into a single-component solid in a truly autonomous manner, without use of heat, light, any other external stimulus, healing agents, plasticizers, or solvent. In addition, the proposed design and synthesis are facile and greatly amenable to tuning of the matter’s mechanical properties. This invention holds great promise for improving the safety, lifetime, energy efficiency, and environmental impact of man-made materials.

High Affinity CYP3A4 Inhibitors

Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) is a key metabolizing enzyme that regulates the oxidation and clearance of most drugs. The inhibition of this enzyme may be useful in improving the efficacy of drug cocktails and the ability to give lower, less toxic doses of drugs. The development of new CYP3A4 inhibitors with high affinity and specificity is described.

Bioeletrochemical Oxygen Production From Perchlorate (C1O4-)

Perchlorate has been directly detected at two landing sites on Mars at concentrations between 0.5-1%, inferred at two more, and total abundances of chlorine has been measured from orbit. These independent lines of evidence indicate that large quantities of perchlorate could be globally distributed in the surface regolith of Mars, and could be used as a resource for human exploration and survival. For example, a daily supply of oxygen for one astronaut (40 liters) could be obtained from the perchlorate found in 60 kilograms of regolith.   UC Berkeley researchers have shown that the extraction of perchlorate-laden rock can be done using simple electrochemistry and enzymatic reduction. They have developed a device on the basis of these principles, and in proof-of-principle studies shown it to be capable of producing about 2 millimoles (45 milliliters) of pure oxygen from 1 millimole of perchlorate.  

Mixed Magnesium/Lithium Carba-Carba-Closo-Dodecaborate

Background: With the revolution of rechargeable technologies - especially the impact electrical vehicles are making - the current total battery demands of 70MWh is expected to reach 180,000MWh in 2025. Lithium (Li) is the most heavily used battery material and although it performs well, it is not earth abundant thus very expensive. The most recent alternative to Li rechargeable batteries is the Aluminum rechargeable battery that has optimal recharging properties but still has its limitations in carrying a high voltage.  Brief Description: UCR researchers have experimented with Magnesium (Mg) batteries and discovered a novel halide-free electrolyte mixture that enhances energy capacity and charge-discharge cycle stability. Most importantly, it can withstand an exceptional high voltage of 4.6V in comparison to 3.7V found in Li batteries. The electrolyte materials they have synthesized could potentially increase the power per charge by a 3-fold. Use of Mg will not only improve such electrochemical stability but its earth-abundance will prove it to be a cost-efficient option.

A Rechargeable Battery With Aluminum Negative Electrode And Chevrel Phase Molybdenum Sulfide Positive Electrode

Background: Lithium-ion batteries are the current poster-child for energy storage and grid applications, capturing a decent portion of the $74B global battery market. However, lithium has limited long-term utility and a heavily inflated price at $40 per pound. With the US being the 2nd largest energy consumers and its battery market growing annually at 8%, there is a high demand for a more dependable, robust and cost-effective rendition of battery technology.  Brief Description: Aluminum (Al) is a more abundant and cheaper alternative at only $0.85 per pound. UCR researchers have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery prototype comprised of novel intercalating cathode and electrolyte solution formulas. High intercalation (reversibility) allows the battery to recharge but existing rechargeable Al batteries have been unable to reach optimum reversibility nor maintain favorable energy densities. This enhanced prototype significantly improves energy capacity and charge-discharge cycle stability as well.

Oxidative CH Activation of Non-Activated Alkanes Using Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) as Catalysts

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed two novel organic framework-based catalysts used in CH activation during the process of converting methane into acetic acid. These catalysts demonstrate high efficiency and specificity, combined with the great chemical stability and reproducibility seen with organic framework materials.

Design and Synthesis of New Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) With Unique Topologies

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a series of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) with unique topologies, structures, and pore sizes, thereby, making these materials more versatile in applications such as gas storage and separation.

Catalytic Coupling Reactions Using Frameworks with Open-Metal-Sites

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a group of novel organic framework-based catalysts used in coupling reactions. These catalysts demonstrate high efficiency and specificity, combined with the great chemical stability and reproducibility seen with organic framework materials.

Reversible Ethylene Oxide Capture in Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs)

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have devised a method to separate and purify gases such as ethylene oxide from gaseous mixtures using functionalized and porous metal-organic, covalent-organic, and zeolitic-imidazolate frameworks.

Reversible Hydrogen Storage Using Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs)

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have demonstrated the ability of functionalized zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs) to store significant amounts of hydrogen gas in a safe and practical manner, with ten-fold greater storage capacity compared to other methods.

Adsorptive Gas Separation of Carbon Dioxide from Methane by Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks (ZIFs)

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have demonstrated the ability of functionalized zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) to be used in gas separation processes, thereby having industrial applications in natural gas purification and landfill gas separation. 

Development Of Pheromone Assisted Techniques To Improve Efficacy Of Insecticide Sprays Targeting Urban Pest Ant Species

Background: Pheromones are chemical secretions that dictate behavior in many social insects such as ants, bees and termites. They use them for various pivotal roles in foraging, nest relocation, defense and reproduction. Implementation of pheromone trails that lead urban pests to their imminent doom is a very notable, strategic approach. Current pest management programs are in need of better synthetic pheromone formulations for a more effective and species-specific utilization.   Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed a novel synthetic pheromone compound and management system that lures targeted ant species to an insecticide-treated area. This pheromone-assisted technique will maximize the efficacy of insecticide sprays by reducing insecticide contact in the environment while increasing exposure of ants for eradication.  

Novel compounds for the treatment of fungal infections

Treatment of fungal infections remains a medical challenge and better and more efficacious treatments are needed. Antifungal agents provide relief from fungal infections that can potentially infect almost any part of the human body, but, systemic fungal infections can be life threatening. A commonly prescribed antifungal drug for systemic fungal infections is fluconazole. Fluconazole tends to be well tolerated; however there have been reports of various undesirable side effects as well as the emergence of fluconazole resistant fungal strains.

One-step method of synthesizing formic acid from carbon dioxide utilizing iron-based electrocatalyst

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a one-step method of synthesizing formic acid.

An Ultra-Sensitive Method for Detecting Molecules

To-date, plasmon detection methods have been utilized in the life sciences, electrochemistry, chemical vapor detection, and food safety. While passive surface plasmon resonators have lead to high-sensitivity detection in real time without further contaminating the environment with labels. Unfortunately, because these systems are passively excited, they are intrinsically limited by a loss of metal, which leads to decreased sensitivity. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a novel method to detect distinct molecules in air under normal conditions to achieve sub-parts per billion detection limits, the lowest limit reported. This device can be used detecting a wide array of molecules including explosives or bio molecular diagnostics utilizing the first instance of active plasmon sensor, free of metal losses and operating deep below the diffraction limit for visible light.  This novel detection method has been shown to have superior performance than monitoring the wavelength shift, which is widely used in passive surface plasmon sensors. 

Long Wavelength Voltage Sensitive Dyes

Rapid changes in the membrane potential of neurons and cardiomyocytes are used to define cellular signaling and cell physiological profiles. The classical means to monitor membrane potentials is patch clamp electrophysiology, a low-throughput and highly invasive technique. One current alternative is to use Ca2+ imaging, as the agents are robust and sensitive, come in a variety of colors, and can be used in a wide range of biological contexts. Ca2+ imaging, however, allows only an imperfect approximation of membrane potential changes, and fast-spiking neuronal events are difficult to detect.   Fluorescent voltage sensors can achieve fast, sensitive, and non-disruptive direct readouts of membrane potentials. UC Berkeley researchers have designed and synthesized a new fluorophore called ‘Berkeley Red’ that can be used in the context of voltage-sensing scaffolds to generate fluorescent voltage sensors.  

Methods for Fabrication of Electric Propulsion Tips

The technology is a method for fabrication of silicon microfabricated emitter tips.This process has two-step etching process which utilizes field emission electric propulsion (FEEP) and indium propellant.

Durable, Plasticization-Resistant Membranes using Metal-Organic Frameworks

Over the last several decades, polymer membranes have shown promise for purifying various industrial gas mixtures. However, there are a number of potential applications in which highly polarizable gases (e.g., CO2, C3H6, C3H8, butenes, etc.) diminish membrane selectivities through the mechanism of plasticization. Plasticization is the swelling of polymer films in the presence of certain penetrants that results in increased permeation rates of all gases, but an unwanted, and often times, unpredictable loss in membrane efficiency. Current strategies for reducing plasticization effects often result in a reduction in membrane permeability. To address the need for plasticization-resistant membranes that retain good separation performance, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a novel method for improving polymer membrane stability and performance upon the incorporation of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). This method can be applied to a broad range of commercially available polymers as well as enable new polymers to be commercialized.

Process for the Fabrication of Nanostrucured Arrays on Flexible Polymer Films

The technology is a process for making arrays of nanostructures on polymer films.It features a two step process for creating thin polymer films with unique optical and wetting properties that can be used for coating both planar and curved surfaces.It is possible to implement this process in a mass fabrication process over large areas.

Processing Spinel-Less Thermal Barrier Coating Systems Via Pre-Oxidation and Evaporation

The technology is a two-step process to produce a thermally grown oxide layer that is completely devoid of harmful spinel oxides, for the purpose of extending the lifetime of turbine engine blades’ thermal barrier coatings.It features a two step process utilizes ambient pressure and everyday gases at industry-standard temperatures which yields a completely spinel-less TGO–YSZ interface.

Efficient, one-step, scalable synthesis of succinic acid from renewable biomass-derived levulinic acid

The invention details a chemical-catalytic method of synthesizing commercially important succinic acid (SA) from biomass derived levulinic acid (LA). The method uses inexpensive starting material, a recyclable solvent-catalyst and mild conditions while providing good yields. It is a practical, scalable method for commercial production of SA.

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