It’s the second day of Open Access Week and today we’re highlighting some of our best open access articles in chemistry and materials science. This is just a small selection of all the open access articles we publish, and throughout this week we’re making all our content free to access.

Magentic nanorods
nanorodsMagnetic nanorods – one-dimensional structures made up of nanotubes filled with magnetic nanoparticles – are promising materials for a range of applications such as display screens and drug delivery systems. However, the inherent magnetic repulsion of these structures makes it difficult to assemble them side by side. One option is to control the nanorods with a non-uniform magnetic field, but this is difficult to control at the nanometre scale. In research published in the Royal Society’s new open access journal, Royal Society Open Science, the behaviour of a single pair of nanorods was analysed, which revealed the experimental conditions in which lattices of nanorods could be controlled.

Photoactivatable metal complexes
metal-complexesPhotoactivation of metal complexes presents relatively unexplored potential for the discovery of new chemistry with applications in biotechnology and medicine. This short review in Philosophical Transactions A highlights some of the exciting new experimental and theoretical developments in the field of photoactivatable metal complexes. These systems may have promising applications in medical imaging and site-directed drug delivery, but scientists are only just starting to understand their behaviour.

Chemistry of biological molecules
Image from Thomas Splettstoesser via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0Questions regarding the chemical behaviour of biological molecules rank amongst the most critical that scientists are trying to answer. Of particular importance is the interaction between DNA and ultraviolet light, a process that has repercussions not just for mankind, but also for all life on Earth. Such a large biological molecule, however, presents a tremendous challenge to study and understand. This Proceedings A article outlines the current, state-of-the-art experimental methodologies that are employed to study the photochemistry of subunits of large biomolecules in the gas phase, thus providing unprecedented insight into the ultrafast dynamics and spectroscopy of these important molecules.

Properties of native plant latex
Image from CEphoto, Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0A new way of testing the mechanical properties of sap has been developed. The results, published in Interface, allow a better understanding how plants protect themselves when they become injured. By testing minute samples of sap, specifically latex, from species of Euphorbia and Ficus the researchers found that these species appear to have two quite different means of protection. They found that when injured, the latex produced by the Euphobias takes a long time to harden, suggesting its primary use by the plant to deliver anti-herbivory compounds, for example to stop biting insects. Ficus latex on the other hand takes very little time to harden, suggesting that rapid wound sealing is more important.

If you missed our favourite open access articles in earth science yesterday then you can find out more here. Tomorrow we’ll be highlighting ecology and evolutionary biology.

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