Researcher Gains 30,000% Saving Using "Bargain Basement" Chemistry To Create Complex Industrially Useful Molecules

November 28, 1997

Dr Mike Hannon, from the University of Warwick's Department of Chemistry, has developed an innovative "bargain basement" chemistry to create industrially and medically useful complex molecules by methods 30,000% cheaper than conventional means.

Supramolecular chemists have been able to ape nature's methods of building large or complex chemical structures such as triangles, strings of chemical "boxes" or even a triple helix but they have only been able to do so by assembling together expensive, carefully crafted, chemical building blocks (ligands) that they were 100% sure could do the job of assembling the final complex but useful structures. These carefully designed ligands are designed to have very rigid, clearly defined, chemical structures and are also optimised to form strong bonds with the other ligands and chemical building blocks required to form the final structures. To manufacture these carefully crafted building blocks chemists must perform many time consuming multi-step syntheses that also often require very expensive starting materials.

"If one could buy imagine purchasing these building blocks from a shop it would have to be Harrods or Bloomingdales" said Dr Hannon.

Industry and medicine have been loathe to make use of such an expensive process but now Dr Hannon has modelled and proved methods that use much cheaper "bargain basement" ligands. These have much less rigidity than the "Harrods/Bloomingdales" ligands. However by using these "bargain basement" building blocks Dr Hannon has been able to create some complex structures ie; triangles, helicates (such as a triple helix), knots and grids, that could have profound industrial and chemical uses, for prices of around 30 pounds sterling a kilogram. Conventional processes can cost around 1000 pounds sterling a gramme - a saving of 30,000%.

A presentation on this work at a special event held at the House of Commons last week earned Dr Hannon the Westminster Prize acknowledging him as one of the UK's top young research chemists. Another University of Warwick young chemist, Dr Andrew Clark, was awarded the second prize at this event, (the Society of Chemical Industry Prize).The award ceremony was organised by the Chemistry Research for Britain organisation which is supported by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, learned societies, professional associations and institutions active in chemical science and technology, and also by the UK's science research councils. Two dozen MPs were in attendance at the event. The two researchers were selected from 43 finalists.
-end-


University of Warwick

Related Chemistry Articles from Brightsurf:

Searching for the chemistry of life
In the search for the chemical origins of life, researchers have found a possible alternative path for the emergence of the characteristic DNA pattern: According to the experiments, the characteristic DNA base pairs can form by dry heating, without water or other solvents.

Sustainable chemistry at the quantum level
University of Pittsburgh Associate Professor John A. Keith is using new quantum chemistry computing procedures to categorize hypothetical electrocatalysts that are ''too slow'' or ''too expensive'', far more thoroughly and quickly than was considered possible a few years ago.

Can ionic liquids transform chemistry?
Table salt is a commonplace ingredient in the kitchen, but a different kind of salt is at the forefront of chemistry innovation.

Principles for a green chemistry future
A team led by researchers from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies recently authored a paper featured in Science that outlines how green chemistry is essential for a sustainable future.

Sugar changes the chemistry of your brain
The idea of food addiction is a very controversial topic among scientists.

Reflecting on the year in chemistry
A lot can happen in a year, especially when it comes to science.

Better chemistry through tiny antennae
A research team at The University of Tokyo has developed a new method for actively controlling the breaking of chemical bonds by shining infrared lasers on tiny antennae.

Chemistry in motion
For the first time, researchers have managed to view previously inaccessible details of certain chemical processes.

Researchers enrich silver chemistry
Researchers from Russia and Saudi Arabia have proposed an efficient method for obtaining fundamental data necessary for understanding chemical and physical processes involving substances in the gaseous state.

The chemistry behind kibble (video)
Have you ever thought about how strange it is that dogs eat these dry, weird-smelling bits of food for their entire lives and never get sick of them?

Read More: Chemistry News and Chemistry Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.