# Science

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With open facilities, the Brazilian Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS) annually welcomes about 1200 Brazilian and foreign researchers, committed to more than 400 studies that result in approximately 200 articles published in scientific journals. Check out below some of the many investigations that have benefited from LNLS facilities.

# Nanodrug against vitiligo

Successful in-vitro test shows potential for new treatment

Vitiligo is a disease characterized by loss of skin pigmentation due to the death of cells called melanocytes, responsible for melanin production. This disease afflicts up to 1% of the world population and current treatments are not effective and exhibit several side effects.

According to the most accepted theory, the disease results from an autoimmune reaction. It is known that one of the proteins involved in melanin synthesis, called TyRP-1, also functions as a melanocyte differentiation antigen, marking the melanocytes to be attacked by the immune system. Therefore, a possible strategy to thwart the progression of the disease is to prevent the production of TyRP-1.

# The Amazonian biodiversity applied to the production of second generation bioethanol

Enzyme extracted from microorganisms from Amazonian lake shows potential for biofuel production

The growing understanding that the rise in average temperature of the planet is caused by human action has, in recent years, intensified the search for clean, renewable and cheap energy sources. One alternative source are the second generation biofuels produced from agricultural waste, such as sugar cane straw and bagasse, which are mainly composed of cellulose. The production of second generation ethanol, for example, breaks down this cellulose into simpler sugars with the use of several enzymes, followed by fermentation into ethanol.

# Nanotechnology in plant fertilization

Research investigates mechanism of absorption and transport of zinc nanoparticles

In agriculture, several of the nutrients needed for the growth and development of plants are supplied or supplemented by fertilizers. Some nutrients, such as phosphorus ($\rm P$) and potassium ($\rm K$), are needed in large quantities, but obtained from limited mineral sources. Others - such as manganese ($\rm Mn$), copper ($\rm Cu$) or zinc ($\rm Zn$) - are only needed in small quantities and their excessive application can be toxic to plants or to important microorganisms present in the soil.

# Recycling of pollutants for alternative fuel production

Research analyzes the deactivation of nickel catalysts in dry reforming of methane

Hydrogen gas ($\rm H_2$) is one of the alternatives to fossil fuels since its combustion has as final product only water vapor. A promising way to produce hydrogen is from the so-called biogas: methane ($\rm CH_4$) and carbon dioxide ($\rm CO_2$) originated from the fermentation of organic matter in anaerobic environments, such as landfills.

One possible process for this transformation is the dry reforming of methane (DRM), where $\rm CO_2$ and $\rm CH_4$ in the biogas react (in the presence of a catalyst) yielding a mixture of $\rm H_2$ and carbon monoxide ($\rm CO$) known as the synthesis gas.

# Structure and Catalytic Activity of Copper Nanoparticles

Research investigates the addition of ceria on the activity of catalysts for the water-gas shift reaction

Catalysts are substances that promote and accelerate chemical reactions without being consumed during the process and are widely used in industrial processes to produce various chemicals.

Catalysts based on copper nanoparticles dispersed in an oxide support benefit various reactions, such as the synthesis of methanol, the alcohol dehydrogenation, or the water gas shift (WGS) reaction which is one of the main processes for hydrogen production on an industrial scale. In this reaction, carbon monoxide reacts with water to produce carbon dioxide $\rm CO_2$ and hydrogen gas $\rm H_2$.

# A new x-ray technique to unravel electronic properties of actinide compounds

A new research demonstrates a direct and selective way to investigate 5f electrons in actinide compounds as well as their interaction with other valence electrons

Actinides are a series of chemical elements that form the basis of nuclear fission technology, finding applications in strategic areas such as power generation, space exploration, diagnostics and medical treatments, and also in some special glass. Thorium (Th) and Uranium (U) are the most abundant actinides in the Earth's crust.

A deeper understanding of the properties of uranium and other actinides is necessary not only for their more efficient use in existing applications but also for proposing new applications. Several open questions remain, progress in this area usually limited in part by the difficulty in handling these materials safely.

# NEW CATALYSTS FOR THE SYNTHESIS OF ORGANIC COMPOUNDS

Research proposes new mechanism for Suzuki-type C-C homocoupling reaction catalyzed by palladium nanocubes

The production of chemical compounds from simpler organic molecules is of great importance for various industrial processes. It is based on the bonding between carbons of the precursor organic compounds, aided by catalysts (typically transition metals). These reactions make it possible to obtain natural and synthetic substances for the development of new materials, such as polymers and pharmaceuticals.

In particular, the so-called carbon-carbon (CC) cross-coupling reactions, in which two different precursor molecules are bound to form the final chemical compound, are of such importance that their development granted the 2010 Nobel Prize in chemistry to researchers Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki.

# Oxygen and the Degradation of Black Phosphorus

Research investigates the impact of oxidation on electronic and vibrational properties

Semiconductors are a class of materials essential for the electronics industry. They have intermediate properties between conductors and insulators, which can be modified by doping with different chemical elements or by the application of electric fields or light.

Black phosphorus is a stable form of phosphorus whose crystalline structure is composed by stacking two-dimensional, one atom thick, thin layers. This material has immense potential to be used in electronic devices at the nanoscale due to its semiconductor properties, which can be adjusted by the number of atomic layers according to the need.

# New Catalysts for Hydrogen Production

Research analyzes molybdenum catalysts doped with transition metals

The hydrogen gas ($\rm H_2$) is one of the best alternatives to fossil fuels because its combustion has as final product only water vapor. However, several technological challenges still need to be overcome in order to make it economically viable.

One way to produce hydrogen is by breaking down water molecules $\rm H_2O$, with formation of $\rm H_2$ molecules. The main reaction in this process is the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER) in which the protons in an acid medium are reduced and form hydrogen gas by electrons passed through catalysts.

# Improving the Treatment of Industrial Waste

Research uncovers the mechanism of memory effect of lamellar double hydroxides (LDH).

Synthetic dyes are in constant use in a wide variety of industries, from textile to cosmetics. Both the production and use of these substances can lead to environmental problems if they are not properly degraded or removed from industrial effluents. Among the many physical, chemical or biological processes that can be used for the treatment of such wastes, the adsorption processes are noteworthy for combining low cost and high removal rates.