Chris Thomson found this glowing material after filtering the products of a catalytic reaction and couldn’t help but take a photo of it because it resembled the Tesseract featured in the Avengers film franchise. The material, however, does not contain a single Infinity Stone. It’s made up of a bunch of polystyrene beads decorated with a benzothiadiazole derivative that fluoresces under ultraviolet light. Thomson, a PhD student at Heriot-Watt University and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Critical Resource Catalysis under the supervision of Filipe Vilela and Ai-Lan Lee, is looking for catalysts that can be used in flow chemistry to replace rare-earth catalysts currently used in organic synthesis. Plus, the bead-supported catalysts he makes are easy to separate from a reaction, which means they could be recycled. —Manny Morone
Submitted by Chris Thomson
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