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Eight Emerging Areas of Chemistry That Is Changing Science and Technology Research

As a chemist, I have taking time to discuss some of the emerging multidisciplinary chemistry areas that are changing research methodologies

Different scientists working in cross disciplinary laboratory

Different scientists working in cross disciplinary laboratory

Eight Emerging Areas of Chemistry that is Changing Science and Technology


Research in chemistry have evolved, and is no longer limited by the five major divisions of chemistry. Currently, chemist are taking up careers in areas that are combinations of chemistry and some other major disciplines across science and technology. Furthermore, the cross-disciplinary nature has made research in chemistry more interesting and challenging, plus more chemists are beginning to work with other scientist to explore research opportunities together.

This revolutionary way of learning is changing the way we do traditional research in Science and Technology. Discussed below are some of these interdisciplinary areas in chemistry that are driving higher curiosity, more creativity, as well as originality in research processes.

1. Nano Chemistry

Nanochemistry is the study of chemistry at nanoscale level, about the length scale spanning 10-9 to 10-12 m. It entails developing devices and materials atom by atom, using molecular scale precision.

Nanochemistry involves the synthesis, and characterization of materials on the nanoscale. It assembles, and prepares matter which displays improved electronic, optical, chemical, magnetic, and mechanical behaviors unique to nanometer size. This emerging sub-discipline of solid-chemistry involves the manipulation of shape, size, composition and surface structure to achieve new properties.

Nanochemist conduct research with Physicist, biologist, Agricultural scientist, material scientist and polymer engineers,

Five common applications of nanochemistry are the prevention of bacteria growth using nano silver oxide, nano silicon chips for electronic, nano solar panels, wastewater purification, and Light weighting of cars.

2.Chemical Physics

Chemical physics is different from physical chemistry and lies at the bother between physics and chemistry. It is the application of theories and concepts to the study of chemical systems, and their physical behavior. It combines physical chemistry, atomic and molecular physics that centers on the behavior, structure of molecules, unique characteristics of small molecular systems, dynamics of chemical reactions, and intermolecular forces. Chemical physics scope involves studying chemical reactions and phenomena, using techniques from atomic and molecular physics, and condensed matter physics.

Chemist pursuing career in chemical physics work with Physicist, chemical technologist, chemical scientists and chemical engineers.

Four practical applications of chemical physics include modeling single molecule trajectories, super resolution laser, replication and folding of protein molecules, and two-dimensional spectroscopy are some of the applications of chemical physicists.

3.Chemical Biology

Chemical biology is a relatively new field and involves the application of chemistry and chemical techniques to study biological systems. Chemical biology is distinct from biochemistry because it involves the development, and addition of novel chemical compounds to a biological system to see the effect of chemicals on tissues and cells.

Then again, biochemistry focuses on proteins and nucleic acids, while chemical biology is driven to dissect chemical and biological complexity until new chemical, and biological insights emerge. The sub-discipline lies at the interface of chemistry and biology.

The main disciplines involved are chemitry and biology, although biological scientist and bio-engineers can be part of the research team.

Five common applications of chemical biology include controlling cell division and cell activities, manipulating stem cells, using chemicals compounds to treat specific pathogens, the development of fluorescent sensor proteins, development of new spectroscopic probes for biological applications.

4. Quantum Chemistry

Quantum chemistry is defined as the theoretical study of chemical systems using quantum mechanics. It is a powerful tool for studying molecular reactions and properties, or systems under review using Schrödinger equation.

The emergence of quantum chemistry brings about the manipulation of states of matter, which takes advantage of features such as superposition, and entanglement to solve complex algorithms. Recent innovation involves the use DFT (Density Functional Theory), and time dependent DFT that makes it possible to achieve high levels of accuracies comparable to molecular experiments.

Quantum chemist work together with Physicist, mathematicians, computer scientist and mechatronic engineers.

Five typical applications of quantum chemistry are found in cyber security, computers, light emitting diodes, incandescent bulbs, and development of artificial intelligence

Using Quantum mechanics to solve Schrödinger equation

Using Quantum mechanics to solve Schrödinger equation

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Material synthesis and characterization

Material synthesis and characterization

5.Materials Chemistry

Materials chemistry is the study at the molecular level of substances that involves four components of design or preparation, synthesis, characterization and application of materials with unique physical, chemical, optical, structural, magnetic and catalytic properties. On a broader sense, materials chemistry focuses on understanding the relationship involved in the arrangement of ions, molecules, atoms that make up a material.

Materials chemistry techniques also predict the structures, and properties of materials using advanced computational techniques. It comprises of solid state chemistry, surface chemistry, polymer chemistry, and materials science to predict overall bulk, and structural properties.

Materials chemist work with material Physicist, material scientist, materials engineers and polymer engineers.

Five known applications of materials chemistry includes development of integrated circuit chips, composites, superconducting materials, coatings and sensors.

6. Green Chemistry

Green chemistry is also known as sustainable chemistry because it studies the life cycle of a product, including design, manufacture, use and ultimate disposal. Green chemistry deals with the design, synthesis, and characterization of materials in such a way as to minimize environmental risk, and health of humans. Green chemistry involves twelve core areas which are:

  1. waste control,
  2. atom effectiveness,
  3. safer chemicals scheming,
  4. safer solvents and auxiliaries,
  5. application of non-destructive of reagents.
  6. use of renewable feed stocks,
  7. design for energy efficiency,
  8. shorter combinations,
  9. use of safer chemicals and process,
  10. techniques to control pollution,
  11. design for dreadful conditions.
  12. use of Catalytic instead of Stoichiometric reagents

Green chemist works with biologist, civil engineers, environmental engineers, public health scientists and biotechnologist.

Five major research innovations from green chemistry includes, biodegradable plastics, eco-friendly dry clean-up of clothes, insulating of house, rainwater harvesting systems, and green technology buildings.

7. Astro Chemistry

Astro chemistry is an interdisciplinary field that involves chemistry and astronomy. It is the study of chemistry dealing with the universe, its parts, chemical composition and molecular evolution. The study is focused on reactions of molecules, ions, atoms in space and their influence on the structure, dynamics and evolution of astronomical objects.

The study further composes of formation, destruction and rearrangement of chemical bonds in space environments, and their interaction with a number of matter-energy contents of the universe. Astrochemists also investigates processes for stars, planets, comets, and interstellar media using experimental and computational laboratory studies to generate data for interpreting of astronomical observations,

Astrochemist works with astronomers, astrophysics and astrobiologist, astronomers and astronauts.

Five major applications are the use of telescopes to determine various aspects of bodies in space such as temperature and composition, lab-based studies that replicates the harsh environment of space, modeling and detecting infrared, ultraviolet, gamma, and radio waves of space, and use of satellites and space vehicles to gather spectroscopic data.

8.Computation Chemistry

Computational chemistry is a product of the digital age and separate from quantum chemistry. It involves the application of computational programs or tools from theoretical chemistry to solve chemical problems, unlike quantum chemistry used for development of those tools.

It covers the area of science that overlaps physicis, computer science, statistics, mathematics, and chemistry disciplines.

Computational chemistry uses the results of theoretical chemistry incorporated into supercomputers to calculate the structures and properties of molecules and solids. There are two major research branches of computational chemistry. One is based on quantum mechanics while the other is based on classical mechanics. Hence It uses a range of theoretical models to approximate Schrödinger equation in order to predict spectroscopic, electronic and structural properties.

Four typical applications include determining the selectivity of kinase inhibitors, computation for photosensitizer design and investigation of DNA damage, provides mechanistic understanding to enantio–selectivity in transition metal catalyzed asymmetric synthesis, and provides accurate thermochemical properties for a wide range of systems,

How can we get better from here

How can we get better from here


These areas of chemistry that were discussed are helping researchers to extract useful knowledge from data and optimize processes as well as characterize products. They have also become well established to help manufacturers design more productive and efficient processes. Moreover, they entail the synthesis and characterization of novel compounds and materials that will lead the science and technology industry over the next decade. In summary, these multidisciplinary research areas are expected to grow globally, driven by technological advances, increased private and government investment, and growing demand for super efficient devices.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Amarachi Nkwoada

Hello hubbers your comments are welcomed

Amarachi Nkwoada (author) from Nigerian on January 02, 2021:

Thank you @bhattuc

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 02, 2021:

Well presented.

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