This issue, we’re raising a glass, — gin, vodka or whiskey — to chemistry. The occasion?  The expanding landscape of micro-distilling, thanks to the loosening of provincial laws and regulations. In the feature “Good spirits,” we explore the complexity of these new libation operations, which demand a flair for chemistry, business savvy and a respect for traditional artisanship.

In “Silicon renaissance,” ACCN inquires into the research of Jonathan Veinot, who, with his eponymous research group at the University of Alberta, is exploring silicon’s vast potential. Made from one of the most plentiful elements on Earth, silicon nanocrystals promise to change conventional technology, whether it’s by fighting cancer, enhancing electric car batteries or improving solar photovoltaics. 

In “Mitigation made to measure,” we look at some of the innovations occurring in the Alberta oil sands industry, which is focused on meeting new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards set by provincial and federal law and international treaties, most notably the Paris Agreement. The most recent innovation is a new satellite that is supported by Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), a group of 13 oil sands producers. Made by the Montreal firm GHGSat, the satellite, called CLAIRE, remotely senses and measures GHGs from places like the oil sands. Such precise measurement capabilities are an important step towards tackling GHG emissions.

Our Chemical News section has a bounty of interesting stories. A McMaster University group of supramolecular chemists has devised a new way to stimulate molecules to join with one another and form discrete structures like rings. Another McMaster group of chemical engineers has figured out how to penetrate the mucous layer of the eye in order to directly deliver medication that would otherwise be quickly washed away by normal tearing. 

Dalhousie University chemist Josef Zwanziger has taken on the delicate study of glass, focusing on how atoms bond in order to help develop better materials such as enhanced fibre optic networks. At the University of Toronto, a team has developed a cathode made of a biologically derived polymer that is based on a flavin from vitamin B2 which has the potential to create flexible thin-film and transparent batteries. 

There is much more to read, including the usual gamut of insightful columns, such as Chemfusion’s look at how chemistry is used to thwart terrorists at airports.
Hope you had a great summer and welcome back to the office, laboratory or classroom­.