Image and Design: Rachael Tremlett

From new theories to new spectroscopies

New theoretical descriptions can help reveal fundamental aspects of light–matter interactions hidden by the use of common approximations.

Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Bio-interface materials inspired by natural systems that respond efficiently to various external stimuli can dynamically regulate molecular interactions between biological entities and material surfaces. In this Review, Gomes and colleagues describe advances in bio-interface materials that may provide insights into cell behaviour, biofouling and the production of on-demand devices with medical applications, among others.

    • Bárbara Santos Gomes
    • , Bárbara Simões
    •  & Paula M. Mendes
  • Review Article |

    Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is the most complete theoretical framework to date to complement experimental spectroscopies in chemistry. Owing to its complexity, several approximations are needed in order to be able to apply QED in practice. This Review highlights how the breakdown of some of these approximations challenges our understanding of light–matter interactions and discusses how new theoretical developments can help to overcome these approximations.

    • Michael Ruggenthaler
    • , Nicolas Tancogne-Dejean
    • , Johannes Flick
    • , Heiko Appel
    •  & Angel Rubio
  • Review Article |

    The approximation underlying most atomistic simulations to treat nuclei classically can lead to large errors and the failure to capture important physical effects. This Review reports on recent developments that enable modelling of quantum nuclei at a computational cost comparable with that of a classical simulation.

    • Thomas E. Markland
    •  & Michele Ceriotti
  • Review Article |

    The design of synthetic systems that mimic the ability of biological systems to control chemical reactions using intricate molecular machines is a long-held dream of nanotechnology. This Review discusses how developments in controlled molecular switching and movement are being exploited in the design of catalysts that are just beginning to emulate the complexity of living systems.

    • Lucy van Dijk
    • , Michael J. Tilby
    • , Robert Szpera
    • , Owen A. Smith
    • , Holly A. P. Bunce
    •  & Stephen P. Fletcher
  • Review Article |

    The metals in polyoxometalates need not be in their highest oxidation states. Indeed, polyoxometalates can exist in reduced forms, and several different metals can be incorporated into various structural archetypes. This Review describes the synthesis and characterization of these complexes, along with their topical catalytic, electronic and biological properties.

    • Nadiia I. Gumerova
    •  & Annette Rompel
  • Review Article |

    Iterative approaches to synthesis have revolutionized the preparation and study of peptides, nucleic acids and sugars. This Review discusses whether and how such iterative syntheses can be applied more broadly towards an ultimate goal of developing a building block approach to the synthesis of most small organic molecules.

    • Jonathan W. Lehmann
    • , Daniel J. Blair
    •  & Martin D. Burke

News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Efficient redox catalysis offers an important avenue in using renewable energy to process fuels. To this end, efforts in homogeneous, heterogeneous and microbial catalysis may each advance our fundamental understanding and technological capabilities.

  • In the Classroom |

    Lecture capture is just one way in which new technology is changing teaching, but we should embrace its opportunities rather than fear its shortcomings, argues Katherine Haxton.

    • Katherine Haxton
  • Research Highlight |

    Phosphonium adducts of pyridines are labile in basic solution, an undesirable property with regard to organic synthesis. Yet, this very lability proves valuable for the labelling of pyridine and diazines with heavier isotopes of hydrogen.

    • Andrew Bissette
  • Research Highlight |

    Electrocatalytic O2 reduction on metal surfaces is well understood in acidic solution, but the mechanism in basic solution has been a point of contention. On studying the O2 reduction activities of a series of Pt(111)–Cu surface alloys, it becomes clear that the surface-bound oxygenic intermediates are the same regardless of the pH.

    • David Schilter