Table of contents



Who's better, who's best? p251


There are many different criteria that can be taken into account when judging the scientific success of individual researchers, but are some more meaningful than others?

Subject Category: General chemistry



Reaching out to complexity pp252 - 253

Bruce C. Gibb


Although many chemists are no strangers to complicated molecular structures, they are less familiar with complex systems and emergent phenomena. Bruce C. Gibb suggests that teamwork is the best way forward for tackling these subjects, and considers how university departments are changing to promote collaboration.

Subject Category: General chemistry


Research Highlights

Our choice from the recent literature pp254 - 255


Blogroll: A textbook example p255



News and Views

Bioanalytical chemistry: Protein oligomers frozen in time pp257 - 258

David E. Clemmer & Stephen J. Valentine


The size and shape of amyloid-beta protein assemblies have been studied using electrospray-ionization ion-mobility mass spectrometry, and the protein tetramers and dodecamers have been identified as an important oligomerization state in the development of neurodegenerative disease.

Subject Categories: Analytical chemistry | Biochemistry

Organic synthesis: Scavengers in full flow pp258 - 260

Peter H. Seeberger


Reducing the manual labour associated with chemical synthesis by using continuous-flow reactors that not only make compounds, but also purify them, opens up new avenues to reaction automation and rapid scale-up.

Subject Categories: Organic chemistry | Synthesis

Theoretical chemistry: Magnetic superatoms pp260 - 261

R. Bruce King


Clusters of atoms are generally only stable enough to form superatoms when they have filled electron shells, so how can they have magnetic properties?

Subject Category: Theoretical chemistry

Natural products: Beyond grind and find pp261 - 263

Scott J. Miller & Jon Clardy


Chemists are able to synthesize, and deduce the structure of, ever more complex molecules produced by nature, but what does the future hold for this venerable field, and what are the new challenges?

Subject Categories: Chemical biology | Organic chemistry

Microstructured particles: Sectioned cylinders p263

Neil Withers


Subject Categories: Polymer chemistry | Materials chemistry

Mechanostereochemistry: Breaking the rules pp264 - 265

Irmgard Frank & Jana Friedrichs


Molecular dynamics simulations have been used to verify and understand recent experimental results that show that Woodward–Hoffmann rules can be circumvented by applying a force across the breaking bond.

Subject Categories: Theoretical chemistry | Organic chemistry

Chemical bonding: Rethinking carbon pp265 - 266

C. Adam Dyker & Guy Bertrand


The covalent bonding behaviour of carbon is the mainstay of organic chemistry, but in some compounds carbon seems to behave more like a metal.

Subject Categories: Organic chemistry | Organometallic chemistry

Metal–organic materials: A reversible step forward pp267 - 268

Michael J. Zaworotko


Complete control over the composition, structure, scale and bulk properties of crystalline materials remains a generally elusive but worthwhile dream. The reversible stepwise assembly of a new porous, crystalline metal–organic material with large chambers now takes us closer to this goal.

Subject Categories: Materials chemistry | Supramolecular chemistry



Metal-catalysed 1,2-diamination reactions pp269 - 275

Francesca Cardona & Andrea Goti


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The 1,2-diamine motif is found in a number of bioactive natural products, pharmaceuticals, and ligands for organometallic chemistry. Here, the recent advances in the synthesis of such structures by direct metal-catalysed diamination of alkenes are considered, and opportunities for future research in the area identified.

Subject Categories: Catalysis | Organic chemistry | Synthesis



Nanostructured functional materials prepared by atom transfer radical polymerization pp276 - 288

Krzysztof Matyjaszewski & Nicolay V. Tsarevsky


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The simplicity and broad applicabilty of atom transfer radical polymerization make it a rapidly developing area of synthetic polymer chemistry. Here, the fundamentals of the technique are discussed, along with how it can be used to synthesize macromolecules with controlled molecular architecture, and how their self-assembly can create nanostructured functional materials.

Subject Categories: Polymer chemistry | Materials chemistry | Nanotechnology



Chemically blockable transformation and ultraselective low-pressure gas adsorption in a non-porous metal organic framework pp289 - 294

Bo Xiao, Peter J. Byrne, Paul S. Wheatley, David S. Wragg, Xuebo Zhao, Ashleigh J. Fletcher, K. Mark Thomas, Lars Peters, John S. O. Evans, John E. Warren, Wuzong Zhou & Russell E. Morris


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Materials formed by linking metal ions with organic ligands have potential for gas adsorption and storage, and can be flexible in response to stimuli. Now, suitable organic linkers result in a material that undergoes a large structural change, but does not lose crystallinity.

Subject Categories: Materials chemistry | Inorganic chemistry

Coordination chemistry at carbon pp295 - 301

Manuel Alcarazo, Christian W. Lehmann, Anakuthil Anoop, Walter Thiel & Alois Fürstner


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A systematic variation of ligand properties allows an in-depth experimental and theoretical study of a highly non-canonical bonding situation in certain organic compounds, and provides insight into the criteria that must be fulfilled for such compounds to be truly considered as carbon(0)-containing entities.

Subject Categories: Organic chemistry | Organometallic chemistry

See also: News and Views by Dyker & Bertrand

Bimetallic Pd(III) complexes in palladium-catalysed carbon–heteroatom bond formation pp302 - 309

David C. Powers & Tobias Ritter


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Chemistry of palladium in the 0, I, II and IV oxidation states is well established. Here, concerted reductive elimination from bimetallic Pd(III)–Pd(III) complexes is observed for the first time in carbon–heteroatom bond-forming processes relevant to oxidative palladium catalysis.

Subject Categories: Catalysis | Organometallic chemistry

Designer magnetic superatoms pp310 - 315

J. Ulises Reveles, Peneé A. Clayborne, Arthur C. Reber, Shiv N. Khanna, Kalpataru Pradhan, Prasenjit Sen & Mark R. Pederson


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Some clusters of atoms, such as Al13-, can behave as though they are themselves atoms. Most of these 'superatoms' have filled shells of paired electrons, but calculations now suggest that a vanadium–caesium cluster with a partially filled d-shell acts like manganese, displaying magnetic properties.

Subject Category: Theoretical chemistry

See also: News and Views by King

Specific fluorogenic probes for ozone in biological and atmospheric samples pp316 - 321

Amanda L. Garner, Claudette M. St Croix, Bruce R. Pitt, George D. Leikauf, Shin Ando & Kazunori Koide


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In addition to environmental concerns about ozone, there is some debate regarding its role in biological systems. Researchers have now developed a fluorescent molecular probe that can selectively detect ozone — in preference to other reactive oxygen species — in both atmospheric and biological samples.

Subject Categories: Analytical chemistry | Chemical biology | Environmental chemistry

Carboalumination of a chromium–chromium quintuple bond pp322 - 325

Awal Noor, Germund Glatz, Robert Müller, Martin Kaupp, Serhiy Demeshko & Rhett Kempe


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Extremely short quintuple bonds between chromium atoms have recently been discovered. Carboalumination reactions have now been performed to further investigate the properties of these unusual bonds, and show that they have interesting analogies to lower-order bonds, as well as revealing more about the nature of quintuple bonds.

Subject Category: Inorganic chemistry

Amyloid-β protein oligomerization and the importance of tetramers and dodecamers in the aetiology of Alzheimer's disease pp326 - 331

Summer L. Bernstein, Nicholas F. Dupuis, Noel D. Lazo, Thomas Wyttenbach, Margaret M. Condron, Gal Bitan, David B. Teplow, Joan-Emma Shea, Brandon T. Ruotolo, Carol V. Robinson & Michael T. Bowers


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Ion-mobility mass spectrometry has been used to identify and characterize the oligomeric assemblies of amyloid-β proteins under physiologically relevant conditions. Hexamers and dodecamers are formed only from Aβ42 proteins and the dodecamer is identified as a candidate for the primary toxic agent in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Subject Category: Analytical chemistry

See also: News and Views by Clemmer & Valentine


In Your Element

Tales of technetium p332

Eric Scerri


The story of the last element to be discovered out of the first 92 catalogued in the periodic table is told by Eric Scerri, who reminds us that technetium can be found a little closer to home than many of us might think.