Physical chemistry

Definition

Physical chemistry is one of the traditional sub-disciplines of chemistry and is concerned with the application of the concepts and theories of physics to the analysis of the chemical properties and reactive behaviour of matter. While also at the interface between physics and chemistry, it is distinct from chemical physics.

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Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Ejecting electrons from negative ions using light can create structures that very closely resemble the transition states of bimolecular reactions. Now, using this technique, trapped quantum states, or 'resonances', have been observed in a seven-atom reaction, and theory has been shown to be up to the task of capturing such complex phenomena.

    • Robert E. Continetti
    Nature Chemistry 9, 931–932
  • News and Views |

    Water is increasingly recognized as being of paramount importance in biological processes, yet its exact role remains difficult to elucidate. Now, the motion of water molecules within and around a synthetic peptide-amphiphile nanofibre has been precisely determined, showing significant differences between its core and surface.

    • Yoshimitsu Itoh
    •  & Takuzo Aida
    Nature Chemistry 9, 934–936
  • News and Views |

    Identifying and imaging catalytically active sites on solid surfaces is a grand challenge for science. A microscopy technique has been developed that images 'noise' to detect active sites with nanometre-scale resolution. See Letter p.74

    • Christian Dette
    •  & Shannon W. Boettcher
    Nature 549, 34–35
  • Editorial |

    A detailed picture of how DNA is copied and modified comes from a molecular-level understanding of DNA and the enzymes that process it. Why is DNA not always copied correctly, and what happens when its bases are modified?

  • Comments and Opinion |

    Controversy surrounds the perceived absence of a relationship between DNA polymerase fidelity (kinetic discrimination) and free energy changes determined from DNA melting studies (thermodynamic discrimination). Thermodynamic discrimination together with aqueous solvent effects can account for kinetic fidelities on the order of those observed experimentally.

    • John Petruska
    •  & Myron F. Goodman