Physical chemistry

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 |

    Light is often used to trigger reactions, energetically exciting the reactant(s) to kick them over the intrinsic reaction barrier. Now, however, the reaction between an excited atom and a charged molecule at very low temperatures has been shown not to adhere to this paradigm, instead undergoing a reaction blockading effect.

    • Roland Wester
  • Research Highlights |

    A potential new source of hydroxyl radicals – that mediate the reactions of organic aerosols in the atmosphere – has been identified.

    • Claire Ashworth
  • News and Views |

    The longstanding ‘polyelectrolyte theory of the gene’ proposes that a multiply charged backbone is the universal signature of all genetic polymer systems that support life. Now, the first tenable challenge to this theory has been mounted, through the successful engineering of enzymes which can synthesize and reverse-transcribe from an artificial, uncharged nucleic acid analogue.

    • Asha Brown
    •  & Tom Brown
    Nature Chemistry 11, 501-503
  • News and Views |

    A classic study found that crystalline ice adopts an amorphous form when compressed. Experiments now find that alternative phase transitions can occur — with implications for theories about water’s structure.

    • John S. Tse
    Nature 569, 495-496