Explore our collection on Open Questions in Chemistry

Latest Research

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Formose chemistry has been proposed as a prebiotic route to carbohydrates, but simple mechanisms that impart selectivity are few. Here a range of minerals thought to have existed in the Hadean environment are shown to bias the product distribution of mechanochemical carbohydrate synthesis towards pentoses and hexoses.

    • Maren Haas
    • , Saskia Lamour
    • , Sarah Babette Christ
    •  & Oliver Trapp
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Alloy systems like Si/FeSi2 nano composites have great potential as stable anode materials in Li-ion batteries, but their characterization at different scales and throughout their ageing remains challenging. Here the authors use scattering and 2D/3D imaging techniques combined with modeling to elucidate morphology changes upon cycling of the anode.

    • Thomas Vorauer
    • , Praveen Kumar
    • , Christopher L. Berhaut
    • , Fereshteh F. Chamasemani
    • , Pierre-Henri Jouneau
    • , David Aradilla
    • , Samuel Tardif
    • , Stephanie Pouget
    • , Bernd Fuchsbichler
    • , Lukas Helfen
    • , Selcuk Atalay
    • , Widanalage D. Widanage
    • , Stefan Koller
    • , Sandrine Lyonnard
    •  & Roland Brunner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The properties of nano-crystalline materials depend heavily on their size, therefore, understanding early crystallization processes is crucial. Here, the relationship between phosphorescence and crystal structures of three crystallizing Au(I) complexes bearing n-alkyl chains of different lengths is studied.

    • Yuki Kuroda
    • , Masakazu Tamaru
    • , Hitoya Nakasato
    • , Kyosuke Nakamura
    • , Manami Nakata
    • , Kyohei Hisano
    • , Kaori Fujisawa
    •  & Osamu Tsutsumi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Hydrogen for fuel cells is commonly stored in pressurized tanks, whereby safety and portability can be problematic. Here, a rechargeable proton exchange membrane fuel cell with an internal hydrogen storage polymer that is cyclable up to 50 times is presented.

    • Junpei Miyake
    • , Yasunari Ogawa
    • , Toshiki Tanaka
    • , Jinju Ahn
    • , Kouki Oka
    • , Kenichi Oyaizu
    •  & Kenji Miyatake
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ordered nanostructures generated by block copolymer microphase separation are promising templates for nanopatterning technologies, but achieving ultrasmall microphase-separated structures is highly challenging. Here the authors report a discrete block co-oligomer system capable of forming self-assembled nanostructures with ultrasmall periodicity.

    • Takuya Isono
    • , Ryoya Komaki
    • , Chaehun Lee
    • , Nao Kawakami
    • , Brian J. Ree
    • , Kodai Watanabe
    • , Kohei Yoshida
    • , Hiroaki Mamiya
    • , Takuya Yamamoto
    • , Redouane Borsali
    • , Kenji Tajima
    •  & Toshifumi Satoh
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Photocatalytic CO2 reduction requires catalysts that are both active and selective. Here, a mixture of CaGa4O7-loaded Ga2O3 and CaO, decorated with Ag@Cr core-shell particles, delivers over 835 µmol h−1 of CO at >95 % selectivity.

    • Rui Pang
    • , Kentaro Teramura
    • , Masashige Morishita
    • , Hiroyuki Asakura
    • , Saburo Hosokawa
    •  & Tsunehiro Tanaka

News & Comment

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Polymorphs, crystals with different structure and properties but the same molecular composition, arise from the subtle interplay between thermodynamics and kinetics during crystallisation. In this opinion piece, the authors review the latest developments in the field of polymorphism and discuss standing open questions.

    • Aurora J. Cruz-Cabeza
    • , Neil Feeder
    •  & Roger J. Davey
  • Research Highlight
    | Open Access

    Organic materials are highly sensitive to electron beam irradiation and thus easily damaged upon imaging by electron microscopy. Now, low-dose aberration-corrected high resolution transmission electron microscopy allows for less invasive near-atomic-scale imaging of a two-dimensional polymer.

    • Victoria Richards
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The activation of very inert small molecules generally requires highly reactive activating species, but the high energy of these species makes their regeneration, and thus also catalytic turnover of the reaction, difficult to achieve. Here, the authors highlight the formidable challenge of overcoming the tradeoff between activating power and catalytic turnover in the context of main-group ambiphiles.

    • Rian D. Dewhurst
    • , Marc-André Légaré
    •  & Holger Braunschweig
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Water can form a vast number of topological frameworks owing to its hydrogen-bonding ability, with 19 different forms of ice experimentally confirmed at present. Here, the authors comment on open questions and possible future discoveries, covering negative to ultrahigh pressures.

    • Thomas Loerting
    • , Violeta Fuentes-Landete
    • , Christina M. Tonauer
    •  & Tobias M. Gasser
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Glycans are ubiquitous in biology, but their complex structure and biosynthesis have challenged research of their wide-ranging roles. Here, the authors comment on current trends on the role of chemical methodologies in the field of glycobiology.

    • Mia I. Zol-Hanlon
    •  & Benjamin Schumann
  • Comment
    | Open Access

    Chemical reaction networks (CRNs) are prototypical complex systems because reactions are nonlinear and connected in intricate ways, and they are also essential to understand living systems. Here, the author discusses how recent developments in nonequilibrium thermodynamics provide new insight on how CRNs process energy and perform sophisticated tasks, and describes open challenges in the field.

    • Massimiliano Esposito

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