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  • head shot of Larissa K. S. von Krbek

    This month we thank Dr. Larissa K. S. von Krbek from the University of Bonn, Germany. Her group investigates out-of-equilibrium supramolecular systems, currently focusing on metallo-supramolecular complexes and cages whose self-organisation is activated by either chemical or photochemical stimuli.

  • symbol image of question marks

    This collection aims to uncover open questions across the breadth of the chemical sciences. Each Comment provides an overview of a focused field of research, identifies key open questions, and gives expert opinion on how challenges in answering these questions might be overcome.

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  • Hydrosilylation of allyl chloride with trichlorosilane is industrially important but often proceeds unselectively. Here a Rh(I) catalyst which achieves 99% selectivity on gram scale is described, based on bidentate phosphine ligands.

    • Koya Inomata
    • Yuki Naganawa
    • Yumiko Nakajima
    Article Open Access
  • Molecular dynamics-based approaches to calculate absolute protein–ligand binding free energy often rely on equilibrium free energy perturbation (FEP) protocols. Here, the authors study ligands binding to bromodomains and T4 lysozyme and find that both equilibrium and non-equilibrium approaches converge to the same results with the non-equilibrium method converging faster than FEP.

    • Vytautas Gapsys
    • Ahmet Yildirim
    • Bert L. de Groot
    Article Open Access
  • Palladium can absorb high volumes of hydrogen, but the morphology and 3D displacements occurring during palladium hydride phase formation are not fully characterized in the literature. Here, the authors use Bragg coherent diffraction imaging to map the strain within an individual palladium nanoparticle before and during hydride phase transformation, identifying a characteristic displacement caused by the seed particle in the nanocrystal.

    • Ana F. Suzana
    • Longlong Wu
    • Ian K. Robinson
    Article Open Access
  • How the structure of fibril-forming peptides influences the material and structural characteristics of their resultant assemblies remains an open question. Here, aliphatic to aromatic amino acid substitution in such peptides is shown to have little effect on the tendency to form amyloid-like fibrils, but instead alters the pathway by which they form and the mechanical properties of peptide supramolecular assemblies.

    • Nidhi Aggarwal
    • Dror Eliaz
    • Ulyana Shimanovich
    Article Open Access
  • Preparation of cyclobutanes with four different substituents is rare and often arduous. Here a cocrystallisation strategy enables the intermolecular [2+2] cross-photoreaction of non-symmetrical stilbene derivatives to obtain chiral tetrasubstituted cyclobutanes with up to four different substituents in quantitative yield.

    • Michael A. Sinnwell
    • Ryan H. Groeneman
    • Leonard R. MacGillivray
    Article Open Access
  • Criegee intermediates are reactive intermediates formed in Earth’s atmosphere through ozonolysis of alkenes. Here the authors outline the fundamental chemistry that influences their highly conformer- and substituent-dependent unimolecular and bimolecular reactivity, and discuss open questions of fundamental and atmospheric interest.

    • Rebecca L. Caravan
    • Michael F. Vansco
    • Marsha I. Lester
    Comment Open Access
  • Contact freezing of water is a very fast and common process that is still not well understood due to challenges in probing this microscopic phenomenon. Now, molecular dynamics simulations help to explain experimental data of contact freezing, showing a connection between water’s suspected propensity to undergo surface freezing and the kinetic enhancement during contact nucleation.

    • Teresa S. Ortner
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Molecular replication could offer insight into the fundamentals of evolution, but achieving controlled mutation is difficult. Now, a synthetic replicator that allows for simple control over its mutation rate has been reported.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Nanoscience has progressed tremendously in the exploration of new phenomena not seen in bulk materials, however, the transition between nanoscale and bulk properties is not yet fully understood. Here the authors identify and discuss remaining open questions that call for future efforts.

    • Rongchao Jin
    • Tatsuya Higaki
    Comment Open Access
  • Carbon mineralization is a versatile and thermodynamically downhill process that can be harnessed for capturing, storing, and utilizing CO2 to synthesize products with enhanced properties. Here the author discusses the advances in and challenges of carbon mineralization, and concludes that tuning the chemical interactions involved will allow us to unlock its potential for advancing low carbon energy and resource conversion pathways.

    • Greeshma Gadikota
    Comment Open Access
Open Questions in Chemistry

Open Questions in Chemistry

In spite of decades of research and the enormous progress made, chemists continue to grapple with poorly understood aspects of the world around us. This collection aims to uncover open questions across the breadth of the chemical sciences. Each Comment provides an overview of a focused field of research, identifies key open questions, and gives expert opinion on how challenges in answering these questions might be overcome.
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