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  • DNA-templated synthesis of chiral inorganic assemblies often requires chemical modification of the template. Now, a route exploiting the native chemistry of unmodified DNA origami templates provides access to 3D chiral assemblies.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Water adsorption in soft nanoporous materials can trigger large-scale structural transitions and introduce new properties in the confined water phase. Here, we look at some of the outstanding questions in this lively field of research.

    • François-Xavier Coudert
    • Anne Boutin
    • Alain H. Fuchs
    Comment Open Access
  • The Hückel rule defines that monocyclic and planar conjugated systems containing [4n + 2] π electrons are aromatic. Here, the authors highlight boron species that feature a globally 4n π system, defying the Hückel rule, but nonetheless exhibit aromaticity.

    • Kei Ota
    • Rei Kinjo
    Comment Open Access
  • The commercial use of natural methane hydrate is hampered by several open questions that remain regarding hydrate formation. Here the authors comment on past interpretations and aim to provide a roadmap for developing a predictive theory of methane hydrate nucleation.

    • Guang-Jun Guo
    • Zhengcai Zhang
    Comment Open Access
  • The process of thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) converts non-radiative triplet states into emissive singlet states. Herein we outline the fundamentals of TADF, some of the recent progress in understanding the key material properties responsible for promoting TADF and finally discuss some remaining challenges for the  potential applications of this phenomenon.

    • Julien Eng
    • Thomas J. Penfold
    Comment Open Access
  • Superheavy elements are ideal for furthering our understanding of relativistic effects and how they affect physicochemical properties of heavy elements. In this comment, the author discusses the role of chemistry in the synthesis of new elements before addressing the future challenges concerning the chemical characterization of superheavy elements.

    • Patrick Steinegger
    Comment Open Access
  • Ultrafast singlet fission has the potential to facilitate highly efficient photovoltaics through the multiplication of excitons in organic molecular architectures. Here, we consider the interplay of molecular structure and intermolecular coupling toward enabling ultrafast singlet fission and discuss open questions in the field.

    • Justin C. Johnson
    Comment Open Access
  • Preorganization is an effective strategy for f-element separation, but the complexity of extractant synthesis hinders large-scale application. Here the authors discuss an alternative strategy induced by in situ self-assembly that borrows principles of multivalent cooperativity from Nature to separate f-elements.

    • Lixi Chen
    • Shuao Wang
    Comment Open Access
  • Lewis acid additives such as aluminium can enable fascinating new reactivity in transition metal catalysts, but few catalytic intermediates have been characterised. Now, a nickel-aluminium pincer complex offers new mechanistic insight into transmetalation, and new potential for reactivity.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Lithium-ion batteries suffer from declining performance when the electrolyte decomposes. Now, low-dosage cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) visualizes how the common solid electrolyte interface component lithium carbonate decomposes and how additives stabilize the interface.

    • Teresa S. Ortner
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Permanent magnets constructed from metal ions and organic linkers using molecular design principles could bring transformative advances in areas such as energy conversion, transportation, and information storage. This comment highlights the recent discovery of a metal–organic magnet ordering at 242 °C, and discusses future research directions and possible applications involving such materials.

    • Ryan A. Murphy
    • Jeffrey R. Long
    • T. David Harris
    Comment 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
  • The chemical space of prebiotic chemistry is extremely large, while extant biochemistry uses only a few thousand interconnected molecules. Here we discuss how the connection between these two regimes can be investigated, and explore major outstanding questions in the origin of life.

    • Christopher J. Butch
    • Markus Meringer
    • H. James Cleaves II
    Comment Open Access
  • Molecular knots are evolving from academic curiosities to a practically useful class of mechanically interlocked molecules, capable of performing unique tasks at the nanoscale. In this comment, the author discusses the properties of molecular knots, and highlights future challenges for chemical topology.

    • Fredrik Schaufelberger
    Comment Open Access