Research articles

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  • The standard Mizoroki–Heck reaction of aryl halides usually makes electron-poor alkenes react exclusively on the β-carbon. Now, α-selective intramolecular and intermolecular versions of this reaction with electron-deficient alkenes are reported, giving access to otherwise difficult-to-synthesize products.

    • Francisco Garnes-Portolés
    • Rossella Greco
    • Antonio Leyva-Pérez
    Article
  • A major drive in current chemistry research is to develop asymmetric versions of widely used carbon–carbon bond-forming reactions, such as Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings. Now, the origins of diastereo- and enantioselectivity in a Rh-catalysed cross-coupling of boronic acid and racemic allyl halides have been established.

    • Lucy van Dijk
    • Ruchuta Ardkhean
    • Stephen P. Fletcher
    Article
  • The catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 to methanol is a crucial reaction for the recycling of this greenhouse gas, although the selection and related performance of commercial catalysts is still limited. Now, the authors introduce sulfur vacancy-rich MoS2 nanosheets as a superior catalyst for this process, rivalling the commercial benchmark system.

    • Jingting Hu
    • Liang Yu
    • Dehui Deng
    Article
  • Integration of biocatalysts into redox films has systematically led to a loss of their intrinsic reversibility. Now, a specially designed redox hydrogel preserves the reversibility of a [FeFe] hydrogenase and the importance of this feature for energy conversion applications is demonstrated.

    • Steffen Hardt
    • Stefanie Stapf
    • Nicolas Plumeré
    Article
  • Common strategies for catalyst design explore ways of fine-tuning continuous structure–property relationships. Here, the abrupt solid–liquid transition of Ga–In and Ga–Sn alloys is shown to have a profound impact on the CO2 electroreduction performance, with the molten alloy achieving a Faradaic efficiency of 95% formate production.

    • Hongfei Liu
    • Jun Xia
    • Yi Xie
    Article
  • The direct transformation of crude oil to chemicals can become a game changer in refocusing the petroleum industry production, but remains technically challenging. Here, the authors introduce a multi-zone fluidized bed reactor in combination with an engineered cracking catalyst for the efficient one-pot production of light olefins from crude oil.

    • Mohammed Alabdullah
    • Alberto Rodriguez-Gomez
    • Jorge Gascon
    Article
  • Formic acid is a potential hydrogen carrier, although practical schemes to achieve its dehydrogenation are still rare. Here the authors introduce a stable and efficient ruthenium 9H-acridine pincer complex able to catalyse the additive-free dehydrogenation of neat formic acid, generating even high pressures of H2 and CO2 in a closed system.

    • Sayan Kar
    • Michael Rauch
    • David Milstein
    Article
  • Catalytic methods for asymmetric functionalization of unactivated propargylic C–H bonds are scarce. Now, the design of a special ligand for cooperative gold catalysis enables the intramolecular, enantioselective addition of propargylic C–H bonds to aldehyde groups providing chiral cyclopentane/cyclohexane-fused homopropargylic alcohols.

    • Ting Li
    • Xinpeng Cheng
    • Liming Zhang
    Article
  • Asymmetric dioxygenation of alkenes is an attractive concept to synthesize enantioenriched diols, but the performance in the case of terminal alkenes is low with current methods. Now, this has been addressed by an asymmetric oxypalladation process that provides access to enantioenriched 1,2-diols, enabled by the chiral 6-modified pyridinyl oxazoline ligand.

    • Bing Tian
    • Pinhong Chen
    • Guosheng Liu
    Article
  • Tracking immobilized molecular complexes under in situ conditions is vital for the development of next-generation catalysts, although the poor surface sensitivity of many techniques makes this challenging. Now, the role of the anchoring group in a nickel bis(terpyridine) complex has been elucidated by in situ gap-plasmon-assisted SERS coupled with DFT calculations.

    • Demelza Wright
    • Qianqi Lin
    • Jeremy J. Baumberg
    Article
  • Understanding the structure–property relationships of metal-exchanged zeolites is a challenging task. Here, correlations are established between the adsorption properties of Cu-exchanged ZSM5 and the reaction kinetics of NO decomposition, generating descriptors of general applicability to different zeolites.

    • Pengfei Xie
    • Tiancheng Pu
    • Chao Wang
    Article
  • Single-atom catalysts can exhibit improved catalytic performance with respect to their bulk counterparts. Now, the authors introduce a yolk@shell catalyst with spatially separated Pd and Fe single sites that simultaneously catalyse nitroaromatic hydrogenation and alkene epoxidation reactions, leading to a cascade synthesis of amino alcohols.

    • Yafei Zhao
    • Huang Zhou
    • Yuen Wu
    Article
  • Multi-element oxide catalysts can feature superior properties compared with their single-element analogues but obtaining such complex structures remains a challenge. Here, a method is reported to access single-phase denary nanoparticles as stable and efficient catalysts for the combustion of methane.

    • Tangyuan Li
    • Yonggang Yao
    • Liangbing Hu
    Article