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  • All-solid-state lithium–sulfur batteries have been recognized for their high energy density and safety. This Perspective explores sulfur redox in the solid state, emphasizing the critical roles of electrochemical kinetics, thermodynamics, mass transport and advanced techniques such as cryogenic electron microscopy to help bridge gaps in current understanding.

    • Jung Tae Kim
    • Han Su
    • Yuzhang Li
    Perspective
  • Emulsions underpin a wide range of important natural phenomena and many technological applications. However, it remains challenging to create emulsion droplets with specific internal structures. Now, a method has been developed to create macromolecular emulsions with custom architectures by applying non-equilibrium thermodynamic principles to condensate formation.

    Research Briefing
  • A structurally robust nanoporous carbon adsorbent that integrates a molecular-selective skin and an internal gas reservoir enables the adsorptive separation of propylene and propane. The surface sieving skin endows the adsorbent with competitive selectivity and the internal reservoir leads to a high propylene capacity, together facilitating the production of high-purity propylene.

    Research Briefing
  • Electroreduction of CO2 in coupled tandem electrolyzers is an enabling technology that can produce valuable chemicals, utilizing different reaction environments in each cell. Now, a kilowatt-scale tandem CO2 electrolysis stack has demonstrated that the selective conversion of CO2 to acetate can achieve competitive prices.

    • Huiyue Liu
    • Tianyu Zhang
    • Jingjie Wu
    News & Views
  • Decarbonizing the steel industry is crucial but challenging. Now, an enzymatic method is introduced for converting carbon monoxide from industrial off-gases into formate, offering a path towards carbon-neutral steel production. The enzymatic process achieves high selectivity, and operation of a 10-liter-scale reactor with real industrial emissions indicates its scalability and practical applicability.

    Research Briefing
  • Accurately modeling CO2 electroreduction is key to advancing the technology and understanding its productivity and CO2 utilization trends. Now, Marcus–Hush–Chidsey theory offers accurate predictions of experimental results, leading to further insights beyond reaction kinetics.

    • Ahmad Elgazzar
    • Haotian Wang
    News & Views
  • Transitioning to more sustainable chemicals will require the challenging replacement of fossil resources with renewable carbon and energy sources in their production. Now, integrating industrial sectors offers an interim solution to mitigate emissions in the chemical industry until technologies for closing the carbon loop can be deployed at scale.

    • Gonzalo Guillén-Gosálbez
    • Lucas Francisco dos Santos
    News & Views
  • Liquid–liquid extraction is an indirect separation technique requiring solvent regeneration, and if a back-extraction is needed, it typically reduces the concentration. Now, using an electrochemical reaction, the concentration can be pumped up to 16 times the feed concentration.

    • Boelo Schuur
    News & Views
  • Electric fields offer an easy means to manipulate liquid metal droplets. Now, directed droplet transfer between immersed electrodes is achieved in an alkaline electrolyte without electrical short circuit.

    • Gerd Mutschke
    • Tom Weier
    News & Views
  • Properly maintaining the skin temperature is critical for wound healing, especially outdoors. Now, a lightweight and skin-friendly wound dressing is reported that can continuously cool the skin without energy input.

    • Ronghui Wu
    • Po-Chun Hsu
    News & Views
  • Conventional linearly responsive methods for quantifying host–guest complexation in supramolecular chemistry have a fairly narrow dynamic range. Now, a logarithmically responsive electrochemical method promises to facilitate the measurement of complex equilibria over a larger dynamic range in host–guest systems.

    • Pall Thordarson
    News & Views
  • A self-driving lab, called Fast-Cat, is developed for the rapid, autonomous Pareto-front mapping of homogeneous catalysts in high-pressure, high-temperature gas–liquid reactions. The efficacy of Fast-Cat was demonstrated in performing Pareto-front mappings of phosphorus-based ligands for the hydroformylation of olefins.

    Research Briefing
  • Water management is crucial for enhancing economic viability and minimizing the environmental impact of direct air capture (DAC) technologies, but the high energy intensity necessitates heat recovery techniques. This Perspective discusses several front-end and back-end strategies for coupling water management with heat integration in DAC processes.

    • Hannah E. Holmes
    • Matthew J. Realff
    • Ryan P. Lively
    Perspective
  • Fine chemical production mostly relies on petroleum-based chemical synthesis. Now, a process is established to produce benzyl acetate, the main fragrance molecule in jasmine scent, from renewable sugars with engineered bacteria.

    • Nika Sokolova
    • Kristina Haslinger
    News & Views
  • Directing CO2 electroreduction toward a single C2 product poses challenges because the reaction mechanism is unclear. Now, oxygen affinity is identified as a potential key descriptor to manipulate the selectivity of ethylene versus ethanol.

    • Yuting Xu
    • Fanglin Che
    News & Views
  • Designing liquid devices with liquid pathways that can be reconfigured on-demand is important to many chemical and biological applications. Now, a facile approach enables reconfigurable liquid devices through precisely arranged connected liquid droplets that can be rapidly assembled and disassembled.

    • Ting Wang
    • Zuankai Wang
    News & Views