News & Comment

  • Research Highlight |

    The aroma profile of dark chocolate has been elucidated and could be used as a benchmark to study the effect of changes in recipe, processing and storage conditions on its flavour.

    • Eleni Routoula
  • Research Highlight |

    All organisms have developed vital sensory processes that enable prompt reactions in response to external environmental changes. Su and co-workers propose a bioinspired thermoresponsive device made of solid-state nanochannels that induce thermally selective ion transport.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    A potential new source of hydroxyl radicals – that mediate the reactions of organic aerosols in the atmosphere – has been identified.

    • Claire Ashworth
  • Research Highlight |

    Thermal denaturation of proteins affords species that differ in terms of cofactors and conformations. Ion mobility spectrometry and mass spectrometry can be used to unravel these mixtures and learn the factors stabilizing certain protein forms.

    • David Schilter
  • Feature |

    Academic chemistry is haemorrhaging talented female researchers. However, a barrage of new initiatives aims to stem the flood.

    • Mark Peplow
  • Research Highlight |

    A rapid synthesis of the antibacterial drug linezolid using flow chemistry has been reported that does not require isolation or purification of any intermediates and is completed in seven synthetic steps

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Analysis of complex mixtures often requires time consuming separation techniques. Mathias Nilsson and co-workers have, now, developed a new approach to dissecting the NMR spectra of unaltered complex mixtures.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Seven-membered rings are rare motifs in fullerene derivatives. However, these motifs can be stabilized by adjacent five-membered rings and feature in a hydrofullerene isolated from combustion soot.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    A new optical approach has been developed for the generation, manipulation and transportation of floating micro droplets.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    A biomimetic total synthesis of (–)-oxycodone relies on an electrochemically mediated coupling of two oxygenated aryl rings for a key bond formation.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Formylglycine residues are important functional handles on native and synthetic proteins. The formation of these residues is mediated by a copper enzyme operating via a superoxo intermediate.

    • David Schilter
  • In the Classroom |

    Creating exam questions is a skill. Understanding the anatomy of a question can help teachers write good questions and help students maximize their score.

    • Kristy Turner
  • Research Highlight |

    Bacteria sense metal ions using proteins whose interactions with DNA are sensitive to metal ion availability and identity. Less competitive metal ions trigger protein–DNA binding only at high concentrations.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    Careful reaction design has enabled the use of single electron transfer reagent samarium diiodide in substoichiometric amounts to catalyse radical cyclizations.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    X-ray structures of reactant and product states, as well as theoretical calculations, have helped uncover the mechanism of Escherichia coli phosphofructokinase 2.

    • Jordan Hindson
  • Books & Arts |

    A biography of Mendeleev goes well beyond his most famous creation.

    • Kit Chapman
  • Research Highlight |

    Dodecaphenylanthracene — a twisted polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon with interesting electrochemical properties — has, after 20 years of trying, finally succumbed to synthesis.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Discovery of new materials has been traditionally based on a trial-and-error approach. Now, miniaturized nanoreactors have been developed for the synthesis and analysis of nanoparticle megalibraries of different size and composition.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Particle swarm optimization allows one to search vast compositional space for new viable species. Additionally, simulating high pressures has enabled the prediction of hypervalent species such as IF8.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    Metal–organic frameworks with certain compositions can exist as glasses. Processable materials featuring intrinsic porosity are rare and are expected to be invaluable in chemical separations.

    • Andrew Bissette
  • Research Highlight |

    39Ar is an ideal tracer for radioactive dating in the 50–1000 year range of deep ocean circulations. However, extremely low concentrations of 39Ar in the ocean make the dating process long and costly. Applied quantum technologies can, however, drastically simplify ocean dating procedures.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    A prodrug version of a gene expression inducer has been designed that is activated under hypoxic conditions in bacterial cells.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Oxidation states and radii of cations dictate their arrangement in double perovskite oxides and influence the material’s properties. Isovalent cations are known to be disordered in double perovskite oxides, but an unusual ordering of Fe3+ and Al3+ has been found in Bi2FeAlO6.

    • Jacilynn Brant
  • Research Highlight |

    Facile isotopic labelling of carbon has been demonstrated using Pd-catalysed exchange of an acid chloride carbonyl with carbon monoxide.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Martian sediments and meteorites contain a complex mixture of inorganic and organic materials. The identities and localizations of these species point to a mechanism of organic synthesis that begins with the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    Mechanical gating of a photochemical reaction has been realized by constructing a norbornene that, when subjected to tensile stress, undergoes fission into a UV-light-sensitive diarylethene.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    Pristine molybdenum disulfide undergoes oxidation at its basal plane, such that some S atoms are replaced with O atoms. This new doped monolayer exhibits improved activity for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution.

    • Prateek Dongare
  • Research Highlight |

    Chiroptical molecular switches change chirality in response to light. Christian Petermayer and Henry Dube report a new type of hemiindigo photoswitches that feature axial chiral substituents and are characterized by an unusual decoupling of the absorption and the circular dichroism (CD) spectra.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Certain frustrated Lewis pairs can undergo single electron transfer to give frustrated radical pairs. Such radical pairs have been implicated as important species in the activation of small molecules such as dihydrogen.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    Atomically thin materials that are both electrically conductive and magnetic are highly desirable. Pedersen, Clérac and co-workers report a new layered coordination polymer — CrCl2(pyrazine)2 — that exhibits both conductive and magnetic-type properties.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • In the Classroom |

    A full grasp of chemistry requires students to be able to connect microscopic reality with symbolic representations. Immersive virtual reality provides a solution for those who need a tangible link between these representations.

    • Simon J. Lancaster
  • Research Highlight |

    Following binding kinetics over time rather than relying on differences in free-energy of binding enables detection of single molecules of mutant DNA with an estimated specificity of 99.99999%.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Editorial |

    Enzymes can serve as blueprints for artificial catalysts, the preparation of which may involve anything from biosynthesis of mutants to chemical synthesis of active site mimics.

  • In the Classroom |

    Threshold concepts are the tricky ideas that underpin so much knowledge. In teaching them, it is important to recognize that a correct answer is not necessarily evidence of understanding.

    • Niki Kaiser
  • Research Highlight |

    A total synthesis of xishacorene B starts from a chiral pool molecule and exploits a C–C activation reaction to form the core structure.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Water–surface interactions are strongly influenced by the polar or non-polar nature of the chemical groups on the surface. Jacob Monroe and Scott Shell used molecular dynamics simulations and genetic algorithms to show that the specific patterns of such functionalities effect water dynamics.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Iridium chelates are attractive catalysts for asymmetric transfer hydrogenation. The mode through which a chelating ligand binds iridium turns out to have a striking effect on catalytic activity and enantioselectivity.

    • Andrew Bissette
  • Research Highlight |

    A team of French and UK researchers have used DNA to template a key photocatalysed cycloaddition reaction in the total synthesis of a marine natural product.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Isoporous block copolymer films have useful morphological features, but lack the conductivity necessary for chemiresistive sensing. Combining such films with carbon nanotubes affords new porous composites, whose conductivity is sensitive to guest molecules.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Research Highlight |

    Superatoms — particularly paramagnetic ones — can be difficult to isolate and study. Bulky organic ligands have been shown to stabilize a large copper-aluminium superatom with a unique open-shell electronic structure.

    • David Schilter
  • In the Classroom |

    QR Chem is a free resource that enables teachers and researchers to link audiences directly to three-dimensional renderings of molecules.

    • Johnny Dang
    • , Brian Lin
    • , Julia Yuan
    • , Shawn T. Schwartz
    • , Rishabh M. Shah
    •  & Neil K. Garg
  • Research Highlight |

    The design of machines in the nanodimesional space is advancing fast. Ben Feringa and co-workers now report on solvent-driven aggregations of molecular motors into nanodimesional bowl-shaped objects and show how molecular rotation can be controlled in such confined volumes.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Digoxin is a widely used heart drug, but metabolism by bacteria in the human gut leads to variable efficacy. The enzyme responsible has now been identified and characterized.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Aquo complexes at salt surfaces feature in important processes such as salt dissolution and water desalination. Scanning tunnelling microscopy and atomic force microscopy have afforded the first real-space data concerning the structures and dynamics of single aquo complexes.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    Controlling shape and size of noble-metal nanocrystals in an automated fashion is highly desirable for large-scale production of nanomaterials. Younan Xia and co-workers propose the design of a device for the automated synthesis of uniform nanocrystals, featuring a droplet reactor, online separation and purification capabilities.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    This study identifies a human antibody fragment that recognizes i-motifs and shows that these DNA structures are present in the nuclei of human cells.

    • Katharine H Wrighton
  • Research Highlight |

    The archetypal hydride donor for unsaturated organics, LiAlH4, has also been used in catalytic reductions. Indeed, LiAlH4 has now been shown to be a precatalyst for imine hydrogenation under mild conditions.

    • David Schilter
  • Research Highlight |

    The resolution of AFM images is highly sensitive to the atomic composition and structure of the tip. Harry Mönig and co-workers show that an oxygen-terminated copper tip can enable imaging at unprecedented resolution, allowing us to study molecular interactions in exquisite detail.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • In the Classroom |

    How do we introduce games into our classrooms and what kind of learning outcomes can we expect?

    • Julia Winter