Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    The metals in polyoxometalates need not be in their highest oxidation states. Indeed, polyoxometalates can exist in reduced forms, and several different metals can be incorporated into various structural archetypes. This Review describes the synthesis and characterization of these complexes, along with their topical catalytic, electronic and biological properties.

    • Nadiia I. Gumerova
    •  & Annette Rompel
  • Review Article |

    Iterative approaches to synthesis have revolutionized the preparation and study of peptides, nucleic acids and sugars. This Review discusses whether and how such iterative syntheses can be applied more broadly towards an ultimate goal of developing a building block approach to the synthesis of most small organic molecules.

    • Jonathan W. Lehmann
    • , Daniel J. Blair
    •  & Martin D. Burke
  • Review Article |

    Building on the theoretical prediction and experimental realization of planar tetracoordinate carbons, there has been great progress in the theoretical prediction of species containing planar pentacoordinate carbon (ppC) centres. From simple clusters such as CAl5+ to complicated ppCs in 2D materials, this Review summarizes the ppC-containing species predicted to date and the design principles behind them.

    • Valentin Vassilev-Galindo
    • , Sudip Pan
    • , Kelling J. Donald
    •  & Gabriel Merino
  • Review Article |

    The electrochemical oxidation and reduction of water and carbon dioxide are associated with the release or storage of energy. This Review reports the latest developments in the design and use of low-dimensional materials and their van der Waals heterostructures for electrocatalytic and photocatalytic hydrogen evolution and CO2 conversion.

    • Damien Voiry
    • , Hyeon Suk Shin
    • , Kian Ping Loh
    •  & Manish Chhowalla
  • Review Article |

    Some plant-derived ligands for the cannabinoid receptors — phytocannabinoids — are promising pharmaceuticals. This Review covers the chemical synthesis of phytocannabinoids and metabolites to enable the study of compounds otherwise inaccessible on a practical scale. Availability of drug candidates is also hindered by policy issues, which we discuss with regard to possession, use and control.

    • Tristan A. Reekie
    • , Michael P. Scott
    •  & Michael Kassiou
  • Perspective |

    Numerous fabrication methods have been developed so far for the production of graphenes and nanographenes. However, how practical is the bulk production of these fascinating materials? This Perspective discusses recent advances in graphene fabrication and possibilities for translation to large-scale production.

    • Xiao-Ye Wang
    • , Akimitsu Narita
    •  & Klaus Müllen
  • Perspective |

    Metal–ligand cooperative catalysis involves both the metal and the ligand moieties present in a complex interacting with substrates. Cooperative catalysis is central to the mechanisms of hydrogenases, lactate racemase and alcohol dehydrogenase. This Perspective describes these enzymes, as well as the small-molecule mimics inspired by these elaborate natural catalysts.

    • Matthew D. Wodrich
    •  & Xile Hu
  • Review Article |

    Electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction are important components of energy technologies such as fuel cells. The study of molecular catalysts affords mechanistic insights that further the development of robust, active and energy-efficient systems. This Review describes state-of-the-art metal complexes that operate either in solution or immobilized on an electrode.

    • Subal Dey
    • , Biswajit Mondal
    • , Sudipta Chatterjee
    • , Atanu Rana
    • , Sk Amanullah
    •  & Abhishek Dey
  • Review Article |

    The tunable bandgap of perovskites and their combination in multi-junction solar cells can afford highly efficient photovoltaic technologies. This Review reports the latest developments in tandem multi-junction perovskite solar cells and discusses prospects for this technology to achieve energy conversion efficiencies well beyond those attained by silicon-based cells.

    • Giles E. Eperon
    • , Maximilian T. Hörantner
    •  & Henry J. Snaith
  • Perspective |

    Light-driven artificial molecular switches and motors afford dynamic control of various molecular systems, ranging from catalytic to biological. This Perspective provides insight into the challenges that must be addressed to transition the field from the proof-of-concept stage to realization of its myriad applications.

    • Thomas van Leeuwen
    • , Anouk S. Lubbe
    • , Peter Štacko
    • , Sander J. Wezenberg
    •  & Ben L. Feringa
  • Perspective |

    Reviewing the applications of a solvent would ordinarily be an unusual thing to do, but the unique properties of hexafluoroisopropanol and its applications across a huge swathe of chemistry make that both a viable and interesting undertaking.

    • Ignacio Colomer
    • , Anna E. R. Chamberlain
    • , Maxwell B. Haughey
    •  & Timothy J. Donohoe
  • Perspective |

    Blue energy can be cleanly and renewably harvested from a salinity gradient. The large-scale viability of this non-intermittent source is restricted by certain challenges, including the inefficiency of present harvesting technologies. This Perspective describes how nanofluidics can afford membranes better able to convert chemical potentials to electrical potentials.

    • Alessandro Siria
    • , Marie-Laure Bocquet
    •  & Lydéric Bocquet
  • Review Article |

    Mechanical forces can be used as an alternative source of energy to increase chemical reactivity. This Review reports on the latest single-molecule measurements and how they have improved the current understanding of single-bond mechanochemistry.

    • Sergi Garcia-Manyes
    •  & Amy E. M. Beedle
  • Perspective |

    Redox reactions related to renewable energy challenges can be mediated by molecular electrocatalysts. Intelligent design of these catalysts calls for systematic catalyst benchmarking. This Perspective presents examples of analysing catalytic Tafel plots, noting through-structure and through-space effects on the performance and mechanism. This approach is preferred to oversimplifications inherent in using volcano plots.

    • Cyrille Costentin
    •  & Jean-Michel Savéant
  • Review Article |

    Owing to their programmable ability to cut specific nucleic acid sequences, CRISPR–Cas systems have been used for precise genome engineering. In this Review, the authors discuss the chemistry and molecular mechanisms of interference by single-effector CRISPR–Cas proteins.

    • Janice S. Chen
    •  & Jennifer A. Doudna
  • Review Article |

    This Review considers cascade reactions initiated by single electron transfer. Open-shell intermediates are highly reactive but undergo reactions with high selectivity. They are thus ideal intermediates in cascade reactions that generate complex, high-value products from simple starting materials

    • Mateusz P. Plesniak
    • , Huan-Ming Huang
    •  & David J. Procter
  • Review Article |

    Aptamers are nucleic acid molecules that can be evolved to bind to specific molecular targets and have found applications in technologies such as sensors and actuators. This Review provides a critical analysis of the first 25 years of aptamer research.

    • Matthew R. Dunn
    • , Randi M. Jimenez
    •  & John C. Chaput
  • Perspective |

    The unusual electronic characteristics of boron atoms lead boron clusters to adopt a wide variety of structural arrangements, most of which are 2D. This Perspective discusses the possibility of expanding the range of boron-based 2D structures by metal doping, as well as the use of the resulting clusters for conceptualizing metalloborophenes.

    • Wan-Lu Li
    • , Xin Chen
    • , Tian Jian
    • , Teng-Teng Chen
    • , Jun Li
    •  & Lai-Sheng Wang
  • Review Article |

    DNA polymerases are responsible for DNA replication, repair and mutation. Although these processes occur through conserved mechanisms, this Review highlights how large differences in the fidelity of DNA replication arise from subtle structural differences between individual DNA polymerases. These differences enable polymerases to perform diverse functions that are important to nature as well as technology.

    • Wen-Jin Wu
    • , Wei Yang
    •  & Ming-Daw Tsai
  • Perspective |

    The unique properties of ferrocene-containing compounds make them useful for treating many diseases. The most notable drug candidates — the antimalarial ferroquine and the anticancer agent ferrocifen — have been studied for more than two decades but have not yet met clinical approval. This Review describes the design of ferrocene-containing drugs as well as the challenges faced in bringing them into clinical use.

    • Malay Patra
    •  & Gilles Gasser
  • Review Article |

    Research into naturally occurring chemically modified DNA bases has been invigorated by new chemical and enzymatic methods that, when coupled with sequencing approaches, enable us to detect and decode them. These techniques will support a better understanding of the role of chemically modified DNA bases in normal physiology and disease.

    • Eun-Ang Raiber
    • , Robyn Hardisty
    • , Pieter van Delft
    •  & Shankar Balasubramanian
  • Perspective |

    The cross-electrophile coupling approach to stereocontrolled C–C bond formation provides a complementary alternative to traditional cross-coupling methods. This Perspective provides an overview of the recent development of nickel-catalysed asymmetric cross-electrophile coupling reactions. Both stereoconvergent and stereospecific examples are considered and mechanistic details are highlighted.

    • Erika L. Lucas
    •  & Elizabeth R. Jarvo
  • Review Article |

    The active template approach to interlocked molecules uses metal ions to both pre-organize reaction components and catalyse the final covalent bond formation that captures the interlocked structure. This Review looks at the history of the method, its application in the synthesis of ever more complex interlocked molecules and future directions.

    • Mathieu Denis
    •  & Stephen M. Goldup
  • Review Article |

    Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a physical phenomenon first discovered in 1974. SERS has since been exploited for bioanalysis because of its high sensitivity and multiplexing capabilities. This Review describes the progress made and problems faced with respect to using in vivo SERS in humans.

    • Stacey Laing
    • , Lauren E. Jamieson
    • , Karen Faulds
    •  & Duncan Graham