Volume 2 Issue 3, March 2018

Volume 2 Issue 3

Our ability to rationalize and predict the optical properties of simple molecules or complex systems relies on the use of approximations of the sophisticated theories describing light–matter interactions. Common approximations can hide fundamental aspects of light–matter interactions, but theoretical advances can help us to reveal them.

See: Ruggenthaler, M., Tancogne-Dejean, N., Flick, J., Appel, H. and Rubio, A. From a quantum-electrodynamical light–matter description to novel spectroscopies. Nat. Rev. Chem. 2, 0118 (2018).

Image and design: Rachael Tremlett

Research Highlights

  • Research Highlight |

    Phosphonium adducts of pyridines are labile in basic solution, an undesirable property with regard to organic synthesis. Yet, this very lability proves valuable for the labelling of pyridine and diazines with heavier isotopes of hydrogen.

    • Andrew Bissette

In the classroom

  • In the Classroom |

    Lecture capture is just one way in which new technology is changing teaching, but we should embrace its opportunities rather than fear its shortcomings, argues Katherine Haxton.

    • Katherine Haxton


  • Review Article |

    Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is the most complete theoretical framework to date to complement experimental spectroscopies in chemistry. Owing to its complexity, several approximations are needed in order to be able to apply QED in practice. This Review highlights how the breakdown of some of these approximations challenges our understanding of light–matter interactions and discusses how new theoretical developments can help to overcome these approximations.

    • Michael Ruggenthaler
    • , Nicolas Tancogne-Dejean
    • , Johannes Flick
    • , Heiko Appel
    •  & Angel Rubio
  • Review Article |

    The design of synthetic systems that mimic the ability of biological systems to control chemical reactions using intricate molecular machines is a long-held dream of nanotechnology. This Review discusses how developments in controlled molecular switching and movement are being exploited in the design of catalysts that are just beginning to emulate the complexity of living systems.

    • Lucy van Dijk
    • , Michael J. Tilby
    • , Robert Szpera
    • , Owen A. Smith
    • , Holly A. P. Bunce
    •  & Stephen P. Fletcher
  • Review Article |

    Bio-interface materials inspired by natural systems that respond efficiently to various external stimuli can dynamically regulate molecular interactions between biological entities and material surfaces. In this Review, Gomes and colleagues describe advances in bio-interface materials that may provide insights into cell behaviour, biofouling and the production of on-demand devices with medical applications, among others.

    • Bárbara Santos Gomes
    • , Bárbara Simões
    •  & Paula M. Mendes
  • Review Article |

    The approximation underlying most atomistic simulations to treat nuclei classically can lead to large errors and the failure to capture important physical effects. This Review reports on recent developments that enable modelling of quantum nuclei at a computational cost comparable with that of a classical simulation.

    • Thomas E. Markland
    •  & Michele Ceriotti