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  • Cation exchange reactions convert ionic nanocrystals into new compositions through the substitution of cations. Now, a cation exchange reaction has been demonstrated on a Cu2Se nanocluster with a uniform arrangement of atoms.

    • Wonseok Lee
    • Andrew M. Smith
    News & Views
  • By combining coordination, cluster and colloidal chemistry, precision synthesis is realized in cation-exchange reactions of nanoclusters (Cu2Se to CdSe). The precise transformation unveils the origin of chirality and polarity in semiconductor nanomaterials and enables atomic visualization of complex reaction mechanisms.

    • Fuyan Ma
    • Khalil A. Abboud
    • Chenjie Zeng
  • In this issue, we focus on the combination of techniques such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation for the synthesis of chemicals and materials.

  • Cross-coupling reactions are among the most widely used synthetic methods in medicinal chemistry; however, they typically form bonds with C(sp2)-hybridized atoms. The resulting molecules often have suboptimal physicochemical and topological properties. Here virtual and experimental libraries of products from benzylic C(sp3)–H cross-coupling are shown to access underpopulated 3D chemical space.

    • Si-Jie Chen
    • Cyndi Qixin He
    • Shannon S. Stahl
  • Green ammonia will play an important function in decarbonized energy systems but its production places a high burden on limited renewable resources in land-constrained countries. Here we propose the offshore production of green ammonia, which can increase energy security without land competition.

    • Nicholas Salmon
    • René Bañares-Alcántara
  • Automated experiments with integrated characterization techniques greatly accelerate materials synthesis and provide data to be used by machine learning algorithms. We reflect on the current use of data-driven automated experimentation in materials synthesis and consider the future of this approach.

    • Jonghee Yang
    • Mahshid Ahmadi
  • Automation and real-time reaction monitoring have enabled data-rich experimentation, which is critically important in navigating the complexities of chemical synthesis. Linking real-time analysis with machine learning and artificial intelligence tools provides the opportunity to accelerate the identification of optimal reaction conditions and facilitate error-free autonomous synthesis. This Comment provides a viewpoint underscoring the growing significance of data-rich experiments and interdisciplinary approaches in driving future progress in synthetic chemistry.

    • Junliang Liu
    • Jason E. Hein
  • Stereocontrolled radical polymerizations are elusive, owing to the difficulty of controlling facial addition at a propagating planar, sp2 radical chain end. Now, cobalt–porphyrin initiators are reported that enable the preparation of well-defined, highly isotactic polyacrylamides at low Lewis acid loading.

    • Kasun Wekasinghe
    • Aaron J. Teator
    News & Views
  • Renewable-energy-driven electrosynthesis of chemical feedstocks is gaining attention as a green alternative to traditional processes. Now, the production of industrially relevant C–S-based compounds from CO2 and SO32−, with a simple Cu2O electrocatalyst, has been demonstrated.

    • Khoa H. Ly
    • Inez M. Weidinger
    News & Views
  • Andrew Cooper, a professor at the University of Liverpool and Academic Director of the Materials Innovation Factory, talks to Nature Synthesis about the use of robotics and artificial intelligence for the synthesis and discovery of materials and chemicals.

    • Peter Seavill
  • King Kuok (Mimi) Hii, a professor at Imperial College London and director of the Centre for Rapid Online Analysis of Reactions (ROAR) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre of Doctoral Training in Next Generation Synthesis & Reaction Technology (rEaCt), talks to Nature Synthesis about reaction monitoring in automated workflows as well as the challenges to be overcome in automated synthesis.

    • Peter Seavill
  • The conversion of CO2 into complex molecules by genetically enhanced microorganisms is desirable but challenging. Now, a two-stage strategy featuring carbon sequestration, using the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus, and cellular catalysis, using Escherichia coli, is reported for the synthesis of value-added molecules from CO2.

    • Minrui Ren
    • Lennart Schada von Borzyskowski
    News & Views
  • Green ammonia synthesis is important for future sustainable manufacturing of fuels and chemicals. This Review highlights the recent progress and challenges in both fundamental research in catalysis and potential industrial scaleup using renewables.

    • Dongpei Ye
    • Shik Chi Edman Tsang
    Review Article
  • Carbon-negative biomanufacturing is typically hampered by narrow product scope and light-induced decomposition. Now, an integrated photosynthetic carbon sequestration and cellular catalysis strategy for CO2 valorization are reported. Multiple gene editing and a high-throughput workflow have facilitated its application to the biocatalytic production of styrene, intracellular unstable aldehydes and photosensitive molecules from CO2.

    • Chaofeng Li
    • Lijie Yin
    • Jun Ni
  • Aromatic molecules with multiple one-half twists are synthesized using different precursors and synthetic routes. The pseudo-helicoidal structural chirality of these molecules and the loop of the twisted π-electronic structure fully overlap, thus giving rise to enhanced chiroptical responses.

    • Qian Miao
    • Juan Casado
    News & Views
  • trans-Bis-silylation of alkynes is underdeveloped compared with cis-bis-silylation. Now, a Pd-catalysed method for the trans-bis-silylation of terminal alkynes is reported using disilane reagent 8-(2-substituted 1,1,2,2-tetramethyldisilanyl)quinoline to selectively form trans-bis-silylated alkenes. Mechanistic studies reveal that the reaction probably proceeds through a combined cis-bis-silylation and Z/E isomerization process.

    • Shuang Zhao
    • Yun Zhang
    • Dongbing Zhao
  • Paul Chirik, Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, talks to Nature Synthesis about how organometallic catalysis can be used to form weak chemical bonds.

    • Alexandra R. Groves