IMAGE CREDIT: DAVID LEIGH, UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER, AND AXS STUDIO INC.; COVER DESIGN: TULSI VORALIA

Knotting ventured, knotting gained

A nine-crossing composite knot and a cyclic [3]catenane can be made from a circular metal helicate

Latest Research

  • Article |

    N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) are valuable surface anchors, but their use has remained limited to either spherical or planar nanomaterials. Now, they have been grafted onto gold nanorods through a bidentate ligand featuring a thiolate and a NHC–gold complex. The resulting nanorods are robust towards a wide range of harsh conditions and show promise for photothermal therapy.

    • Michelle J. MacLeod
    • , Aaron J. Goodman
    • , Hong-Zhou Ye
    • , Hung V.-T. Nguyen
    • , Troy Van Voorhis
    •  & Jeremiah A. Johnson
  • Article |

    The use of Li or Na as electrodes in Li-Na alloy–O2 batteries creates formidable challenges for both safety and stability because of their oxidative corrosion and the growth of dendrites and cracks on their surface. Now, an aprotic bimetal Li-Na alloy–O2 battery with high cycling stability has been developed using a Li-Na eutectic alloy anode and an electrolyte additive.

    • Jin-ling Ma
    • , Fan-lu Meng
    • , Yue Yu
    • , Da-peng Liu
    • , Jun-min Yan
    • , Yu Zhang
    • , Xin-bo Zhang
    •  & Qing Jiang
  • Article |

    Nitrogen fixation—the direct conversion of dinitrogen into ammonia or other nitrogen-containing products—is notoriously difficult to promote under mild conditions. Now, the reactivity of a multimetallic diuranium(iii) complex recently found capable of reducing and functionalizing N2 has been explored, replacing its nitride bridge with an oxo bridge, which resulted in a markedly different reactivity.

    • Marta Falcone
    • , Luciano Barluzzi
    • , Julie Andrez
    • , Farzaneh Fadaei Tirani
    • , Ivica Zivkovic
    • , Alberto Fabrizio
    • , Clemence Corminboeuf
    • , Kay Severin
    •  & Marinella Mazzanti
  • Article |

    Synthetic receptors can be used to help understand biological systems, but rarely compete in terms of affinity or selectivity. Now, a glucose-binding compound has been prepared that, despite its symmetry and simplicity, can match all but the strongest glucose-binding proteins. The high binding affinity and outstanding selectivity of this receptor may translate into biomedical applications.

    • Robert A. Tromans
    • , Tom S. Carter
    • , Laurent Chabanne
    • , Matthew P. Crump
    • , Hongyu Li
    • , Johnathan V. Matlock
    • , Michael G. Orchard
    •  & Anthony P. Davis
  • Article |

    The accessibility of materials’ porous domains is typically explored through bulk, and often non-visual, measurements. Now, an integrated fluorescence microscopy approach has established a direct visual relationship between pore architecture (which depends on pore sizes and interconnectivity), molecular transport, and in turn catalytic performance in industrial-grade catalyst particles.

    • Gareth T. Whiting
    • , Nikolaos Nikolopoulos
    • , Ioannis Nikolopoulos
    • , Abhishek Dutta Chowdhury
    •  & Bert M. Weckhuysen
  • Article |

    The preparation of conjugates between proteins and small molecules is often challenging and requires several synthetic steps to functionalize each component for conjugation. Now, a conjugation methodology that leverages an electrophilic Se–S bond of selenocysteine to create bioconjugates between polypeptides and complex small molecules has been described.

    • Daniel T. Cohen
    • , Chi Zhang
    • , Colin M. Fadzen
    • , Alexander J. Mijalis
    • , Liana Hie
    • , Kenneth D. Johnson
    • , Zachary Shriver
    • , Obadiah Plante
    • , Scott J. Miller
    • , Stephen L. Buchwald
    •  & Bradley L. Pentelute

News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    The structural features and catalytic performances of catalyst particles have now been correlated using a fluorescence microscopy approach, by tracking nanoprobes as well as fluorescent reaction products. Such mapping enables exploration of structure–function relationships, which is essential for the design of better catalysts.

    • Wei Wang
  • In Your Element |

    Liz Williams explores the synthesis of tennessine, a story in which elements in supporting roles play a crucial part.

    • Elizabeth Williams
  • News & Views |

    The applicability of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) — in spite of their obvious potential — is hindered by stability issues, in particular towards water. Now, a ‘crumple zone’ concept has been proposed in which the presence of sacrificial bonds protects a MOF without significantly altering its structure or functionality.

    • Jürgen Senker
  • Thesis |

    Bruce Gibb focuses on fatty acids and wonders whether we’ll all be eating cyanobacteria before too long.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
  • News & Views |

    Dynamic covalent chemistry combines the error-correcting behaviour of supramolecular chemistry with the robustness of covalent bonding, but relies on a somewhat limited set of reactions. Now, the classic nucleophilic aromatic substitution (SNAr) reaction has been shown to be reversible and self-correcting.

    • Yinghua Jin
    •  & Wei Zhang
  • Thesis |

    Michelle Francl considers how metaphor breathes life into chemistry.

    • Michelle Francl

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