Artistic rendering of cyclopentene monomers undergoing ring-expansion metathesis polymerization to form cyclic polymers taken from the cover of the November issue.

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This month we look at the barriers faced by women in STEM, take a tour of the chemical analysis instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope and feature a Perspective on hydrogen storage.

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  • A Nobel medal in the foreground with some beakers and flasks in the background.

    The 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. In recognition of this award, Nature Portfolio presents a collection of research, review and opinion articles that focus on the origins, the development and the future directions inspired by the topic.

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  • Interlocked shape-persistent organic cages are rare structures and the majority are formed using π-stacking as the driving force. Now it is shown that weak dispersion interactions—which are modulated by changing the 1,4-substituents of the constituent dialdehyde linkers—can be used to form interlocked dimeric and trimeric catenated cages.

    • Bahiru Punja Benke
    • Tobias Kirschbaum
    • Michael Mastalerz
    Article Open Access
  • The synthesis of cyclic polymers remains challenging. Now a trifunctional B-P-B frustrated Lewis pair has been shown to enable easy access to cyclic acrylic polymers through a bimolecular mechanism. These cyclic polymers have enhanced thermodynamic properties compared with their linear counterparts, while maintaining high chemical recyclability.

    • Yanjiao Song
    • Jianghua He
    • Eugene Y.-X. Chen
    Article
  • Polyketide natural products often contain common repeat motifs that are synthesized using iterative processes. Now a masked 1,3-diol motif, generated by a two-step process based on boronic ester homologation, has enabled the efficient iterative synthesis of polyacetates, including bahamaolide A. In addition to oxidation, the 1,3-polyboronic esters were shown to undergo various stereospecific transformations.

    • Sheenagh G. Aiken
    • Joseph M. Bateman
    • Varinder K. Aggarwal
    Article
  • Inelastic hydrogen atom scattering from surfaces provides a good benchmark for the validity of the Born–Oppenheimer approximation in surface chemistry. Now it has been shown that hydrogen atoms colliding with a semiconductor surface can efficiently excite electrons above the surface bandgap, representing a clear example of the failure of the approximation.

    • Kerstin Krüger
    • Yingqi Wang
    • Oliver Bünermann
    Article Open Access
  • Modulation of surface properties and functions can be achieved through covalent and non-covalent molecular binding, but the lack of responsiveness and requirement for specific binding groups makes spatiotemporal control challenging. Now, it has been shown that adaptive insertion of a hydrophobic anchor into a poly(ethylene glycol) host is an effective non-covalent binding strategy for programmable surface functionalization.

    • Shaohua Zhang
    • Wei Li
    • Daniela A. Wilson
    Article Open Access
  • Methods to access organofluorine compounds with a trifluoromethyl- and fluoro-substituted carbon stereogenic centre are severely limited. Now, a flexible and stereodivergent approach has been developed for the efficient preparation of homoallylic alcohols containing this moiety. Conversion to polyfluoro furanosides and pyranosides has been demonstrated, which is relevant to antiviral drug development.

    • Shibo Xu
    • Juan del Pozo
    • Amir H. Hoveyda
    Article
    • The light-driven conversion of abundant resources such as CO2 and H2O into chemical fuels for energy storage is crucial to end our dependence on fossil fuels. This Review highlights how molecular catalysts and photosensitizers can be grafted onto metal–organic frameworks to combine the advantages of both classes of compounds. Different synthetic strategies are discussed, along with their advantages and limitations.

      • P. M. Stanley
      • J. Haimerl
      • J. Warnan
      Review Article
    • The direct carbon isotope exchange reaction on α-amino acids is highly desirable, as existing labelling methods require several synthetic steps and harsh conditions. Now, an aldehyde-catalysed carboxylate exchange with isotopically labelled *CO2 has enabled the direct formation of 11C, 13C and 14C-labelled α-amino acids.

      • Karoline T. Neumann
      • Troels Skrydstrup
      News & Views
    • The study of rare isotopes, including many in the f-block, is a key step to advancing our fundamental understanding of these elements, but their scarcity poses challenges. Now, minute amounts of such materials have been isolated and characterized through complexation with polyoxometalate clusters.

      • Kristina O. Kvashnina
      News & Views
    • Hydrogen, which possesses the highest gravimetric energy density of any energy carrier, is attractive for both mobile and stationary power, but its low volumetric energy density poses major storage and transport challenges. This Perspective delineates potential use cases and defines the challenges facing the development of materials for efficient hydrogen storage.

      • Mark D. Allendorf
      • Vitalie Stavila
      • Tom Autrey
      Perspective
    • DNA nanotechnology and synthetic biology both aim to expand the range of dynamic behaviours exhibited by rationally programmed biomolecules. Now, the programmability of synthetic transcriptional circuits has been improved to enable synthesis of dynamic biomolecular circuits with unmatched complexity.

      • Jongmin Kim
      • Friedrich C. Simmel
      News & Views
  • Abhik Ghosh explores the structure, chemistry and applications of corroles, a class of sterically constrained macrocyclic tetrapyrroles.

    • Abhik Ghosh
    In Your Element
  • Sit back and settle in for a tour of the chemical analysis instruments aboard the James Webb Space Telescope and the techniques being used to explore the planets beyond our Solar System.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
    Thesis
  • Governments worldwide are committing more funding for scientific research in the face of the ongoing pandemic and climate crises. However, the funding process must be restructured to remove the barriers arising from conscious and unconscious biases experienced by minoritized groups, including women, and particularly women of colour.

    • J. M. Jebsen
    • K. Nicoll Baines
    • I. Jayasinghe
    Comment
  • Decisions, decisions. There’s a lot to think about when moving on from a postdoctoral position and Shira Joudan takes us through the considerations that led to her ultimately taking a tenure-track position in a new city.

    • Shira Joudan
    Thesis
  • Madison Knapp and Jennifer Bridwell-Rabb explore the functions of chlorophyll and explain how our understanding of this green pigment has changed over time.

    • Madison Knapp
    • Jennifer Bridwell-Rabb
    In Your Element

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