Kinetic competition in cathode synthesis

Kinetic competition between precursor decomposition and lithiation leads to spatially heterogeneous intermediates and the formation of detrimental defects in nickel-rich layered oxides.


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    The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Benjamin List and David MacMillan for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis. 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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  • Functionalizing an intact carbohydrate core with acetals allows for the dramatically simplified production of a plastic precursor directly during the initial fractionation of non-edible biomass. When polymerized, the rigid and polar carbohydrate core also leads to bioplastics with competitive material and end-of life properties.

    • Lorenz P. Manker
    • Graham R. Dick
    • Jeremy S. Luterbacher
  • Analogues of mRNA 5′ caps containing a photo-cleavable group have now been developed. These so-called FlashCaps can be used for routine in vitro transcription to make long mRNAs containing a cap. In cells, the capped mRNAs are translationally muted; however, upon irradiation by light, the photo-cleavable group is removed without leaving any remaining modification and mRNA is then translated into the corresponding protein.

    • Nils Klöcker
    • Florian P. Weissenboeck
    • Andrea Rentmeister
    Article Open Access
  • Cytoskeletons are essential components of cells that perform a variety of tasks, and artificial cytoskeletons that perform these functions are required for the bottom-up assembly of synthetic cells. Now, a multi-functional cytoskeleton mimic has been engineered from DNA, consisting of confined DNA filaments that are capable of reversible self-assembly and transport of gold nanoparticles and vesicular cargo.

    • Pengfei Zhan
    • Kevin Jahnke
    • Kerstin Göpfrich
    Article Open Access
  • Aqueous organic redox flow batteries offer a safe and inexpensive solution to the problem of storing electricity produced from intermittent renewables. However, decomposition of the redox-active organic molecules that they rely on limits their lifetimes, preventing commercialization. Now it has been shown that these redox molecules can be electro-recomposed in situ, rejuvenating their function.

    • Yan Jing
    • Evan Wenbo Zhao
    • Michael J. Aziz
  • The asymmetric hydrogenation of oximes to chiral hydroxylamines is a long-standing challenge because of the labile N–O bond and inert C=N bond. Now, it has been shown that this reaction can be catalysed with a chiral nickel complex, and the weak interactions between catalyst and substrate are found to play a crucial role.

    • Bowen Li
    • Jianzhong Chen
    • Wanbin Zhang
  • Precursors for the release of phosphorus mononitride in solution under mild conditions have remained elusive. Now, an explosive anthracene-stabilized azidophosphine has shown PN transfer reactivity in the synthesis of an Fe–NP complex. The PN ligand is N-bonded, as the Fe–N interaction shows significant covalent character and a less unfavourable Pauli repulsion than its Fe–P counterpart.

    • André K. Eckhardt
    • Martin-Louis Y. Riu
    • Christopher C. Cummins
    • Trisubstituted macrocyclic alkenes are prominent moieties in natural products, and although ring-closing metathesis reactions can be used to access such targets, the yields are typically suboptimal and the stereochemical outcome is unpredictable. Now, a methodology has been developed that tackles both of these challenges.

      • Damian W. Young
      • Srinivas Chamakuri
      News & Views
    • Explaining the controlled emergence and growth of molecular complexity at life’s origins is one of prebiotic chemistry’s grand challenges. Now, it has been shown that we can observe how the self-organization of a complex carbohydrate network can be modulated by its environment.

      • Quentin Dherbassy
      • Kamila B. Muchowska
      News & Views
    • The emerging field of dissipative DNA nanotechnology aims at developing synthetic devices and nanomaterials with life-like properties such as directional motion, transport, communication or adaptation. This Review surveys how dissipative DNA systems combine the programmability of nucleic-acid reactions with the consumption of energy stored in chemical fuel molecules to perform work and cyclical tasks.

      • Erica Del Grosso
      • Elisa Franco
      • Francesco Ricci
      Review Article
    • Being able to run two reactions concurrently enables synthetic methods to be streamlined, but simultaneously controlling the selectivity of both reactions is an enormous challenge. Now, a directing group is used to reinvent a classic tandem reaction, activating specific sp3 C–H bonds with pinpoint accuracy.

      • Sarah E. Jenny
      • Graham E. Dobereiner
      News & Views
    • The rational synthesis of organic nanotubes and their hierarchical architectures has remained challenging. Now, one-dimensional hollow covalent organic frameworks have been prepared that can further assemble into toroid-shaped materials.

      • Gabrielle A. Leith
      • Natalia B. Shustova
      News & Views
  • The tris(2,2′-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) cation, or ‘rubipy’ to its friends, has had a significant influence on our understanding of the photophysics of transition metal complexes, and has also helped revolutionize organic photochemistry, explains Daniela M. Arias-Rotondo.

    • Daniela M. Arias-Rotondo
    In Your Element
  • In early 2020, Shira Joudan was in the final stages of her PhD when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Despite the challenging circumstances, she graduated, found a postdoc position and will begin her independent academic career in early 2023.

    • Shira Joudan
  • In 1931, Erich Hückel published a landmark paper — the seed of the now famous 4n + 2 rule for aromaticity in annulenes that bears his name. Electron counting has since been extended to other classes of compounds, resulting in a multitude of rules aiming to capture the concept of aromaticity and its impact in chemistry.

    • Miquel Solà
  • In 2017 Professor Frances S. Ligler was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her inventions in portable optical biosensors. Professor Ligler now talks to Nature Chemistry about the challenge of developing new sensor designs into reliable products, and some of the pitfalls to avoid in the development process.

    • Russell Johnson
  • Bruce C. Gibb offers some suggestions to chemists for how they can help save the world, one nudge at a time.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
  • Claire Murray ponders on the attraction benzene — a small, seemingly simple molecule — has long exerted on scientists, some of the insights gained through its exploration, and the varied applications found for this hexagonal ring and its derivatives.

    • Claire Murray
    In Your Element

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