An artistic representation of a stiff stilbene mechanophore in a polymer chain.

Read our September issue

This month, a Thesis discussing how to decide which academic opportunities to pursue, the usual mix of Articles and News and Views, and an In Your Element article on the antimicrobial agent natamycin.


  • 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.

  • A lab with robotic arms carrying out experiments

    The combination of techniques such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation can be used to accelerate chemical and materials synthesis. This Focus issue showcases developments in the automation and digitalization of synthesis, as well as highlights the challenges to be overcome in this area.

  • A petrochemical refinery located at the edge of a body of water illuminates the surroundings with its many bright lights at night

    Nature Chemical Engineering is open for submissions. The journal will cover a broad range of systems and scales that significantly advance fundamental research, aid product and process development and explore new technological solutions, all in the context of core chemical engineering approaches. It will publish research, reviews and opinion articles.

Nature Chemistry is a Transformative Journal; authors can publish using the traditional publishing route OR via immediate gold Open Access.

Our Open Access option complies with funder and institutional requirements.


  • The reversible N–H activation and catalytic transformations of ammonia are a challenge. Now, a hidden frustrated Lewis pair is shown to activate non-aqueous ammonia thermoneutrally and split the N–H bond reversibly at ambient temperature. The N–H-activated ammonia was also utilized as an atom-economical nitrogen source for catalytic NH3 transfer reactions.

    • Felix Krämer
    • Jan Paradies
    • Frank Breher
  • Although amorphous calcium carbonate represents an important biomineralization precursor, its structure has been difficult to understand. Now, amorphous calcium carbonate’s structure is shown to arise from the different bridging modes available to the calcium ions. This effective multi-well potential that drives calcium arrangements creates a geometric incompatibility between preferred Ca–Ca distances and frustrates crystallization.

    • Thomas C. Nicholas
    • Adam Edward Stones
    • Andrew L. Goodwin
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the maturation of protein condensates into amyloid fibrils associated with neurodegenerative diseases has so far remained elusive. Now it has been shown that in condensates formed by the low-complexity domain of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated protein hnRNPA1, fibril formation is promoted at the interface, which provides a potential therapeutic target for counteracting aberrant protein aggregation.

    • Miriam Linsenmeier
    • Lenka Faltova
    • Paolo Arosio
    ArticleOpen Access
  • While aromaticity is a useful concept for assessing the reactivity of organic compounds, the connection between aromaticity and on-surface chemistry remains largely unexplored. Now, scanning probe experiments on cyclization reactions of porphyrins on Au(111) show that the peripheral carbon atoms outside of the aromatic 18-π electron pathway exhibit a higher reactivity.

    • Nan Cao
    • Jonas Björk
    • Alexander Riss
  • Covalent organic frameworks offer a highly tunable class of materials for a range of applications, although their dynamic structural transformations are challenging to analyse. Now single-crystal X-ray diffraction is shown to demonstrate single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformations of the imine linkages, showing a well-defined interpenetrating topology and affording structures that have high positive thermal expansion and anhydrous proton-conduction properties.

    • Baoqiu Yu
    • Rui-Biao Lin
    • Jianzhuang Jiang
  • Shifts in temperature alter the structure and dynamics of macromolecules. Now, infra-red laser-induced temperature jump is combined with X-ray crystallography to observe protein structural dynamics in real time. Using this method, motions related to the catalytic cycle of lysozyme, a model enzyme, are visualized at atomic resolution and across broad timescales.

    • Alexander M. Wolff
    • Eriko Nango
    • Michael C. Thompson
    ArticleOpen Access
    • The factors that control the solubility of a salt are many and varied. Now a set of salts with closely related cations suggests that weak London dispersion-controlled CH···π interactions can dominate solubility, despite the presence of much stronger forces.

      • Steve Scheiner
      News & Views
    • The intentional interweaving of two different metal–organic framework (MOF) lattices could offer a strategy for combining the disparate properties of the two frameworks within a single MOF material. Now, the rational construction of such hetero-interpenetrated MOFs has been demonstrated.

      • Tendai Gadzikwa
      News & Views
    • Light is a major driver of the chemistry of the atmosphere and usually involves the photolytic fragmentation of molecules into radicals before their reaction. New results show that formaldehyde, excited by low-energy light, can react with oxygen, opening up alternative atmospheric oxidation pathways.

      • Paul W. Seakins
      News & Views
    • An infrared laser-induced temperature jump provides a rapid and broadly applicable perturbation to protein dynamics. Temperature-jump crystallography was paired with time-resolved X-ray crystallography to study the dynamic enzyme lysozyme. Measurements with and without a functional inhibitor revealed different patterns in the propagation of motion throughout the enzyme.

      Research Briefing
    • Experimental and computational studies establish the operation of Fe(iii)-based metalloradical catalysis for the asymmetric cyclopropanation of alkenes with different classes of diazo compounds. The reaction proceeds through a stepwise radical mechanism involving α-Fe(iv)-alkyl and γ-Fe(iv)-alkyl radical intermediates. This work provides a future direction for the development of metalloradical catalysis.

      Research Briefing
  • Few explosives are better-known to non-chemists than trinitrotoluene (TNT). Thomas M. Klapötke reflects on the enduring appeal of TNT and whether its starring role as an explosive is nearing its end.

    • Thomas M. Klapötke
    In Your Element
  • Teaching the history of science along with the science itself can give students greater context about the topic they are learning and a wider perspective on how it has developed. Michelle Francl, who has wrestled with how much time to spend on teaching history in the chemistry classroom for years, considers how unconventional histories can shift the curriculum.

    • Michelle Francl
  • Clinton Veale and Fanie van Heerden discuss the story of natamycin. From its humble telluric origins in Pietermaritzburg, this unique antimicrobial agent has risen to become a mainstay of the food and beverages industry.

    • Clinton G. L. Veale
    • Fanie R. van Heerden
    In Your Element
  • There are lots of expectations for assistant professors, and many opportunities that are good for your career. Shira Joudan reflects on making a personalized reference document for how to decide which opportunities are best to pursue, and to which to say ‘no’.

    • Shira Joudan
  • Different roles require different types of intelligences, and trainee chemists are often tested on their linguistic and logical–mathematical intelligences at the expense of other types. Bruce Gibb describes the types of intelligences that chemists use, and suggests ways to teach and test them.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
  • Fiona C. Meldrum and Helmut Cölfen chalk up some of the myriad forms and uses of calcium carbonate to burnish a ‘dull’ reputation.

    • Fiona C. Meldrum
    • Helmut Cölfen
    In Your Element

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