Artistic rendering of intermolecular Coulombic decay occurring between unbound pyridine molecules taken from the cover of the October issue.

Intermolecular Coulombic decay knows no bounds

Efficient intermolecular Coulombic decay between unbound pyridine molecules excited at ambient-light intensities.


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  • Intersystem crossing in reaction entrance channels usually arises from ‘heavy-atom’ effects. Now molecular-beam experiments show that even without heavy atoms, the O(3P) + pyridine reaction leads to spin-forbidden pyrrole + CO products. Theoretical calculations reveal efficient intersystem crossing before the entrance barrier for O-atom addition to the N-atom lone pair, which dominates reactivity at low to moderate temperatures.

    • Pedro Recio
    • Silvia Alessandrini
    • Vincenzo Barone
  • General synthetic methods to access pleuromutilin antibiotics are limited due to their complex carbocyclic skeleton. Now, a synthetic platform has been developed to access structurally diverse pleuromutilins with variations at the quaternary C12 position and hydrindanone cores. Seventeen structurally distinct derivatives were prepared and evaluated against a panel of Gram-positive and -negative bacteria.

    • Olivia Goethe
    • Mikaela DiBello
    • Seth B. Herzon
  • Alkyl and aryl polycyanurate networks have now been prepared through polymerization of diols and substituted triazines via a dynamic SNAr reaction. When treated with excess mono alcohol or phenol, the polycyanurate networks can be depolymerized into the starting monomers, which can be separated and reused, thus achieving closed-loop recycling.

    • Zepeng Lei
    • Hongxuan Chen
    • Wei Zhang
  • On-surface synthesis enables highly reactive structures to be produced under vacuum, but they need to be passivated to be incorporated into practical devices. Here, the facile protection of air-sensitive chiral graphene nanoribbons has been shown, by either hydrogenation or synthesis of an oxidized form. The chemically stable forms can subsequently be deprotected.

    • James Lawrence
    • Alejandro Berdonces-Layunta
    • Dimas G. de Oteyza
  • Proteins rich in phenylalanine-glycine (FG) repeats can phase separate through FG–FG interactions. The molecular interactions of an important FG-repeat protein, nucleoporin 98, have now been studied in liquid-like transient and amyloid-like cohesive states. These interactions underlie the behaviour of FG-repeat proteins and their function in physiological and pathological cell activities.

    • Alain Ibáñez de Opakua
    • James A. Geraets
    • Markus Zweckstetter
    Article Open Access
  • A method has been developed to identify RNA transcript isoforms at the single-molecule level using solid-state nanopore microscopy. In this method, target RNA is refolded into RNA identifiers with designed sets of complementary DNA strands. Each reshaped molecule carries a unique sequence of structural (pseudo)colours that enables identification and quantification using solid-state nanopore microscopy.

    • Filip Bošković
    • Ulrich Felix Keyser
    • Noyori-type catalysts and inorganic bases are frequently used together for homogeneous hydrogenation, but key intermediates have not yet been isolated. Now, the structure and reactivity of a long-postulated intermediate — the alkali metal amidate complex — have been reported through experimental and computational studies.

      • Pavel A. Dub
      News & Views
    • Aqueous organic redox flow batteries are promising for low-cost and large-scale energy storage, but the redox-active molecules they rely on degrade prematurely. Now, a facile electrochemical protocol to regenerate them has been proposed, resulting in extended battery lifetimes.

      • Antoni Forner-Cuenca
      News & Views
    • Quantitatively studying the partitioning of biomolecules and reaction equilibria in cellular systems is an enormous challenge. Now, a multiphase coacervate model system provides insight into this complex biological problem, illustrating how coexisting phases influence RNA partitioning and duplex dissociation.

      • Shuqi Wu
      • Liangfei Tian
      News & Views
    • Amines with free N–H groups have long posed a tremendous challenge in transition metal-catalysed amination reactions. Now, use of a bidentate phosphorus ligand enables the palladium-catalysed oxidative amination of simple olefins with Lewis basic amines, with no prefunctionalization, forming both alkyl and aryl allylamines.

      • Logan E. Vine
      • Jennifer M. Schomaker
      News & Views
    • The application of machine learning to big data, to make quantitative predictions about reaction outcomes, has been fraught with failure. This is because so many chemical-reaction data are not fit for purpose, but predictions would be less error-prone if synthetic chemists changed their reaction design and reporting practices.

      • Jacqueline M. Cole
      News & Views
  • 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
  • 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
  • Lukas Veth and Paweł Dydio discuss the importance of ligands in transition metal catalysis, looking at the success story of xantphos and why it should earn the title of ‘privileged ligand’.

    • Lukas Veth
    • Paweł Dydio
    In Your Element
  • Bruce Gibb suggests that chemists can play a central role in democratizing access to energy by focusing on common elements.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
  • Tova N. Williams explores the history of madder, its components and the perhaps confusing terminology that surrounds this long-known source of red colour.

    • Tova N. Williams
    In Your Element
  • Choline 2-hexenoate is an ionic compound that is a liquid at room temperature, and is just one of a class of compounds that have huge potential in biomedical research and clinical applications, explains Eden E. L. Tanner.

    • Eden E. L. Tanner
    In Your Element

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