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.


  • 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
  • Biological membranes are asymmetric bilayers, but little is known about how this asymmetry modulates membrane protein folding or stability. Now, folding and stability assays with bacterial outer membrane proteins reveal an exquisite sensitivity to asymmetric membrane charge distribution and a required matching of protein charge for efficient folding.

    • Jonathan M. Machin
    • Antreas C. Kalli
    • Sheena E. Radford
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Phase separation is being revealed as important in many biological processes. Most attempts to mimic and deconstruct this use engineered natural proteins. Now it is shown that de novo proteins can be designed from first principles to undergo liquid–liquid phase separation in cells, with the potential to organize multi-enzyme pathways.

    • Alexander T. Hilditch
    • Andrey Romanyuk
    • Derek N. Woolfson
    ArticleOpen Access
    • 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
    • Deuterated compounds are used in many applications such as mass-spectrometry standards, drugs or in organic light-emitting diodes. Now, hydrogen-activated homogeneous pincer complex catalysts can be used to perform selective alkene deuteration with the cheapest available deuterium source, D2O.

      • Anika Tarasewicz
      • Volker Derdau
      News & Views
    • Aryl ethers are useful intermediates in organic synthesis and are found in countless biologically active compounds. Now, through palladium/norbornene cooperative catalysis and incorporation of a polarity-reversed N–O reagent as the O-electrophile, an efficient arene methoxylation approach has been successfully developed.

      • Kun Zhao
      • Zhenhua Gu
      News & Views
    • Medicinal chemistry efforts typically focus on drug–protein interactions and overlook RNA binding as a source of off-target pharmacology. Now, a new method has been developed to map the interactions of small-molecule drugs with RNA in cells and characterize how these interactions can exert functional effects.

      • Christopher R. Fullenkamp
      • John S. Schneekloth Jr
      News & Views
  • 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
  • Critical realism distinguishes the ‘real’ world from the ‘observable’ one, which scientists explore as actors rather than as passive, neutral observers. Through this lens, it is clear that a diverse community that interrogates the world from different angles is an asset to the practice of chemistry itself.

    • Margaret A. L. Blackie
  • Critical race theory — an academic framework that serves to understand systemic racism in the USA and beyond — can help inform endeavours to advance justice and equity in the chemistry community.

    • Terrell R. Morton

Nature Careers