Artististic impression of a protein nanostructres made from cyclic helical repeat proteins

Read our December issue

This month, a Thesis that discusses the challenges of teaching undergraduate courses for the first time, the usual mix of Articles and News and Views, and an In Your Element Article on insulin.


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

    The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots. In recognition of this award, Nature Portfolio presents a collection of research, review and opinion articles that highlight the development of quantum dots over the past three decades.

  • 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 umpolung functionalization of imines bears vast synthetic potential, but polarity inversion is less efficient compared with the carbonyl counterparts. Now, an alternative strategy exploiting chiral phosphoric acid catalytic aromatization has been developed, affording structures possessing a central chirality or a stereogenic C–N axis with high efficiency and enantiocontrol.

    • Ye-Hui Chen
    • Meng Duan
    • Bin Tan
  • Methods for transition-metal-catalysed enantioselective C(sp3)–S bond construction are underdeveloped. Now, by taking advantage of the biomimetic radical homolytic substitution manifold, the copper-catalysed enantioconvergent C(sp3)–S cross-coupling of racemic secondary and tertiary alkyl halides with highly transformable sulfur nucleophiles has been realized. This reaction provides access to an array of α-chiral alkyl organosulfur compounds.

    • Yu Tian
    • Xi-Tao Li
    • Xin-Yuan Liu
  • Borenium ions have traditionally served as main group (pre-)catalysts, and their use in materials-related applications have been limited by their instability. Now, a series of fully π-conjugated azaboraacenium ions derived from carbodicarbene have been developed that exhibit high air and moisture stability with full colour-tunable luminescence. Furthermore, these azaboraacene cations mimic the electronic structures of higher-order carbonaceous acenes while featuring enhanced resistance to photo-oxidation.

    • Chun-Lin Deng
    • Akachukwu D. Obi
    • Robert J. Gilliard Jr.
  • Light-induced azobenzene cis/trans isomerization has been extensively investigated, but the mechanical strength of its cis/trans structure is not well understood. Now it has been shown that cis azobenzene is mechanically less stable than the trans isomer due to its regiochemical structure, as revealed by single-molecule force spectroscopy.

    • Yiran Li
    • Bin Xue
    • Yi Cao
  • Activation of H2 by a metal–olefin complex is characterized experimentally and computationally using a nickel pincer complex, showing that the reaction proceeds via a direct ligand-to-ligand hydrogen transfer mechanism. An application of this cooperative H2-activation mechanism is demonstrated in the nickel-catalysed semihydrogenation of diphenylacetylene.

    • María L. G. Sansores-Paredes
    • Martin Lutz
    • Marc-Etienne Moret
  • Enzyme-initiated polymerization-induced self-assembly has been used to generate various biomimetic structures. Now, myoglobin’s activity is used for biocatalytic polymerization-induced self-assembly to generate vesicular artificial cells. As various cargoes can be encapsulated during polymerization, these artificial cells are capable of protein expression and can act as microreactors for distinct enzymatic reactions.

    • Andrea Belluati
    • Sètuhn Jimaja
    • Nico Bruns
    ArticleOpen Access
    • Fluoroalkyl fragments are ubiquitous motifs in pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals, but their introduction to a given molecule typically involves expensive or difficult-to-handle reagents. Now, the photocatalysed hydrofluoroalkylation of alkenes has been achieved using simple and readily available fluoroalkyl carboxylic acids.

      • Fabio Juliá
      News & Views
    • Stereoselective decarboxylative protonation can produce diverse chiral molecules from widely available carboxylic acids. However, general and practical strategies are lacking. Now, a chiral spirocyclic phosphoric acid-catalysed decarboxylation of aminomalonic acids has enabled the modular synthesis of α-amino acids.

      • Xufeng Lin
      • Alemayehu Gashaw Woldegiorgis
      News & Views
    • Recent improvements in de novo protein design are likely to support a broad range of applications, but larger complexes will be easier to create if a building block approach is adopted. Now protein filaments with tunable geometry can be made using assemblies that have both cyclic and superhelical symmetries aligned along the same axis.

      • Jeremy R. H. Tame
      News & Views
    • Ribonucleoprotein granules are ubiquitous in living organisms with the protein and RNA components having distinct roles. In the absence of proteins, RNAs are shown to undergo phase separation upon heating. This transition is driven by desolvation entropy and ion-mediated crosslinking and is tuned by the chemical specificity of the RNA nucleobases.

      Research Briefing
  • Becoming an assistant professor brings with it numerous challenges, one of which is teaching undergraduate courses for the first time. Shira Joudan reflects on the ups and downs of setting up and delivering her first course.

    • Shira Joudan
  • Daniel Rabinovich outlines the story of insulin, the essential drug for the treatment of diabetes during the past century.

    • Daniel Rabinovich
    In Your Element
  • Didier Astruc surveys the numerous applications of ferrocene, from catalysis to materials and redox-related devices including biosensors and nanomedicine.

    • Didier Astruc
    In Your Element
  • 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

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