Browse Articles

  • Article |

    Calcium-ion batteries are potentially attractive alternatives to lithium-ion batteries, but remain largely unexplored because of low performance. A reversible calcium alloying/de-alloying reaction with the tin anode has now been coupled with the intercalation/de-intercalation of hexafluorophosphate in the graphite cathode to enable a calcium-ion battery that operates stably at room temperature.

    Low-cost battery technology is attractive in the fields of electric vehicles and grid-scale energy storage. Now, a room-temperature calcium-ion battery exhibiting an average working voltage of 4.45 V and 95% capacity retention after 350 cycles has been developed. The new battery configuration and working mechanism contribute to its electrochemical performance.

    • Meng Wang
    • , Chunlei Jiang
    • , Songquan Zhang
    • , Xiaohe Song
    • , Yongbing Tang
    •  & Hui-Ming Cheng
  • Article |

    I-motif DNA structures are thought to form in cytosine-rich regions of the genome and to have regulatory functions; however, in vivo evidence for the existence of such structures has so far remained elusive. Now an engineered antibody that is selective for i-motif structures has been developed and used to detect i-motifs in the nuclei of human cells.

    • Mahdi Zeraati
    • , David B. Langley
    • , Peter Schofield
    • , Aaron L. Moye
    • , Romain Rouet
    • , William E. Hughes
    • , Tracy M. Bryan
    • , Marcel E. Dinger
    •  & Daniel Christ
  • Article |

    Our understanding of reaction dynamics has developed as more accurate measurements of product state-resolved angular distributions have become available. Now, fast forward-scattering oscillations in the product angular distribution of the benchmark chemical reaction H + HD → H2 + D have been observed and are in excellent agreement with quantum-mechanical dynamics calculations.

    • Daofu Yuan
    • , Shengrui Yu
    • , Wentao Chen
    • , Jiwei Sang
    • , Chang Luo
    • , Tao Wang
    • , Xin Xu
    • , Piergiorgio Casavecchia
    • , Xingan Wang
    • , Zhigang Sun
    • , Dong H. Zhang
    •  & Xueming Yang
  • In Your Element |

    Adrian Dingle relates how one ‘element’ that fell off the periodic table was eventually replaced by two.

    • Adrian Dingle
  • News & Views |

    Proteins are attractive material building blocks, yet their intrinsic functionality has remained largely untapped. Now, a protein-based material that exhibits controllable self-assembling behaviour has been prepared in a one-pot synthesis by simultaneous use of recombinant expression and post-translational modification.

    • Alvaro Mata
  • Thesis |

    Bruce C. Gibb discusses the biochemistry behind the sensory experiences associated with eating chillies and the lesser-known tingle-inducing ‘sanshools’.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
  • Article |

    The M-cluster in the active site of nitrogenase is derived from an 8Fe core assembled via coupling and rearrangement of two [Fe4S4] clusters concomitant with the insertion of an interstitial carbon and a ninth sulfur. Now, by combining synthetic [Fe4S4] clusters and assembly with a protein template, it has been shown that sulfite gives rise to the ninth sulfur that is inserted into the nitrogenase cofactor after the radical SAM-dependent carbide insertion and cofactor core rearrangement.

    • Kazuki Tanifuji
    • , Chi Chung Lee
    • , Nathaniel S. Sickerman
    • , Kazuyuki Tatsumi
    • , Yasuhiro Ohki
    • , Yilin Hu
    •  & Markus W. Ribbe
  • Article |

    Collision-induced spin–orbit transitions involve multiple interaction potentials and are by nature non-adiabatic, complicating both their experimental and theoretical study. Crossed-beam experiments and non-Born–Oppenheimer quantum calculations for inelastic collisions of carbon atoms with helium atoms, down to energies corresponding to temperatures below 10 K, have now been performed. Quantum-dynamical resonances predicted by theory were experimentally detected.

    • Astrid Bergeat
    • , Simon Chefdeville
    • , Michel Costes
    • , Sébastien B. Morales
    • , Christian Naulin
    • , Uzi Even
    • , Jacek Kłos
    •  & François Lique
  • Article |

    Scattering of molecules at low temperature that are prepared in single quantum states illuminates the mechanism of rotationally inelastic collisions and reveals the reorientation of partner molecules. By correlating each outgoing partial wave with the incoming waves, partial-wave analysis of the scattering angular distribution determines the dominant short- and long-range anisotropies of the interaction potential.

    • William E. Perreault
    • , Nandini Mukherjee
    •  & Richard N. Zare
  • Article |

    Molecular collisions can lead to the absorption of incident light even for transitions that are spectroscopically forbidden for the isolated molecules. Now the electronic–vibrational transitions of O2 have been theoretically studied and, contrary to textbook knowledge, it is shown that the absorption mechanism and the spectral line shape depend on the collision partner, oxygen or nitrogen.

    • Tijs Karman
    • , Mark A. J. Koenis
    • , Agniva Banerjee
    • , David H. Parker
    • , Iouli E. Gordon
    • , Ad van der Avoird
    • , Wim J. van der Zande
    •  & Gerrit C. Groenenboom
  • Article |

    The biosynthesis of the [FeFe] hydrogenase active site H-cluster requires several Fe–S proteins that perform poorly understood reactions. Now, a reaction intermediate trapped in the enzyme HydG is shown to contain a [(Cys)Fe(CO)(CN)] species identified as the first organometallic Fe moiety en route to the catalytic H-cluster.

    • Guodong Rao
    • , Lizhi Tao
    • , Daniel L. M. Suess
    •  & R. David Britt
  • Article |

    The phase in which a crystal exists can have a direct influence over its properties; however, it is usually difficult to control during synthesis. Now it has been shown that micrometre-sized metallic 1T′-MoS2- and 1T′-MoSe2-layered crystals can be prepared in high phase purity on a large scale, and that they display promising electrocatalytic activity towards the hydrogen evolution reaction.

    • Yifu Yu
    • , Gwang-Hyeon Nam
    • , Qiyuan He
    • , Xue-Jun Wu
    • , Kang Zhang
    • , Zhenzhong Yang
    • , Junze Chen
    • , Qinglang Ma
    • , Meiting Zhao
    • , Zhengqing Liu
    • , Fei-Rong Ran
    • , Xingzhi Wang
    • , Hai Li
    • , Xiao Huang
    • , Bing Li
    • , Qihua Xiong
    • , Qing Zhang
    • , Zheng Liu
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Yonghua Du
    • , Wei Huang
    •  & Hua Zhang
  • Article |

    Mg-based batteries possess potential advantages over their lithium counterparts; however, the use of reversible oxidation-resistant, carbonate-based electrolytes has been hindered because of their undesirable electrochemical reduction reactions. Now, by engineering a Mg2+-conductive artificial interphase on a Mg electrode surface, which prevents such reactivity, highly reversible Mg deposition/stripping in carbonate-based electrolytes has been demonstrated.

    • Seoung-Bum Son
    • , Tao Gao
    • , Steve P. Harvey
    • , K. Xerxes Steirer
    • , Adam Stokes
    • , Andrew Norman
    • , Chunsheng Wang
    • , Arthur Cresce
    • , Kang Xu
    •  & Chunmei Ban
  • Article |

    Peptide macrocycles are uniquely suited to engage some challenging biological targets, such as protein–protein interactions. Inspired by the ‘C–H’ cross-linked peptide natural products, a highly efficient and generally applicable strategy for constructing cyclophane-braced peptide macrocycles has been developed. The strategy is based on palladium-catalysed intramolecular C(sp3)–H arylation reactions.

    • Xuekai Zhang
    • , Gang Lu
    • , Meng Sun
    • , Madhu Mahankali
    • , Yanfei Ma
    • , Mingming Zhang
    • , Wangde Hua
    • , Yuting Hu
    • , Qingbing Wang
    • , Jinghuo Chen
    • , Gang He
    • , Xiangbing Qi
    • , Weijun Shen
    • , Peng Liu
    •  & Gong Chen
  • Article |

    A second-generation DNA-templated library of 256,000 small-molecule macrocycles has been developed. The improved method was created by streamlining and integrating multiple aspects of DNA-encoded and DNA-templated library synthesis methodology. In vitro selection of the macrocycle library against insulin-degrading enzyme enabled the discovery of potent inhibitors.

    • Dmitry L. Usanov
    • , Alix I. Chan
    • , Juan Pablo Maianti
    •  & David R. Liu
  • Article |

    Molecules that mimic the charge surface of B-DNA could enable the inhibition of DNA processive enzymes. Now, helically folded aromatic oligoamide scaffolds have been synthesized that display anions at positions similar to that of B-DNA phosphates. These foldamer mimics can recognize some DNA binding proteins and inhibit enzymes such as HIV integrase and topoisomerase 1.

    • Krzysztof Ziach
    • , Céline Chollet
    • , Vincent Parissi
    • , Panchami Prabhakaran
    • , Mathieu Marchivie
    • , Valentina Corvaglia
    • , Partha Pratim Bose
    • , Katta Laxmi-Reddy
    • , Frédéric Godde
    • , Jean-Marie Schmitter
    • , Stéphane Chaignepain
    • , Philippe Pourquier
    •  & Ivan Huc
  • Article |

    Cell-to-cell variation in gene expression creates a need for techniques that characterize expression at the level of individual cells. Now, a technique for characterizing mRNA expression has been developed. The technique uses the intracellular self-assembly of magnetic nanoparticles to quantitate RNA levels at the single-cell level.

    • Mahmoud Labib
    • , Reza M. Mohamadi
    • , Mahla Poudineh
    • , Sharif U. Ahmed
    • , Ivaylo Ivanov
    • , Ching-Lung Huang
    • , Maral Moosavi
    • , Edward H. Sargent
    •  & Shana O. Kelley
  • Article |

    Nanocatalysts can undergo various dynamic phenomena that affect their activity, such as restructuring and spillover. Now, using spatially and temporally resolved imaging of individual catalytic reactions, cooperative communication between different sites within single palladium- and gold-based nanocatalysts, and between different nanocatalysts, has been observed during three distinct catalytic reactions.

    • Ningmu Zou
    • , Xiaochun Zhou
    • , Guanqun Chen
    • , Nesha May Andoy
    • , Won Jung
    • , Guokun Liu
    •  & Peng Chen
  • Article |

    Mapping energy landscapes has proved to be a powerful approach for studying reaction mechanisms. Now, this strategy has been applied to determine the activation energies and entropies that characterize the molecular steps in the misfolding and aggregation of the amyloid-β peptide, revealing striking differences between the thermodynamic signatures of primary and secondary nucleation.

    • Samuel I. A. Cohen
    • , Risto Cukalevski
    • , Thomas C. T. Michaels
    • , Anđela Šarić
    • , Mattias Törnquist
    • , Michele Vendruscolo
    • , Christopher M. Dobson
    • , Alexander K. Buell
    • , Tuomas P. J. Knowles
    •  & Sara Linse
  • Thesis |

    To appreciate women’s contribution to science, Michelle Francl suggests it’s time to stop talking about the most famous one.

    • Michelle Francl
  • Review Article |

    Phytochemicals exhibit great pharmaceutical importance despite their low abundance in nature. The microbial biosynthesis of complex phytochemicals offers one route to increase their availability and production. This Review discusses recent strategies to reconstruct plant biosynthetic pathways that have not been fully elucidated; enhance plant enzyme activity; and enhance overall reaction efficiency of multi-enzyme pathways.

    • Sijin Li
    • , Yanran Li
    •  & Christina D. Smolke