Volume 1 Issue 5, August 2009

Volume 1 Issue 5

The infinite-layer oxide SrFe(II)O2 exhibits a transition from a high-spin state - represented by the antiparallel arrows in the background of the image shown on the cover - to an intermediate-spin state (parallel arrows in the foreground of the cover image), the first observed in a four-coordinate metal centre. A transition from an antiferromagnetic insulator to a ferromagnetic metal (a so-called half-metal) takes place at the same time.

Article p371; News & Views p351


  • Editorial |

    Why Nature Chemistry spells sulfur with an 'f'.

  • Editorial |

    Another 'superheavy' element is officially welcomed to the table.


  • Thesis |

    Chemists have stretched the meaning of topology to cover situations never imagined by their mathematical colleagues. Michelle Francl wonders if we have reached breaking point?

    • Michelle Francl

Research Highlights


News and Views

  • News & Views |

    Metal ions have been incorporated at specific pre-programmed locations into a well-defined, three-dimensional DNA structure. Applications of such cages could arise from the functionalities of the metal centres, guest encapsulation or biomimetic properties.

    • Yan Liu
    •  & Hao Yan
  • News & Views |

    Scientists have long been intrigued by a mechanism first predicted by Alan Turing that leads to self-organizing chemical patterns. Now they have a guide to creating them experimentally.

    • Annette F. Taylor
    •  & Mark R. Tinsley
  • News & Views |

    Small sugar molecules produced by an autocatalytic reaction cycle confined inside vesicle-based 'artificial cells' can trigger a response in living bacterial cells.

    • Geoffrey J. T. Cooper
    •  & Leroy Cronin
  • News & Views |

    At arguably one of the prettiest locations in England, the Nineteenth Lakeland Symposium brought together an international group of delegates from academia and industry to discuss a breadth of topics at the cutting edge of synthetic and heterocyclic organic chemistry.

    • Timothy C. Gallagher
  • News & Views |

    A racemic mixture of tartaric acid forms mirror-image domains with equal propensity when adsorbed on a copper surface. When one enantiomer is present in a slight excess, however, only ordered domains comprising the major isomer are formed.

    • Christopher J. Baddeley
  • News & Views |

    Biopolymers, ingeniously designed by nature, can combine different mechanical properties and even adapt to changes in their environment. By imitating the structure of a protein, chemists have now made a strong, tough polymer that also exhibits elastic properties.

    • Stuart J. Rowan
  • News & Views |

    Converting methane into more useful and readily transportable compounds has previously required the use of metal-based oxo catalysts, but now sulfur and phosphorus are showing their mettle.

    • Robert H. Crabtree
  • News & Views |

    The catalytically active form of an iridium complex changes reversibly in the presence or absence of hydrogen. Such catalysts may be essential for the adoption of organic hydrogen-storage materials as an alternative to petroleum-derived fuels.

    • Philip Jessop
  • News & Views |

    The field of spin transition has been dominated by six-coordinate octahedral metal ions, but now an unusual spin transition has been found for an oxide containing a square-planar coordinate iron(II).

    • Myung-Hwan Whangbo
    •  & Jürgen Köhler


  • Perspective |

    The direct transfer of molecules onto surfaces to form specific patterns has had a significant impact in a number of areas of science and technology, ranging from biomedical diagnostics to nanoelectronics. This Perspective compares and contrasts different lithographic approaches to molecular printing and considers future directions for this field.

    • Adam B. Braunschweig
    • , Fengwei Huo
    •  & Chad A. Mirkin


  • Review Article |

    Chemical methods of achieving asymmetric protonation are classified according to reaction mechanism, with a view to developing a greater understanding of this most fundamental of asymmetric processes, and thus improving the potential for its application in synthesis.

    • Justin T. Mohr
    • , Allen Y. Hong
    •  & Brian M. Stoltz


  • Article |

    Spin transitions — metal ions changing from high- to low-spin states — can be triggered by a range of stimuli and have normally only been observed in octahedrally coordinated ions. Now, a four-coordinate, square-planar iron(II) compound, SrFeO2, exhibits such a spin transition, accompanied by a transition from an antiferromagnetic insulator to a ferromagnetic half-metal.

    • T. Kawakami
    • , Y. Tsujimoto
    • , H. Kageyama
    • , Xing-Qiu Chen
    • , C. L. Fu
    • , C. Tassel
    • , A. Kitada
    • , S. Suto
    • , K. Hirama
    • , Y. Sekiya
    • , Y. Makino
    • , T. Okada
    • , T. Yagi
    • , N. Hayashi
    • , K. Yoshimura
    • , S. Nasu
    • , R. Podloucky
    •  & M. Takano
  • Article |

    Building artificial chemical systems that mimic the behaviour of cells could offer new insights into biological processes. Now, researchers show that by compartmentalizing the autocatalytic formose reaction inside lipid vesicles, and using small-molecule precursors as a ‘metabolic’ fuel, they can create a system that is capable of communicating with living bacterial cells.

    • Paul M. Gardner
    • , Klaus Winzer
    •  & Benjamin G. Davis
  • Article |

    Bifurcating reaction pathways are those for which a single transition-state structure leads to two separate products, and they have been seen previously in the reactions of certain small molecules. Now, calculations provide evidence for a pathway that bifurcates in the synthesis of a terpene — leading to distinctly different structures.

    • Young J. Hong
    •  & Dean J. Tantillo
  • Article |

    Incorporating binding sites for metal ions into DNA strands that assemble into well-defined three-dimensional structures has enabled researchers to build metal-nucleic acid cages. There is potential for the geometry, pore size and chemistry of such materials to be easily tuned, which may prove useful for applications in molecular sensing and encapsulation.

    • Hua Yang
    • , Christopher K. McLaughlin
    • , Faisal A. Aldaye
    • , Graham D. Hamblin
    • , Andrzej Z. Rys
    • , Isabelle Rouiller
    •  & Hanadi F. Sleiman
  • Article |

    Platinum nanoparticles are excellent catalysts, but maintaining that effectiveness at ever smaller particle sizes is crucial to make best use of the precious metal. Now, a dendrimer has been used as a template to make subnanometre clusters, with a defined number of atoms, that exhibit high catalytic activity.

    • Kimihisa Yamamoto
    • , Takane Imaoka
    • , Wang-Jae Chun
    • , Osamu Enoki
    • , Hideaki Katoh
    • , Masahiro Takenaga
    •  & Atsunori Sonoi
  • Article |

    The unusual properties of graphene make it a promising candidate for nanoelectronics applications, but it remains a difficult material to make. Now, on the basis of spectroscopic data that characterize the graphene-precursor graphite oxide, researchers have devised an efficient reduction process for the large-scale production of nearly pure, highly conductive graphene sheets.

    • Wei Gao
    • , Lawrence B. Alemany
    • , Lijie Ci
    •  & Pulickel M. Ajayan
  • Article |

    When a racemic mixture of tartaric acid is adsorbed on a Cu(110) surface, the (R,R) and (S,S) enantiomers separate to form enantiopure domains that cover equal amounts of the substrate. Repeating the experiment with just a small excess of one enantiomer, however, has a drastic effect on the surface assembly with only the majority isomer forming ordered superstructures.

    • Sam Haq
    • , Ning Liu
    • , Vincent Humblot
    • , A. P. J. Jansen
    •  & Rasmita Raval
  • Article |

    Electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) is broadly used to examine chemical composition, but single-atom analysis is hampered by the damage caused by incident electrons. Now, with an EELS technique that does not cause such damage, single calcium atoms have been identified and various elemental analyses demonstrated using metallofullerene-doped nanotubes.

    • Kazu Suenaga
    • , Yuta Sato
    • , Zheng Liu
    • , Hiromichi Kataura
    • , Toshiya Okazaki
    • , Koji Kimoto
    • , Hidetaka Sawada
    • , Takeo Sasaki
    • , Kazuya Omoto
    • , Takeshi Tomita
    • , Toshikatsu Kaneyama
    •  & Yukihito Kondo

In Your Element

  • In Your Element |

    Iron has important roles in areas as diverse as physiological processes and industrial activities, but has traditionally been eclipsed by other transition metals in synthesis processes. Carsten Bolm looks at how iron is now also becoming an increasingly sought-after catalyst.

    • Carsten Bolm