Volume 2 Issue 1, January 2010

Volume 2 Issue 1

The properties of nanoparticles are strongly influenced by their size, and it is often desirable to produce samples in which the particles all have the same - or very similar - sizes. This is not a simple proposition, however, because nanoparticles are usually formed in a range of sizes. Fujita and co-workers have now shown that well-defined cages self-assembled from metal ions and organic ligands can template the formation of silica nanoparticles within their hollow cavities (as shown on the cover) with almost perfect size control.

Cover design by Alex Wing/Nature Chemistry.

Article p25; News & Views p6


  • Editorial |

    The editorial process at Nature Chemistry differs in some important ways from that employed at other chemistry journals.


Research Highlights


News and Views

  • News & Views |

    Synthetic procedures for making nanoparticles often result in samples that contain a range of different particle sizes. By using hollow self-assembled metal–organic spheres as templates, however, it is possible to make silica nanoparticles with uniform shapes and sizes in a precisely controlled fashion.

    • Boris Breiner
    •  & Jonathan R. Nitschke
  • News & Views |

    Small-molecule enzyme-inhibitors often display insufficient affinity and selectivity for their targets causing unwanted side effects when used as drugs. Molecularly imprinted polymers prepared using the enzyme as a template could offer a solution.

    • Börje Sellergren
  • News & Views |

    Embedding platinum nanoparticles in a polymer matrix produces a system that reacts like a homogeneous catalyst, but provides the stability and separation advantages of a heterogeneous one.

    • Gadi Rothenberg
  • News & Views |

    Electrically tunable materials are used to construct switches and memory devices. Applying an electric field within a specific temperature range to cyanometallate complexes triggers their charge-transfer phase transition, altering their optical and magnetic properties.

    • Osamu Sato
  • News & Views |

    Among the wide variety of synthetic processes that chemists have developed, only a few can be carried out under physiological conditions. A condensation reaction that is controlled by the constituents of cells has led to the formation of nanostructures within living cells.

    • Bing Xu


  • Review Article |

    Nature's enzymes are remarkably efficient at catalysing highly specific reactions with extraordinary selectivity. The ability to design enzymes for any desired reaction is a huge challenge. Here, the advances in the development of artificial enzymes are discussed with a particular focus on the computational advances that bring this challenge closer to reality.

    • Vikas Nanda
    •  & Ronald L. Koder


  • Article |

    When making nanoparticles it is often desirable to produce samples in which there is little variation in the size of the structures that are formed. Hollow self-assembled metal–organic cages have now been shown to be effective templates for the preparation of monodisperse silica nanoparticles, and may also prove useful for the controlled synthesis of nanoparticles from other materials.

    • Kosuke Suzuki
    • , Sota Sato
    •  & Makoto Fujita
  • Article |

    Two abundant feedstocks, dinitrogen and carbon monoxide, have the strongest bonds in chemistry, so breaking them is a significant challenge. An organometallic hafnium compound has now been shown to induce nitrogen cleavage on addition of carbon monoxide, with simultaneous assembly of new nitrogen–carbon and carbon–carbon bonds.

    • Donald J. Knobloch
    • , Emil Lobkovsky
    •  & Paul J. Chirik
  • Article |

    Combining the benefits of homogeneous and heterogeneous processes may lead to important advances in catalysis. This has now been achieved using selectively oxidized and supported electrophilic platinum nanoparticles that catalyse a range of π-bond activation reactions previously only catalysed homogeneously.

    • Cole A. Witham
    • , Wenyu Huang
    • , Chia-Kuang Tsung
    • , John N. Kuhn
    • , Gabor A. Somorjai
    •  & F. Dean Toste
  • Article |

    The construction and operation of interlocked molecular machines often rely on the mutual recognition of different building blocks through a range of non-covalent interactions. Researchers have now shown that the versatility of bipyridinium systems can be increased by taking advantage of the complexes formed between their radical cations; with this approach they have been able to make electrochemically switchable bi- and tristable rotaxanes.

    • Ali Trabolsi
    • , Niveen Khashab
    • , Albert C. Fahrenbach
    • , Douglas C. Friedman
    • , Michael T. Colvin
    • , Karla K. Cotí
    • , Diego Benítez
    • , Ekaterina Tkatchouk
    • , John-Carl Olsen
    • , Matthew E. Belowich
    • , Raanan Carmielli
    • , Hussam A. Khatib
    • , William A. Goddard III
    • , Michael R. Wasielewski
    •  & J. Fraser Stoddart
  • Article |

    Both hydrogen and xenon form unusual phases at very high pressures. Researchers have now observed that an unexpectedly stable compound forms when a hydrogen-rich mixture of the two gases is subjected to pressures in the gigapascal range. Xenon dimers and other unusual bonding states are revealed in this compound, which is stable to megabar pressures.

    • Maddury Somayazulu
    • , Przemyslaw Dera
    • , Alexander F. Goncharov
    • , Stephen A. Gramsch
    • , Peter Liermann
    • , Wenge Yang
    • , Zhenxian Liu
    • , Ho-kwang Mao
    •  & Russell J. Hemley
  • Article |

    Chemists have very few tools at their disposal for controlling synthetic processes under physiological conditions. Now, a monomer has been prepared that oligomerizes in living cells under the control of various triggers (pH change, disulfide reduction and enzymatic cleavage), showing promise for imaging or therapeutic applications.

    • Gaolin Liang
    • , Hongjun Ren
    •  & Jianghong Rao
  • Article |

    Many synthetic processes rely on the ability to selectively couple oxygenated molecules. Here a study of low-temperature selective cross-coupling of aldehydes with methanol on a gold surface is presented. The results allow the construction of a mechanistic model for such coupling reactions that will be applicable under a wide range of reaction conditions.

    • Bingjun Xu
    • , Xiaoying Liu
    • , Jan Haubrich
    •  & Cynthia M. Friend

In Your Element

  • In Your Element |

    Mitch André Garcia considers the disputed discovery of element 104 and takes a look at how the chemistry of this synthetic element is developing.

    • Mitch André Garcia