Volume 3 Issue 4, April 2011

Volume 3 Issue 4

With the emergence of graphene, the rich and vivid chemistry of graphite intercalation compounds (GICs) has experienced a renaissance. Now, Andreas Hirsch and co-workers have designed a reaction that uses in situ-generated GICs (seen in the background of the cover image) to obtain covalently functionalized graphene from graphitic starting materials. The spatially demanding organic addends (as depicted in green and white on the cover) not only grant enhanced solubility but also serve as multipurpose chemical anchors.

Image courtesy of Frank Hauke/Cover design by Alex Wing, Nature Chemistry

Article p279


  • Thesis |

    Bruce Gibb ponders a future without chemistry departments — and explains why this is a good thing.

    • Bruce C. Gibb

Books and Arts

Research Highlights


News and Views

  • News & Views |

    A model based on the well-known β-cyclodextrin–adamantane receptor–ligand pair has been used to obtain important insight into the kinetics of gradient-driven motion across a surface.

    • W. Bruce Turnbull
  • News & Views |

    Photosynthesis in plants converts energy from the Sun into chemical fuel in the form of glucose. Now, a strategy to combine carbon dioxide reduction and photochemical water splitting, using a recyclable hydrogen donor, offers the opportunity to develop non-biomimetic photosynthesis.

    • Josef Michl
  • News & Views |

    Controlled energy-transfer on a molecular scale is a goal in many areas of science, from artificial photosynthesis to molecular electronics. Now, DNA origami has been used to direct the transfer of energy from an excited input dye down one of two paths by precisely arranging a mediator dye.

    • Bo Albinsson
  • News & Views |

    Photocatalysts such as titanium dioxide that use sunlight to split water and produce hydrogen would be a clean and sustainable solution to many problems, but their efficiency is currently too low to be widely used. Two approaches to engineer the surface properties of titanium dioxide offer hope that its efficiency can be increased.

    • Ulrike Diebold


  • Perspective |

    Recently, individual organic molecules have been imaged with atomic resolution using non-contact atomic force microscopy with functionalized tips and scanning tunnelling hydrogen microscopy. The resulting applications of these techniques and further improvements of ultra-high spatially resolved molecular investigations are discussed in this Perspective.

    • Leo Gross


  • Article |

    Efforts to make graphene more useful for applications include altering its bandgap and increasing its processability. Both of these can be solved by chemically modifying the material, and now a wet chemical method has been developed that functionalizes graphene in bulk starting from pristine graphite.

    • Jan M. Englert
    • , Christoph Dotzer
    • , Guang Yang
    • , Martin Schmid
    • , Christian Papp
    • , J. Michael Gottfried
    • , Hans-Peter Steinrück
    • , Erdmann Spiecker
    • , Frank Hauke
    •  & Andreas Hirsch
  • Article |

    Methanol is an abundant, renewable chemical feedstock. Here, a homogenous iridium catalyst enables a byproduct-free C–C coupling of methanol and allenes, producing higher alcohols that incorporate all-carbon quaternary centres. This process represents the first catalytic C–C coupling of methanol to provide discrete products of hydrohydroxymethylation.

    • Joseph Moran
    • , Angelika Preetz
    • , Ryan A. Mesch
    •  & Michael J. Krische
  • Article |

    It is shown that long-lived reactive oxygen intermediates are formed in heterogeneous reactions of ozone with aerosol particles, resolving apparent discrepancies between earlier quantum mechanical calculations and kinetic experiments. These intermediates play a key role in the chemical transformations and adverse health effects of toxic and allergenic air particulates.

    • Manabu Shiraiwa
    • , Yulia Sosedova
    • , Aurélie Rouvière
    • , Hong Yang
    • , Yingyi Zhang
    • , Jonathan P. D. Abbatt
    • , Markus Ammann
    •  & Ulrich Pöschl
  • Article |

    The ability of TiO2 photocatalysts to absorb solar light has so far been limited to the UV because of their large bandgap. Now, a surface phase of TiO2 that possess a narrower bandgap closely matching the visible light energy has been synthesized at the surface of pure rutile TiO2(011) faces.

    • Junguang Tao
    • , Tim Luttrell
    •  & Matthias Batzill
  • Article |

    Photochemical reduction of CO2 usually requires the use of a sacrificial electron donor (reductant). Here, a tertiary amine reductant is described that can be regenerated by H2 addition. This permits the formal coupling of CO2 reduction to photochemical water splitting, thereby offering an approach to artificial photosynthesis.

    • Robert D. Richardson
    • , Edward J. Holland
    •  & Barry K. Carpenter
  • Article |

    Small modifications to the organic linkers in metal–organic framework materials (MOFs) can profoundly change their properties. Now, selective in situ esterification of a carboxylic-acid-based linker leads to a MOF with two types of channel having different surface chemistries. Adsorption into these channels is independent and can be switched using thermal or chemical triggers.

    • M. Infas H. Mohideen
    • , Bo Xiao
    • , Paul S. Wheatley
    • , Alistair C. McKinlay
    • , Yang Li
    • , Alexandra M. Z. Slawin
    • , David W. Aldous
    • , Naomi F. Cessford
    • , Tina Düren
    • , Xuebo Zhao
    • , Rachel Gill
    • , K. Mark Thomas
    • , John M. Griffin
    • , Sharon E. Ashbrook
    •  & Russell E. Morris
  • Article |

    Some memory materials rely on a phase change between crystalline and amorphous phases that is triggered by a laser or electrical pulse. Although it is commonly believed that the materials go through a liquid phase, it is now shown that this may not always be the case.

    • A.V. Kolobov
    • , M. Krbal
    • , P. Fons
    • , J. Tominaga
    •  & T. Uruga
  • Article |

    The kinetics of multivalent interactions at interfaces is poorly understood despite its fundamental importance for (bio)molecular motion and molecular recognition events at biological interfaces. Here, directional spreading of multivalent molecules has been observed, and multiple surface diffusion mechanisms have been identified and dubbed walking, hopping and flying.

    • András Perl
    • , Alberto Gomez-Casado
    • , Damien Thompson
    • , Henk H. Dam
    • , Pascal Jonkheijm
    • , David N. Reinhoudt
    •  & Jurriaan Huskens
  • Article |

    Intermolecular non-polar H···H interactions between polyhedrane molecules may be as attractive as classical hydrogen bonds. A theoretical study identifies the chemical and structural factors that favour such attractive interactions.

    • Jorge Echeverría
    • , Gabriel Aullón
    • , David Danovich
    • , Sason Shaik
    •  & Santiago Alvarez
  • Article |

    Marine bacteria and algae engage in intermittent symbioses mediated by unknown molecular signals. Here, it is shown that a chemical signal, p-coumaric acid, produced by the breakdown of algal lignin, causes the usually symbiotic bacterium Phaeobacter gallaeciensis to produce new metabolites (the roseobacticides) with potent but selective algaecidal activity.

    • Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost
    • , Rebecca J. Case
    • , Roberto Kolter
    •  & Jon Clardy

In Your Element

  • In Your Element |

    Pilar Goya, Nazario Martín and Pascual Román relate how element 74 can be found in lamp filaments or weapon parts and also in literature, and continues to serve many purposes — no matter which of its two names it is given.

    • Pilar Goya
    • , Nazario Martín
    •  & Pascual Román