A taste of our 2013 harvest

A new strategy of photochemical asymmetric catalysis is published in Nature Chemistry

Paolo Melchiorre and his team used light to generate new chiral chemical compounds in high yields with high enantioselectivity. This innovative strategy, published in Nature Chemistry, opens up new avenues for the design of new reactions in the field of photochemistry and asymmetric catalysis.

They have designed the first example of photochemical asymmetric catalysis. in which the catalyst forms a complex capable of absorbing photons, or particles of light, to subsequently react in a controlled and selective way to afford new chemical compounds with well-defined three-dimensional structures.

‘We found a bridge to connect two very powerful fields of molecule activation such as photochemistry and asymmetric organocatalysis’ – pointed out Paolo Melchiorre.

Photochemical activity of a key donor–acceptor complex can drive stereoselective catalytic α-alkylation of aldehydes (http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n9/full/nchem.1727.html)

Elena Arceo, Igor D. Jurberg, Ana Álvarez-Fernández, Paolo Melchiorre

Nature Chemistry 5, 750–756 (2013)

Arjan Kleij’s research collaboration published in Nature Communications

Arjan Kleij’s research team, together with their collaborators in Germany, Portugal and Russia developed a new chemical system whose nanoscopic structure takes inspiration from the biological network of neurons. The system, published in Nature Communications, is formed by nanorings interconnected by nanorods. This network shows an unexpected capability for transmitting electrical information, which makes it an excellent electrically conducting material.

They studied the possibility of using this new chemical system to transfer electrical information. The network was used as a positional template for multiwalled carbon nanotubes. The carbon nanotubes in contact with the system collinearly self-assembled onto the rods and rings in the network generating an electrically conducting material.

This new nano-conducting material has potential direct uses in molecular circuits or more powerful nanoelectronic materials. Interesting opportunities for the use of these systems in different fields, such as sensoring platforms, integrated circuits and composite materials will arise.

Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2648 doi:10.1038/ncomms3648

Urakawa’s team article on recycling CO2 has been highlighted in Science

Science (Issue 6163) includes a highlight on the article published by Urakawa and Bansode on the nearly full conversion of CO2 to methanol. The paper is one of the Editor’s choice of the issue: Pressuring CO2 to React