Featured Journal: Nature Chemistry


This is the first of a series of featured journals, where I select a particular journal from the world of the chemical sciences, highlighting its impact and some of the key research being published within it right now. I aim to bring to light research that you might not be aware of, as well as bringing both well and lesser known journals to your attention.

Today, I thought I’d start with one of the biggies, and will discuss one of the major chemistry journals right now – Nature Chemistry. With an impact factor of 21.757, it’s one you should have definitely heard of!

A journal spanning all areas of chemistry, Nature Chemistry publishes only high-impact, high-quality work. It aims to publish research on the very cutting edge of chemistry, and also encourages inter-disciplinary work where chemistry joins with biology, materials science, nanotechnology and physics.

Published monthly, Nature Chemistry doesn’t only contain primary research; it also features news, comments, reviews, etc, describing itself as aiming to be “the voice of the worldwide chemistry community”.

You can view the latest issue of Nature Chemistry online here. Of course, you’ll have to be subscribed to view all of the content, but some articles are available for free, and most good university chemistry departments will have a subscription.

In Nature Chemistry today:


“A grossly warped nanographene and the consequences of multiple odd-membered ring defects”

This is one for all you nanocarbon fans! If you’re interested in fullerenes, graphene, nanotubes and the like, you’ll be interested in how the incorporation of seven- and five-membered rings produce a severely warped structure very different to the planar structure we’re used to seeing in graphene. The change in conformation greatly affects the solubility and properties of the structure, and is conveniently synthesised in two steps. Furthermore, this is the largest polyaromatic hydrocarbon, other than fullerenes, to be characterised by X-ray crystallography.

“Catalyst recognition of cis-1,2-diols enables site-selective functionalization of complex molecules”


Biologically significant molecules such as carbohydrates are inherently complex, and nature has developed its own enzymes to specifically synthesise and alter these molecules. In this article, nitrogen-containing chiral synthetic catalysts have been employed to target 1,2-diols in complex molecules and so selectively functionalise complex molecules. This is very sophisticated organic chemistry, where reversible covalent bonds are utilised to target specific functional groups. This is cutting edge organic chemistry, and shows the route from careful catalytic design to successfully modifying complex, biologically-relevant molecules.


“In your element: recalling radon’s recognition”


A nice little article by Brett F. Thornton and Shawn C. Burdette about the history and many names of radon, one of the lesser known group 18 elements. Spanning just one page of the September issue of Nature Chemistry, this gives the reader a concise overview of element 86, focusing particularly on how it and its isotopes were named. Interesting stuff!

“Mechanochemical strengthening of a synthetic polymer in response to typically destructive shear forces”

This is very interesting research, where polybutadiene has been functionalised with dibromocyclopropane, allowing it to undergo mechanochemical reactions under shear force. Sheer force and mechanical stress during a polymer’s use would normally be destructive and cause the material to break down, but in this case it allows for an in situ nucleophillic addition cross-linking to take place, actually strengthening the material further. This could have massive implications for the use of such materials, as they are able to remodel themselves as a function of their environment.

If you’re interested in finding out about real cutting-edge chemistry research from the highest quality academic groups, Nature Chemistry is a journal you should definitely be keeping up with.  Covering the entire breadth of chemistry, it always makes for a fresh and interesting read, with science that you just can’t find in lower impact journals.


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