NChem Research Highlights: Polymers, magnets and suprabowls

With most of the UK enduring or enjoying a couple of inches of snow, normal Research Highlight service is resumed.

As we’ve known since The Graduate, polymers are the future – especially ones that conduct. But the way that electrons (or excitons to be a bit more accurate) move along polymer chains has always been assumed to be by ‘hopping’ between excited areas. It turns out that they might move more smoothly [the Perspective even says ‘surfing’] and even retain some ‘coherence’.

Metals from the d- and f-blocks are generally pretty different: directional bonding vs diffuse, a range of oxidation states vs stick-in-the-mud 3+, and so on. Compounds that have a metal from both families, therefore, can be pretty interesting – especially magnetically. And that’s just the case for some copper-lanthanide complexes that are (sort of) a trimer of dimers.

Apparently, there was some sort of big sports game thing on Sunday, and it meant Steve could get away with using the word ‘suprabowl’ in his headline. Topical. Anyway, back to the science. The bowls in question are tris(spiroborate)s that form supramolecular polymers with iridium complexes – at room temperature.

And finally…two links that could help improve the way publishing works. One is hosted by the RSC on behalf of a UK funding body (JISC) to understand how you communicate and use information. The other one is to help categorize the comments on PLoS ONE papers. Do your bit for Science 2.0!


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)