NChem Research Highlights: Chiral alcohols, entrapment and nanotube motors

I’m dreaming ofResearch Highlights.

Making tertiary alcohols (ones without any hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon) with controlled chirality is a lot trickier than making other chiral species like secondary alcohols — those methods often rely on the difference in size between hydrogen and the other substituent. But now, using a simple method allows the choice of two achiral reagents to control which enantiomer is formed. And don’t forget to check out the News and Views article that Andy sold his soul so you can read it for FREE (for a week).

Germanium is an element in the no-man’s land of semi-metals between metallic and non-metallic elements, but it’s still not really a metal. And non-metals have rarely been observed as dications without a lot of accompanying ligands. But now dicationic germanium has been trapped inside a cryptand cage and caught with no clothes on. Which is a great amount of effort to go to in order to let Gav use the headline Caught in a trap.

And my prayers have been answered: a paper with supplementary info movies that show what’s going on. So, go and read Tim’s highlight about nanocapsules shuttling up and down inside carbon nanotubes, then watch the videos.

And finally…even though we haven’t published any issues yet, and won’t have an impact factor until about 2011, when we’re out and about we still get asked what we think Nature Chemistry’s magic number will be. Who knows?? Perhaps by then Thompson ISI will be using the corrected impact factor, as suggested by our heroes over at PHD comics.


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)