Ring-closing metathesis lets you (well, organic chemists) make a lot of different sizes of rings, and is tolerant to different functional groups, but it still can’t quite do everything. It’s domination of the world has come a step closer, however, thanks to some fluxional ligands. The catalysts are stereogenic at the metal centre, meaning you (well, organic chemists) can do rapid enantioselective catalysis.
Papers about hydrophobic surfaces often contain great pictures and/or videos of the materials in action (which provides me with another excuse to link to the superhydrophobic desktop hockey video!), but materials that can repel organic species are much rarer. So creating a surface that is repellant to both “oil” and water is pretty impressive. It’s all about the shape of the surface features…
As people’s responses to Question 3 in Reactions interviews are telling us, it’s All About Energy. So understanding how enzymes work – for example oxidising hydrogen – could give us clues on how to produce energy more cleanly. Which is why studying how a model of hydrogen bonding to a di-iron model of an enzyme can reveal the role of electron-donating ligands on the spectator iron.
Did you enter the Dance your PhD thesis competition?? I hope so – you can enjoy the winning entries here.
Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)