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Jul 07, 2016

Volume 1Issue 1p1-170
Open Archive
On the Cover: From small building blocks to the largest well-defined molecular capsule. This image depicts the formation of a spherical metal polyhedron with icosidodecachedron geometry through the self-assembly of Pd2+ and a finely tuned flexible ligand. Original structure provided by Fujita and colleagues (see the article on page 91) and cover design by Andrew Tang....
On the Cover: From small building blocks to the largest well-defined molecular capsule. This image depicts the formation of a spherical metal polyhedron with icosidodecachedron geometry through the self-assembly of Pd2+ and a finely tuned flexible ligand. Original structure provided by Fujita and colleagues (see the article on page 91) and cover design by Andrew Tang.

In This Issue


  • Chem-istry Is a Force for Good

    • Dr. Robert D. Eagling
    I would like to welcome you to the first issue of Chem, the newest journal in the Cell Press portfolio and the first in the physical sciences. This significant launch is the culmination of a large team effort over the last few years, and I am excited to have been part of it since September 2015. Before I go into detail about the aims and scope of Chem, I’d like to provide some insight into why we are launching a general chemistry journal.


  • Synthesis in the Chemical Space Age

    • Tim Cernak
    Accessible chemical space is shaped by the reactions used in its exploration, and this affects which molecules are tested. Automation has a role in the future of reaction selection in the search for drugs and other functional molecules.


  • The Molecular Basis of Sustainability

    • Paul T. Anastas,
    • Julie B. Zimmerman
    Professor Paul T. Anastas holds the Teresa and H. John Heinz II Chair in Chemistry for the Environment at Yale University and serves as director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale. He has published widely on the subject of green chemistry and has served in the administration of three US presidents. Professor Julie Zimmerman is an internationally recognized engineer whose work is focused on advancing innovations in sustainable technologies. Dr. Zimmerman is a professor at Yale University and has joint appointments at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Potential Energy

  • Catalyzing Excellence: In a Competitive High-Stakes Research Arena, Can We Be Our Own Catalysts for Success?

    • Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro
    Dr. Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area in California and has recently relocated to the United Kingdom to assume a 3-year Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Research Fellowship in Science in the Department of Chemistry at Durham University. Prior to this, Alyssa received her university training in functional supramolecules and redox/photo-active organic materials first at the University of California, Berkeley (BS, chemistry – biomaterials, 2010), with Prof. Jean Fréchet and then at Northwestern University (PhD, chemistry – organic and materials, 2015) with Prof. Sir Fraser Stoddart, FRS. Alyssa currently sits on Chem’s Next-Generation Advisory Board and is eager to promote early-career scientists, especially women and minorities, and help generate broad research impact in the chemical sciences at the international level.


  • Graphene Nanoribbons via Crystal Engineering

    • Paul J. Evans,
    • Nazario Martín
    In this issue of Chem, Rubin and coworkers have developed a new approach for the bottom-up synthesis of graphene nanoribbons by efficiently combining crystal engineering and topochemical polymerization.
  • That’s No Moon: It’s a Molecular Capsule

    • Ben S. Pilgrim,
    • Jonathan R. Nitschke
    In this issue of Chem, Fujita et al. have produced the largest synthetic self-assembled capsule to date through subtle modification of the flexibility and geometry of its constituent ligands.
  • Hybrid Supercapacitors from Framework Materials

    • Catherine R. DeBlase,
    • William R. Dichtel
    In this issue of Chem, Lou and coworkers report a method of preparing complex CoS-based nanostructures by using a metal-organic framework precursor. This method has allowed them to access both single- and double-shelled hybrid CoS “nanoboxes,” whose charge storage is superior to that of other CoS-containing materials.
  • Storing Information at the Molecular Level: Efficient Synthesis of “Barcode” Polymers

    • Quentin Michaudel,
    • Brett P. Fors
    The ability to synthesize precisely controlled copolymers would prove a critical step toward effective information storage at a molecular level. In this issue of Chem, Lutz and colleagues disclose an efficient synthesis of uniform, sequence-specific polyurethanes and discuss their applications as “molecular barcodes.”
  • Identifying Some Valinomycins for Chloride

    • Jeffery T. Davis
    In this issue of Chem, Gale, Davis, and colleagues discuss how two newly synthesized low-molecular-weight compounds selectively transport chloride (Cl) across liposomal membranes without altering the pH inside the vesicle. One of these compounds also functions similarly in living cells.
  • A “Bottle-able” Phosphinidene

    • Rory Waterman
    Metal stabilization has allowed for the isolation of phosphinidenes (PR) and access to their unique synthetic chemistry, but isolated examples have remained elusive. In this issue of Chem, Bertrand and coworkers demonstrate that this highly reactive fragment is indeed isolable.
  • Hierarchical Pore Structures as Highways for Enzymes and Substrates

    • Mark V. de Ruiter,
    • Raquel Mejia-Ariza,
    • Jeroen J.L.M. Cornelissen,
    • Jurriaan Huskens
    The use of enzymes in chemical reactions needs packaging inside a porous matrix. In this issue of Chem, Farha et al. show that a hierarchical metal-organic framework with large and small pores allows orthogonal access of enzymes and their substrates.


  • Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Biomass: Condensation Reactions and Beyond

    • Lipeng Wu,
    • Takahiko Moteki,
    • Amit A. Gokhale,
    • David W. Flaherty,
    • F. Dean Toste
    Renewable resources and bio-based feedstocks may present a sustainable alternative to petrochemical sources to satisfy modern society's ever-increasing demand for energy and chemicals. However, the conversion processes needed for these future bio-refineries will likely differ from those currently used in the petrochemical industry. This review highlights catalysis-based approaches to accessing biomass-derived platform molecules and the application of catalytic technologies for their conversion into fuels and high-value chemicals.
  • Self-Assembly of Two-Dimensional Nanosheets into One-Dimensional Nanostructures

    • Zhuangchai Lai,
    • Ye Chen,
    • Chaoliang Tan,
    • Xiao Zhang,
    • Hua Zhang
    The past decade has seen rapid development in research on 2D nanomaterials, such as graphene and various transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) nanosheets, which have great potential for applications in electronics and optoelectronics, energy conversion and storage, catalysis, sensors, and biomedicines. The self-assembly of these 2D nanomaterials into 1D nanostructures, which can inherit the numerous advantages of 2D nanomaterials, further extends their applications into more scientific and technological areas.


  • Synthesis of Graphene Nanoribbons via the Topochemical Polymerization and Subsequent Aromatization of a Diacetylene Precursor

    • Robert S. Jordan,
    • Yue Wang,
    • Ryan D. McCurdy,
    • Michael T. Yeung,
    • Kristofer L. Marsh,
    • Saeed I. Khan,
    • Richard B. Kaner,
    • Yves Rubin
    Rubin and colleagues describe the development of a simple, bottom-up synthetic approach to graphene nanoribbons (GNRs). In contrast to current methods, this process requires only two solid-state transformations. The key to this approach is the in-crystal topochemical polymerization of butadiyne-containing monomers to produce the corresponding polydiacetylene polymers. These polymers are subsequently fully aromatized in the solid state to GNRs at relatively mild temperatures.
  • Self-Assembly of M30L60 Icosidodecahedron

    • Daishi Fujita,
    • Yoshihiro Ueda,
    • Sota Sato,
    • Hiroyuki Yokoyama,
    • Nobuhiro Mizuno,
    • Takashi Kumasaka,
    • Makoto Fujita
    Bottom-up construction of giant structures by the self-assembly of a large number of components (n = ∼100) has been a daunting challenge. Here, Fujita and colleagues report the self-assembly of a spherical metal polyhedron, possessing a hitherto unreported icosidodecahedron geometry with 30 vertices and 60 edges. The authors succeeded in controlling the self-assembly by intensive tuning of the ligand flexibility. X-ray crystallographic analysis confirmed that the complex is the largest well-defined spherical molecular capsule, comparable with the size of a typical protein.
  • Construction of Complex CoS Hollow Structures with Enhanced Electrochemical Properties for Hybrid Supercapacitors

    • Han Hu,
    • Bu Yuan Guan,
    • Xiong Wen (David) Lou
    Hu and colleagues have developed a strategy for using metal-organic frameworks to synthesize complex hollow structures of double-shelled CoS hollow nanoboxes with different shell subunits by delicate manipulation of the template-engaged reactions as an advanced battery electrode for hybrid supercapacitors.
  • Chemoselective Synthesis of Uniform Sequence-Coded Polyurethanes and Their Use as Molecular Tags

    • Ufuk Saim Gunay,
    • Benoît Eric Petit,
    • Denise Karamessini,
    • Abdelaziz Al Ouahabi,
    • Jean-Arthur Amalian,
    • Christophe Chendo,
    • Michel Bouquey,
    • Didier Gigmes,
    • Laurence Charles,
    • Jean-François Lutz
    Gunay and colleagues synthesized digitally encoded polyurethanes via a facile orthogonal iterative solid-phase approach. The polymers formed exhibited uniform molecular structure and controlled monomer sequences. Furthermore, these coded polyurethanes were very easy to read by tandem mass spectrometry sequencing. Thus, these polymers can be used as readable molecular labels and therefore open up interesting avenues in product-identification and anti-counterfeiting technologies. For example, sequence-coded polyurethane tags were included in the present work in polystyrene cast films and 3D-printed polymethacrylate sculptures.
  • Nonprotonophoric Electrogenic Cl Transport Mediated by Valinomycin-like Carriers

    • Xin Wu,
    • Luke W. Judd,
    • Ethan N.W. Howe,
    • Anne M. Withecombe,
    • Vanessa Soto-Cerrato,
    • Hongyu Li,
    • Nathalie Busschaert,
    • Hennie Valkenier,
    • Ricardo Pérez-Tomás,
    • David N. Sheppard,
    • Yun-Bao Jiang,
    • Anthony P. Davis,
    • Philip A. Gale
    Synthetic anion transporters can facilitate H+ transport via deprotonation, or OH transport via hydrogen bonding to OH, thus allowing dissipation of transmembrane pH gradients, an undesired side-effect for biomedical applications as Cl ionophores. To address this limitation, Gale and colleagues have developed two anionophores that show high Cl > H+/OH selectivity. Preliminary cellular studies support the biological relevance of the selectivity.
  • A Singlet Phosphinidene Stable at Room Temperature

    • Liu Liu,
    • David A. Ruiz,
    • Dominik Munz,
    • Guy Bertrand
    Discovered more than two decades ago, stable carbenes (R2C) now have a broad range of applications ranging from synthetic chemistry to material and biological sciences. Bertrand and colleagues show that with the right substituents, the phosphorus analogs, namely phosphinidenes (RP), can be isolated at room temperature.
  • Toward Design Rules for Enzyme Immobilization in Hierarchical Mesoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks

    • Peng Li,
    • Justin A. Modica,
    • Ashlee J. Howarth,
    • Ernesto Vargas L.,
    • Peyman Z. Moghadam,
    • Randall Q. Snurr,
    • Milan Mrksich,
    • Joseph T. Hupp,
    • Omar K. Farha
    Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous, crystalline materials comprised of metal nodes and organic linkers. Here, a Zr-based MOF named NU-1000 is used to encapsulate and protect an enzyme. The encapsulation and subsequent protection of enzymes in solid supports is important for the potential industrialization of enzymes as chemical catalysts. NU-1000 is shown to be capable of stabilizing the enzyme under harsh conditions, and in addition, the encapsulated enzyme is shown to maintain full functionality.