19 of the Hottest Research Topics in Chemistry

ACS Publications Virtual Collections

Looking for the hottest topics in chemistry research? Virtual Collections include Virtual Issues, Special Issues and Thematic Collections from ACS Publications journals. These collections reflect important chemistry topics of current scientific interest and are designed for experienced investigators and educators alike.

Enjoy our collections on research topics in chemistry between April and September, 2016.

Recent Advances in Atomic Layer Deposition

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Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a powerful technique for fabricating atomically precise coatings on a variety of surfaces, with sub-nanometer precision in both film thickness and composition. Read more.

Thermoelectric Materials


The escalating demand for alternative, clean energy sources requires the development of new and effective materials for energy recovery, conversion, storage, and transfer. Thermoelectric (TE) materials convert heat into electrical energy and vice versa and, as such, are promising materials for waste heat reduction or recovery. Read more.

Legacy of Richard Heck

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On October 10th, 2015, Professor Richard F. Heck, 2010 Nobel Laureate and discoverer of the palladium-catalyzed transformation that bears his name, passed away at the age of 84. For those involved in the field of chemistry, and in particular those who study organometallics and the interface of organic and inorganic chemistry, we lost one of the great pioneers of our times. Read more.

Enhanced Performance Separations: Smaller, Faster, More Complex Samples


Much of analytical separations based research is focused on developing instrumentation and techniques with enhanced capabilities. There is constant pressure to develop methods that are faster, more sensitive, more selective, can handle ever smaller samples and can do this in adverse conditions and in the presence of complex matrices. Read more.

Catalysis at U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories

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This Virtual Special Issue of ACS Catalysis highlights “Catalysis at U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories,” covering a wide range of research topics in heterogeneous catalysis, homogeneous/molecular catalysis, electrocatalysis, and surface science. Read more.

Environmental Nanotoxicology

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The field of nanotechnology has expanded rapidly, entering sectors that impact all aspects of our lives. In spite of this, the general consensus among the scientific community is that our understanding of the fate and effects of engineered nanomaterials is currently inadequate to accurately assess risk. Nanotoxicology has evolved as the discipline to fill in critical gaps in understanding of the potential adverse effects of nanomaterials. Read more.

Bioconjugates for Chemical Biology

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here is a strong intellectual connection between bioconjugate chemistry and chemical biology. Both research areas use the tools of chemistry to exploit biological processes for desired purposes (e.g., drug delivery) and explore the frontiers of biology. Read more.

Best Practices for Reporting the Properties of Materials and Devices

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Writing up your research accomplishments for publication represents the culmination of many months, or years, of effort, often by many people, on a project. Publishing is the currency of science, but results that are interesting in and of themselves are insufficient for publication – the data and analyses need to be convincing to the reader with respect to their soundness and substance. Read more.

Nanoreactors: Small Spaces, Big Implications in Chemistry

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In recent years, chemists have worked to understand how fundamental chemical principles change when systems are confined to spaces with nanoscale dimensions or sub-microliter volumes. These so-called “nanoreactors” change the basic chemical nature of molecules and moieties within them, and alter how they behave in chemical reactions. Read more.

Behavioral Research in Chemical Neuroscience

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The field of behavioral neuroscience aims to unravel the neural mechanisms governing the cognitive, emotional, and sensory functions that comprise human and animal behavior. Fundamentally, chemical signaling underlies the manifestation of behavior, as well as behavioral dysfunction arising from neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders, and addiction. Read more.

Atmospheric Physical Chemistry

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This collection contains 25 papers published in the Atmospheric Chemistry section of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A (JPC A) since 2013. The vision is that this collection will be useful for generating new ideas, pushing existing boundaries, and motivating new research in atmospheric chemistry. Read more.

Invited Papers from ACS Boston


This Virtual Special Issue is devoted to papers from authors who made outstanding presentations at the 250th ACS National Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. We asked session chairs and symposia organizers within a few divisions that align with I&EC Research subject areas to identify the best presentation from their session. Read more.

Enzymology in Chemical Toxicology Beyond P450s

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Over the years, Chemical Research in Toxicology (CRT) has published numerous papers on the metabolic activation and detoxication of many toxicants and their mechanisms of action. This Virtual Issue features a collection of manuscripts that are concerned with the roles of non-P450 enzymes and other proteins in toxicology that were published within the past two years. Read more.

Margaret C. (Peggy) Etter Virtual Memorial Issue

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2017 will mark a quarter of a century since the premature death of Margaret C. (Peggy) Etter at the age of 48. She became a scientist during the 1960s renaissance of organic state chemistry pioneered by Gerhard Schmidt and Mendel Cohen at the Weizmann Institute in Israel and David Curtin and Iain Paul at the University of Illinois. Read more.

Catalysis in The Netherlands

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This Virtual Special Issue of ACS Catalysis highlights “Catalysis in The Netherlands,” a leading country in catalysis research. Several factors make this country unique: (i) the large chemical ‘ecosystem’ in the region, (ii) the nature of collaborative work, and (iii) the tradition of research schools established within large-scale R&D groups at Dutch universities. Read more.

Process Intensification

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This Virtual Issue is devoted to the topic of process intensification. We collected articles published recently in this important area of research, which aims to make unit operations such as heat transfer, reaction, separation, or mixing more efficient. Read more.

Classics in Chemical Neuroscience

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In 2013, ACS Chemical Neuroscience initiated the “Classics in Chemical Neuroscience” review series. Each review in this unique installment describes a significant pharmacological advance in CNS-related disorders, detailing the development, chemistry, and mechanism of action of CNS agents. Read more.

In Memory of Ahmed Zewail

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This collection serves as a memorial to Ahmed Zewail, the father of Femtochemistry, who passed away on August 2, 2016. It contains 25 papers published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry (including parts A, B and C) by Zewail and his collaborators during the 1984-2007 period including papers that highlight Zewail’s development of femtosecond pump/probe and ultrafast electron diffraction experiments as well as the transition from gas phase isolated molecule studies, to dynamics in clusters, and then to ultrafast processes in liquids and in biological systems. Read more.

Adverse Outcome Pathways

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Environmental toxicologists supporting risk assessments of human or ecological health are responsible for generating data for possible adverse effects of a rapidly increasing number of substances. New approaches in systems biology and systems toxicology aim to computationally reconstruct core components of molecular, cellular and organ level networks that are responsible for normal functions or adverse outcomes due to chemical exposure. Read more.