16 of the Most Engaging Topics in Chemistry

ACS Publications regularly produces Virtual Collections of the most important research topics in chemistry research, including Special Issues and ACS Selects from across the portfolio journals. These collections reflect topics of current scientific interest and are designed for experienced investigators and educators alike.
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New Physical Insights


In this virtual issue, The Journal of Physical Chemistry (JPC), including JPC ABC, provides links to and an overview of the 21 Viewpoint articles that appeared in 2017 concerning the requirement of Important New Physical Insights in papers that are to be published in JPC. The Viewpoints cover many different subdisciplines in physical chemistry research, and the overview identifies common themes while also discussing unique aspects of these subdisciplines.
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Recent Advances in Connecting Structure, Dynamics, and Function of Biomolecules by NMR


The topic of this virtual special issue from The Journal of Physical Chemistry B is recent advances in solid-state NMR spectroscopy of biomolecules following up on an international conference that was held at the University of Michigan on April 16-17, 2016. Solid-state NMR methods that connect structure, dynamics and function of biomolecules were highlighted at the conference. Collectively, the papers included in this virtual special issue reflect the conference theme and illustrate the significance of solid-state NMR studies in providing important molecular-level structural and dynamic information across a range of different biomolecules.
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Microplastics in the aquatic environment


Microplastics are a new and emerging contaminant. Extensive research has been conducted to understand the occurrence and fate of microplastics in the environment, especially in aquatic environments. Therefore, Environmental Science & Technology and Environmental Science & Technology Letters have organized a virtual issue highlighting recent articles related to microplastics in aquatic environments.
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Total Synthesis of Natural Products


This ACS Select Virtual Issue showcases a snapshot of the beautiful work in total synthesis of complex natural products published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, The Journal of Organic Chemistry, and Organic Letters. The articles and letters are representative of the modern ideals of total synthesis, from striking new strategies and methods applied to complex problems to the powerful application of modern techniques to provide materials of functional importance.
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Coherence in Chemistry and Biophysics


Quantum mechanical coherence in unusual to find in chemistry and biology because it often is fragile with respect to disorder and noise. Recently experiments have been developed that can set up coherence and probe its evolution in complex systems. As a result, there have been numerous reports on the subject, many of them found in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
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Analytical Technologies to Improve Human Health


Implementation of new technologies that allow accurate and rapid assessment and diagnosis of human health conditions is highly desirable to guide treatment strategies and improve patient care. This virtual issue from Analytical Chemistry highlights manuscripts describing exciting developments in analytical technologies that provide creative solutions to ongoing challenges in human health and clinical diagnosis of diseases. The studies highlighted employ infrared spectroscopy, Raman microscopy, electrochemistry, mass spectrometry and other measurement methods for the detection of Zika virus, bacteria, diagnosis of cancer, diabetes and other diseases. The papers selected have shown feasibility using clinical and/or human samples, and improved adaptability of the assay for easier incorporation into patient care and clinical workflows.
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Quantitative Sustainability Metrics


ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering is pleased to publish this virtual special issue, which showcases the journal’s commitment to sustainability metrics. The VSI contains contributions from well-known authors in the field and addresses diverse topics that include a compilation of the vocabulary of sustainability metrics, the evolution of the use of such metrics, in silico tools for predictive toxicology, the role of life cycle analysis in sustainable design, and specific examples of process/product design using such metrics. Collectively, these articles represent applications of sustainability metrics in diverse industry sectors including commodity chemicals, renewable fuels, pharma, specialty chemicals, and personal care products.
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Perovskite Nanocrystals


The recent success of metal halide perovskites in solar cells has generated a frenzy of research centered on these once-overlooked semiconductors. A pair of key questions naturally arise: how will the nanocrystal version of these materials behave, and what can we do with them? Since the 1980s, the synthetic achievement of nanocrystals with defined shape, size, and surface chemistry has enabled new optoelectronic properties for a variety of applications, including displays, solar cells, photodetectors, single-photon sources, and fluorescence imaging. This virtual issue from Nano Letters, collated by Sarah Brittman and Jingshan Luo, highlights the significant progress made in recent years in perovskite nanocrystals.
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Time-Resolved Vibrational Spectroscopy


The collection of papers in this special issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A are representative of the work presented at the 18th TRVS conference held In Cambridge, UK in July 2017. The work presented at the conference described experimental and theoretical investigations of systems varying from solid state materials to intact cells. New dynamical experiments were described and applications of novel Raman and IR vibrational spectroscopies were demonstrated.
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Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Research at Peking University


Peking University is one of the most esteemed universities in China and is among the top research universities in the world. On May 4, 2018, Peking University will celebrate its 120 year anniversary. In this Virtual Issue, ACS Nano joins the celebration by featuring select papers published in ACS Nano by researchers from Peking University.
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Macromolecules 50th Anniversary Perspective Series


As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Macromolecules in 2017, the journal commissioned a series of Perspectives on important contemporary topics in polymer science from leaders in the field that covers a very wide swath of polymer science. Topics range from blends to block polymers, membranes to multilayers, networks to nanocomposites, and the series integrates synthesis, characterization, properties, applications, theory, and modeling. Given the attention these Perspectives have received from the community, this virtual issue collects all 24 of these Perspectives in one place for ready access to those seeking to learn about a wide variety of topics from the experts in polymer science. Along with the Perspectives, also included is the editorial by Professor Tim Lodge to mark this milestone anniversary.
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Spotlight on China: 9th Global Chinese Chemical Engineers Symposium


This Virtual Special Issue was organized to place a spotlight on cutting-edge research by Chinese scientists and engineers. Initiated from the 9th Global Chinese Chemical Engineers Symposium (GCCES, Hangzhou, China),  Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (I&EC Research) published these articles about recent advancements in molecular engineering and transfer phenomena, catalysis and reaction engineering, process intensification, separations, and environmental materials and engineering.
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Undergraduate Research: Contributions To Organometallic Chemistry


This Virtual Issue features 24 organometallic chemistry papers from research groups at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) published in four core journals from 2014-2018: Organometallics, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Letters, and The Journal of Organic Chemistry. The PUI researchers featured here represent a broad spectrum of institutions across the U.S. and Canada, career levels of faculty, and areas of interest. But they all share the common purpose of the pursuit of high-quality research with undergraduates. These reports span the gamut of approaches to organometallic chemistry, ranging from solely computational work to stoichiometric synthetic studies to metal-catalyzed transformations. Topical areas of focus are also incredibly diverse, tapping into coordination chemistry, electrocatalysis/electrochemistry, main-group studies, materials science, and small-molecule activation. It’s clear from these highlighted reports that PUI researchers strive to maintain a presence in emerging frontier areas of organometallic research.
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Plasmons for Energy Conversion


The surface plasmon phenomenon of metal nanoparticles has remained an active area of research in nanoscience. Of particular current interest is its role in influencing energy conversion processes. The fundamental aspects of plasmonic (Au, Ag, or Al) nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes have been extensively investigated to understand their role in light energy harvesting assemblies, catalysis, photocatalysis, and solar cells. Of particular interest is the electric field created by plasmons at the surface under selective excitation with photons, which significantly enhances the performance of catalytic or photoinduced processes. This virtual issue is a collection of Perspectives, Reviews, and research articles published in ACS Energy Letters, The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, and The Journal of American Chemical Society that highlight recent developments in employing plasmons for energy harvesting. The papers included in this virtual issue cover key topics ranging from fundamental aspects of plasmon dynamics to the use of plasmons to increase the performance of photovoltaic solar cells and solar fuels generation.
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Systems Analysis, Design, and Optimization for Sustainability


This Virtual Special Issue was organized by ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering to highlight recent advancementson systems analysis, design and optimization methodologies for sustainable chemistry and engineering applications. The collection of articles cover avariety of topics on systems approach to multi-scale sustainable chemistry and engineering systems that range from molecular design, to energy integration and process design, and to life cycle optimization, as well as applications in the fields of CO2 capture and separation, shale gas, water treatment, transportation electrification, nationwide energy infrastructure and ecosystem services.
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Extracting More Information Using Less


Topics presented at the 2017 ISCC and GC × GC symposia and published in Analytical Chemistry in 2017 through May 2018 are featured in this virtual issue. The emphasis on separations (e.g., LC, CE, GC, ion mobility, chips, etc.) and mass spectrometry is apparent, as is the coupling of two or more of these techniques. Enhanced performance has come from altering and improving instruments or parts of instruments, novel coupling strategies, data treatment, and sample preparations. The enhanced capabilities of newly developed techniques are demonstrated with the analysis of a variety of intransigent difficult and complex samples. The net result is a more rapid production of data and perhaps, more importantly, the effective extraction of useful information from such data.

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