16 Innovative Research Topics in Chemistry

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

Read Innovative Chemistry Research Topics from Q4 2017:

Engineered Biomolecular Catalysts

Chemists have long been inspired by the exquisite selectivity and efficiency of biomolecular catalysts. In recent years, many advances have been made for the production and use of biomolecular catalysts for a range of applications across many areas of chemistry. This ACS Select collection highlights recent publications from the Journal of the American Chemical Society, ACS Catalysis, and Inorganic Chemistry that showcase the latest groundbreaking research in this field. This collection illustrates the great promise of biomolecular catalysts and the diverse range of applications and technologies in this flourishing area of chemistry.

Environmental and Human Impacts of Unconventional Energy Development

The rise of the “shale revolution” at the beginning of the 21st century triggered a hotly contested public debate as to whether the economic benefits of extraction of natural gas and oil from unconventional resources (unconventional oil & gas; UO&G) such as deep shale plays outweigh the environmental and health risks. Benefits are purported to include an expanded energy portfolio and reduced climate forcing through greater availability of natural gas, whose combustion emits less carbon dioxide and other air pollutants than for coal. Risks are purported to include increased climate forcing as a result of fugitive methane emissions, localized air and water pollution, and ecological and community impacts.

Air Pollution in Rapidly Industrializing Countries

While severe air pollution is now uncommon in North America and Western Europe, many industrializing countries still experience significant air quality concerns. Extensive environmental research has been conducted on the sources and formation of air pollution in over the past five decades, and air pollution has been successfully controlled in places where policies and pollution control devices have been adopted as a result of the research. Industrializing nations face unique and evolving challenges related to air pollution. Therefore, Environmental Science & Technology  and Environmental Science & Technology Letters have organized a Virtual Issue that highlights recent advances in the following areas as they pertain specifically to rapidly industrializing countries:

  • Measuring Air Pollution
  • Mechanisms of Air Pollution Chemistry
  • Health Impacts of Air Pollution
  • Modeling Air Pollution
  • Air Pollution Source Apportionment


Nanotechnology Day 2017 

This year we celebrate the second annual National Nanotechnology Day, an initiative led by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, to raise awareness of the prominent role nanoscience plays in our daily lives. From handheld electronic devices to the latest developments in medicine, food, and energy applications, nanotechnology continuously proves to be central to our society. This virtual issue highlights some of the most recent groundbreaking developments in the nano world. We are thrilled to share with you articles from 40 of our journals representing nano research from all over the world.

Innovative Polymers for Controlled Release Applications

The concept of personalized medicine and healthcare has spurred enormous research and development of molecular diagnosis and therapy for various diseases. It has been found that many symptoms including cancers are related to one or more DNA, RNA, or protein mutations, which vary from patient to patient. Better understanding of the molecular basis of diseases has led to novel treatment modalities that selectively target the mutations.

Progress in Top-Down Control of Bottom-Up Assembly

In nanoscience, the ability to make new structures enables new science and technology. The ways nanomaterials are made can be classified according to what determines the final structure of the material. Specifically, top-down approaches are those in which the sample is effectively a blank canvas and an external stimuli is used to write patterns. In contrast, bottom-up approaches are those in which the final structure is encoded in the material itself and the precursors self-assemble into the desired arrangement. In recent years, there has been great progress in the convergence of these ideas, where top-down control is used to guide bottom-up processes. A unifying theme of these approaches is that the components form into a desired configuration by randomly interacting in a thermodynamic landscape that the experimenter can locally adjust. Materials made using these methods have formed the basis for advances in fields spanning photonics, electronics, and mechanics.

Sustainable Ammonia Production

This Virtual Special Issue was organized in an effort to report recent advancements on sustainable NH3 production ranging from conceptually new ammonia synthesis methods using photocatalysis and electrochemistry to the techno-economic assessment of ammonia as a fuel vector. The current “Sustainable Ammonia Production” VSI collection features perspectives and original research articles from a diverse set of experts in their fields. We hope that this VSI will stimulate and foster further developments in the area of sustainable NH3 production, improving the sustainability of food supply and energy management.

Virtual Issue in Honor of the 150th Birthday of Marie Curie: Highlighting Female Physical Chemists

This collection of papers and the accompanying editorial is in honor of the 150th birthday of Marie Curie, as well as highlighting the science and publications by 66 women scientists and researchers who have published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry (JPC), including JPC A, B, C and Letters. Included in the editorial is information about the history of papers authored by women, beginning with Marie Curie, and it also identifies women who have contributed to JPC as editors, as EAB members, who have received awards from JPC, and who have been recognized in Special Issues.

Self-Assembly & Polymer Research

Self-assembly is a process where a disordered system becomes an organized structure or pattern due to the local interaction within the system without external support. Polymers are a great example of where this type of process might be found. In this, the tenth of our 10th Anniversary Virtual Issues, ACS Nano celebrates 10 years of publishing research in the area of self-assembly and polymer research.

Nanodevices and Lithography Research

Lithography is a branch nanotechnology that focuses on the study and application of making nanoscale patterns. This method is used in the fabrication of nanodevices that are used in nanomedicine, energy storage, optoelectronic devices and many more. In this, the ninth of our 10th Anniversary Virtual Issues, ACS Nano celebrates 10 years of publishing research in the area of nanodevices and lithography research.

Nanophotonics Research

Nanophotonics is a field that looks at how light behaves and how it interacts with objects on the nanoscale. This field is covers the interaction of photons with materials such as carbon nano-tubes, nano crystals, tissue, DNA and much more. In this, the eighth of our 10th Anniversary Virtual Issues, ACS Nano celebrates 10 years of publishing research in the area of nanophotonics.

From Design to Discovery: Recent Cancer Patents

The scourge of cancer remains a major unmet medical issue, despite decades of research. Our understanding of this collection of diseases has evolved over the last several decades, and the 5 year survival rate for many cancers has improved dramatically. There are, however, many types of cancer that remain difficult to treat. The industrial and academic research communities are continuing their efforts to develop novel therapies, and the patent landscape of novel molecules focused on a diverse array of biological targets clearly demonstrates the intense interest in this area. The following collection of patent highlights was selected by our guest editor, Dr. Benjamin E Blass, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Temple University School of Pharmacy. We hope that this virtual issue will encourage medicinal chemists currently working to develop novel therapies for cancer, as well as inspire new researchers to take up the challenge of cancer drug discovery.

Chiral Nanostructure Research

Chirality of nanoparticles and superstructures describes the fact that their geometry may not be superimposable with their mirror image. This seemingly simple property has unifying importance for physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and medicine. Perhaps for this reason chirality of nanomaterials represents one of the most rapidly expanding fields of science. While being rooted in the earlier studies of chiral surfaces and supramolecular assemblies, the emergence of this field of nanoscience was catalyzed by the discovery of intense polarization rotation in individual nanoparticles and their assemblies. A large variety of chiral nanostructures have been synthesized, often with high enantioselectivity. Their geometries – as you will see in the selection of the papers below – include tetrahedral, helical, twisted ribbons/sheets, angled nanorods, and others. Most of the work on nanoscale chiral nanomaterials has been devoted to noble metals giving rise to a variety of chiroplasmonic nanostructures. Group II-VI semiconductor NPs represents chiroexcitonic systems. Chiral forms of nanocarbon obtained by chiral separation or direct enantioselective synthesis can reveal both. The front runners of technological implementations of chiral inorganic structures are biosensing, chiral photonics, and chiral catalysis. In the next few years one could expect implementations of chiral inorganic nanostructures in information technologies, medicine, and, perhaps answering some of the long-standing questions about life’s homochirality. In this, the seventh of our 10th Anniversary Virtual Issues, ACS Nano celebrates 10 years of publishing research in the area of catalysis.

Novel Catalytic Materials for Energy and the Environment

Catalytic materials are at the heart of exciting discoveries in the fields of energy and the environment. In this virtual special issue, we highlight the work of presenters in the Materials Research Society 2017 Spring symposium entitled “Novel Catalytic Materials for Energy and Environment”. It captures research in the fields of water splitting, CO2 reduction, CO oxidation, biomass conversion and organic methods.

Crystal Growth of Organic Materials

This virtual issue features some selected papers taken from the 12th International Workshop on the Crystal Growth of Organic Materials (CGOM12) which was held in Leeds (UK) in 2016. CGOM12 was organized in association with BACG 2016 (British Association for Crystal Growth) by Professors Kevin Roberts and Tariq Mahmud from the University of Leeds and attracted 197 attendees including 78 overseas delegates from 19 countries.

Celebrating Organic and Inorganic Chemistry Published by Authors in India

Chemists in India are increasingly publishing cutting-edge organic and inorganic chemistry research, as evidenced by the substantial growth in submissions from authors in India over the last decade (up 173%) across five ACS Publications journals within the organic/inorganic portfolio ( ACS Catalysis, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Letters Organometallics, The Journal of Organic Chemistry). In 2016, research from scientists in India accounted for 6.2% of all papers published in these five journals. Among the Associate Editors and Editorial Board members for these journals are ten researchers based in India.

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