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Call for Papers: Lattice Dynamics

Crystal lattice dynamics impact a wide range of bulk physical properties, from thermal expansion to superconductivity. While the relationship between lattice structure and crystal properties is a well-established area of study, the role of specific vibrational motions on crucial condensed phase properties has only recently been uncovered. This discovery has opened up new and exciting areas of research, including phase transformations, mechanical and thermomechanical responses, charge carrier dynamics, and gas adsorption in porous crystals. The dynamic lattice plays a profound role in dictating both the equilibrium properties of materials as well as their response to external stimuli. 

Lattice dynamics occur across a large frequency range and involve a variety of vibrational modes that are often interconnected. This complexity requires new experimental tools to probe the lattice dynamics and, from a theoretical perspective, there exists significant opportunity to understand the properties of crystals through the lens of atomic and molecular dynamics.

This Virtual Special Issue of Crystal Growth & Design seeks to highlight this critical area of condensed phase study and to showcase cutting-edge work and applications involving crystalline dynamics.

Topics in this Virtual Special Issue will include, but are not limited to:

  • Spectroscopy (e.g., vibrational, electronic, and dielectric)
  • Salient crystals
  • Thermal properties (e.g., negative thermal expansion)
  • Polymorphism
  • Flexible and dynamic framework structures (e.g., MOFs and COFs)
  • Photomechanical processes
  • Electron-phonon coupling
  • Mechanical properties (e.g., plasticity, elasticity, ferroelasticity, superelasticity)
  • Solid-state reactivity (e.g., topochemical reactions)
  • Crystals in extreme conditions
  • Diffusion phenomena (e.g., self-healing crystals)
  • Molecular machines

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

  • Professor Jonathan W. Steed, Durham University (United Kingdom)

GUEST EDITORS

  • Prof. Christopher J. Bardeen, University of California, Riverside
  • Dr. Luca Catalano, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • Prof. Kristin M. Hutchins, Texas Tech University
  • Prof. Michael T. Ruggiero, University of Vermont

SUBMISSION DEADLINE

  • June 1, 2023

AUTHOR INSTRUCTIONS

To submit your manuscript, visit the Crystal Growth & Design website. Please follow the procedures for manuscript submission and, in the ACS Paragon Plus submission site, select the special issue “Lattice Dynamics.” All manuscripts will undergo rigorous editorial peer review. For additional submission instructions, please see the Crystal Growth & Design Author Guidelines.

Submit your manuscript by June 1, 2023.

View Submission Guidelines

Submit Your Manuscript

Understanding Environmental Challenges and a Sustainable Way Forward

As the world’s largest society of scientists, the American Chemical Society (ACS) recognizes the importance of chemistry and allied sciences in improving people’s lives and ensuring the well-being of the planet. ACS is committed to supporting its members and working with partners to address global sustainability challenges.

Environment and Sustainability Event Group Photo

Staying true to our commitment, ACS organized a “Glocal” event in New Delhi, India in association with the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, and Delhi Technological UniversityACS Student Chapter. The event provided a platform for multiple stakeholders including established professors, young scientists, and students to discuss several pertinent environmental and sustainability issues.

Environment and Sustainability Event Booth

The event featured two panel discussions, eight keynote lectures, and 24 lightning talks covering several topics on the Water-Energy-Food-Climate Nexus, with emphasis on current environmental challenges, sustainable mitigation measures, and technological development strategies.

Over three days, the event was attended by students, faculties, and industry representatives from across India. The panel discussions and keynote lectures featured ACS Editors and high-profile researchers from India, namely:

Environment and Sustainability Event - ACS Journals Presentation

In the inaugural session, Prof. Ram Ramaswamy (Former Vice-president; INSA) recognized the ongoing event as an impactful platform and urged the organizers to publish the conclusions/key messages in a tangible form accessible to the broader scientific community.

Prof. Satish Patil, co-convenor of the event, provided a glimpse of the various nexuses between different research fields and why collaborative work is paramount in solving the key challenges plaguing human civilization. Dr. Daniel Kulp (Senior Director, Research Integrity and Global Developments at ACS) gave an overview of ‘ACS Publications – Beyond Chemistry’ and highlighted new journal launches and Open Science at ACS.

The concluding remarks by Dr. Deeksha Gupta, (Senior Associate Director, India Strategy & Operations) covered some of the key programs undertaken by the society like the ACS Campaign for a Sustainable Future: The Zero Hunger Summit and the Foundations of Chemical Safety & Risk Management course.

Environment And Sustainability Event - Panel Discussion

The panel discussions were centered around two key areas—the first highlighted groundwater pollution and technologies to ensure water security, and the second focused on the water-energy-food-climate nexus.

The Keynote Lectures and Lightning talks covered diverse topics in the field of environment and sustainability, including severe air pollution; water quality degradation; loss of biodiversity; lack of waste management; clean energy; geogenic/anthropogenic contaminants in the groundwater; depletion of resources (land, air, water); and net zero and low-cost hydrogen generation from green sources. Additionally, several state-of-the-art mitigation measures were also discussed, including AI/ML-based tools to predict pollution/severe events.

The Lightning Talks were delivered by Early Career Researchers from 27 institutes, covering 11 states across India. This ensured a diverse pool of speakers highlighting the various regional environmental challenges and opportunities.

Call for Papers: Special Issues

The Environmental Science & Technology journal portfolio was highlighted during the conference, and the editors shared valuable insights on each journal’s scope and expectations. Learn more about the open call for submissions to thematic Special Issues in these journals:

Data Science for Advancing Environmental Science, Engineering, and Technology
Environmental Science & Technology, Environmental Science & Technology Letters
Submission Deadline: January 12, 2023

Resource Recovery and Recycling from Water Streams: Advanced Membrane Technologies and Case Studies
ACS ES&T Water
Submission Deadline: January 17, 2023

Oxidative Water Treatment: The Track Ahead
Environmental Science & Technology
Submission Deadline: January 31, 2023

Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Analytics in Water Environments
ACS ES&T Water
Submission Deadline: March 31, 2023

Quotes and Unsolicited Testimonials

“We Science vs Me Science. We are in this for the species – public health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services” – Prof. Bryan Brooks, EiC, ES&T Letters

A lot of good work has been done [presented] by multiple speakers, some of which could have featured in ES&T. Similar problems exist around the world and the solutions you are working on here [India] are transferable to other regions of the world.” – Prof. Greg Lowry, EE, ES&T

The future of the world rests in the hands of India. We have the potential to make an immense contribution.” – Prof. Wonyong Choi, EiC, ACS ES&T Engineering

Thanks to the ACS team for the invitation and excellent hospitality provided at INSA. It was wonderful to engage with ACS and other researchers from the environment and sustainability domain. It is very helpful for me and hopefully will lead to some collaborations in near future.” – Prof. Sanyasi Naidu, INST Mohali

It was a sheer pleasure to be part of this panel where a high level of learning instantly happened through exhaustive brainstorming. Thank you, American Chemical Society.”– Prof. Manish Kumar, UPES Dehradun

Happy to be part of excellent discussions and talks at the event and met diverse researchers in the domain of Environment and Sustainability.” – Prof. Ramesh Gardas, IIT Madras

A pleasant experience attending the Environment and Sustainability Event organized by the ACS at INSA. It was fascinating to meet the Editors from the ES&T journals and discuss the latest developments closely. I am sure the connections we developed during this event will be long-lasting and exciting.” – Prof. Mohit Prakash Mohanty, IIT Roorkee

Sodium: Leading the Charge Toward Better Batteries

Society is moving toward smart electronics that require flexibility, resilience, and safety—and most importantly, a sustainable and cost-effective way to keep them running. Several recent studies have demonstrated the potential for sodium-ion batteries to one day be a practical, cheaper replacement for current lithium-ion technology.

The Lithium Problem

Batteries are everywhere. From toothbrushes to cars, batteries are responsible for powering many of the devices that help us go about our daily lives without constantly needing to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. If you are currently using a laptop or portable device, there’s a likely chance you are reading this post thanks to battery power.

Over the past several decades, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have come to dominate the rechargeable battery industry and are now the go-to power source for the majority of portable electronic devices and gadgets. LIBs far outperform other rechargeable alternatives due to their high energy density, ability to hold a charge over long periods of time, and resilience to frequent charge cycles.1

As beneficial as they are, lithium-ion batteries also come with significant drawbacks that may hinder long-term production and applications. The limited availability of lithium, cobalt, and other raw materials cannot meet the growing global demand for lithium-ion technology—and the extraction process is costly, hazardous, and environmentally detrimental. Furthermore, despite LIBs being generally safe, they are still susceptible to overheating—or in some cases, exploding—if exposed to certain conditions.

But now, new studies aim to identify viable lithium-free battery alternatives in hopes of establishing cheaper, safer, and more environmentally sustainable options for powering our devices in the future—and a number of researchers have developed a particular interest in sodium-ion technology as a potential replacement.2

Advantages and Challenges of Sodium-Ion Technology

Sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) offer several key advantages compared to their lithium-ion counterparts. In terms of raw material availability, sodium is the clear winner. It is at least one thousand times more abundant in the earth’s crust than lithium and much cheaper to obtain. 3 It can also be extracted through more environmentally friendly processes such as seawater desalination.

Despite these advantages, there are still significant hurdles in the way of more widespread, practical SIB applications. One challenge involves the limitations of sodium-based layered transition metal oxides (TMOs) as cathode materials—notably, lower specific capacity and energy density resulting from a more convoluted charge-discharge cycle.4

One recent study explores anionic redox reaction (ARR) as a favorable method to boost capacity and improve the overall performance of SIB cathode materials. Although ARR-based cathode materials are encouraging for greater storage capacity, other challenges still remain, and more research is necessary to fully understand the fundamental chemistry of ARR before it can be successfully applied within SIB technology.4

In addition to lower specific capacity and energy density compared to LIBs, liquid SIBs are susceptible to an array of safety hazards that have severely hindered future developments and progress toward commercialization. Researchers have proposed solid-state sodium metal batteries (SSMBs) as suitable alternatives due to their improved energy density, lower cost, and high stability. However, their solid-state electrolyte (SSE) components often demonstrate low ionic conductivity and various interfacial compatibility challenges, which can ultimately impede electrochemical performance.5

With these challenges in mind, sodium- or zinc-based hybrid supercapacitators may become an appealing option for commercial applications by providing a mashup of two different energy storage technologies. By combining a capacitator-type cathode with a battery-type anode, these hybrid storage devices can achieve high energy density without compromising stability or power delivery—but challenges remain even here, and more research is crucial for making pragmatic hybrid supercapacitator applications a reality.6

A Better Way to Power Our Lives

Although sodium remains a top contender for next-generation batteries, the technology is not quite there yet. Identifying more effective cathode materials will help to build powerful, stable SIBs with greater specific capacities. Further research should also focus on advancing battery electrolyte technology so that SIBs can successfully perform over a wide temperature range while maintaining the long charge cycles and lifespans required for large-scale energy storage.3

As we continue progressing toward widespread sustainable energy sources such as wind or solar power—all of which depend on battery storage for uninterrupted performance—researchers are optimistic that sodium-ion technology will pave the way toward more cost-effective, sustainable, and powerful batteries.

Explore More Articles on Sodium-Ion Batteries in ACS Journals

  1. Gupta, P. et al. Understanding the Design of Cathode Materials for Na-Ion Batteries. ACS Omega2022, 7, 7, 5605–5614
  2. Hakim, C. et al. Anionic Redox and Electrochemical Kinetics of the Na2Mn3O7Cathode Material for Sodium-Ion Batteries. Energy Fuels 2022, 36, 7, 4015–4025
  3. Li, Q. et al. Reforming Magnet Waste to Prussian Blue for Sustainable Sodium-Ion Batteries. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces2022, 14, 42, 47747–47757
  4. Mishra, R. Single-Source-Derived Nitrogen-Doped Soft Carbons for Application as Anode for Sodium-Ion Storage. Energy Fuels2022, 36, 12, 6483–6491
  5. Thangavel, R. et al. Emerging Materials for Sodium-Ion Hybrid Capacitors: A Brief Review. ACS Appl. Energy Mater.2021, 4, 12, 13376–13394
  6. Discover even more sodium-ion battery research from ACS Publications journals.

References

  1. Manthiram, A. An Outlook on Lithium Ion Battery Technology. ACS Cent. Sci. 2017, 3, 10, 1063–1069
  2. Ponnanda, S. et al. Lithium-Free Batteries: Needs and Challenges. Energy Fuels 2022, 36, 12, 6013–6026
  3. Abraham, K. M. How Comparable Are Sodium-Ion Batteries to Lithium-Ion Counterparts? ACS Energy Lett. 2020, 5, 11, 3544–3547
  4. Wu, Q. et al. Anionic Redox Chemistry for Sodium-Ion Batteries: Mechanisms, Advances, and Challenges. Energy Fuels 2022, 36, 15, 8081–8095
  5. Li, Z. et al. Solid-State Electrolytes for Sodium Metal Batteries. Energy Fuels 2021, 35, 11, 9063–9079
  6. Shaikh, N.S. et al. Recent Advancements in Energy Storage Based on Sodium Ion and Zinc Ion Hybrid Supercapacitors. Energy Fuels 2021, 35, 18, 14241–14264

Microplastics: A Macro Problem

Microplastics are becoming a ubiquitous ecological contaminant. Chemists in diverse fields are attempting to better understand the behavior of microplastics and develop novel solutions to limit their impact, both on human health and ecosystems. Below are some recent highlights within this field of research.

The Scale of the Problem

Microplastics are defined as small plastic pieces and fragments less than 5 mm in length. These present a problem for wildlife, plants, and humans—and it is a problem that keeps growing. It is estimated that more than 3 million metric tons of microplastics enter the environment each year. These come from a variety of sources, from vehicle tires and road markings to clothing and cosmetics.  As a result, the average person eats, drinks, or inhales up to 211,000 microplastic particles every year—or about 250 grams.1

Impact on Human Health

Several recent studies published in Environmental Science & Technology reveal various effects of microplastic pollution on the human body. One study analyzed phlegm samples from people with various lung diseases, and the researchers found microplastic accumulation in everyone tested. In total, 21 types of microplastics were identified; polyurethane was the dominant culprit, followed by polyester, chlorinated polyethylene, and alkyd varnish.2 Researchers in China have also revealed a positive correlation between the concentration of microplastics in fecal matter and severity of inflammatory bowel disease.3

Microplastic accumulation may also occur in our bodies before we are even aware of our own existence. A recent study has demonstrated the first evidence in humans of an association between microplastics and microbiota in placental and meconium samples—suggesting microplastics are altering human biology even before birth.

What’s the Bigger Picture?

These tiny particles are an environmental disaster in their own right, but it is also becoming increasingly clear that they can carry other pollutants and contaminants on their surfaces. In fact, microplastics seem to have an unexpectedly high affinity for heavy metals, a trend that has been found in environmental samples worldwide. For example, researchers have demonstrated that UV filters from sunscreens can make chromium metal take on a different, more toxic oxidation state when attached to microplastics.5

This study provides the first evidence into how microplastics can turn heavy metals and pollutants into more harmful versions of themselves. As microplastics continue to accumulate in our bodies and in the environment, more comprehensive assessments are necessary to better understand the extent to which these complexes are affecting our health.

Assessing the Risk

Understanding microplastics’ long-term degradation behavior and environmental presence is essential for risk assessment and reporting. Part of this includes being able to differentiate size classes and degradation states over time. One study sets out a protocol to better assess microplastic degradation rates and quantify the release of micro- and nanoplastic fragments down to 10 nm.6 The researchers created a simulated beach environment to observe the effects of UV aging, hydrolysis, and mechanical stress on environmental degradation and fragmentation.

The results show that previously formed fragments can further degrade into water-soluble organics with measurable rates, which is promising for enabling future modeling approaches. The researchers report that further identification and risk assessment of these dissolved species will be important for future work, as well as assessing scenarios and stresses beyond UV degradation.

Learn More About Microplastics in ACS Journals

Biofilm Formation Influences the Wettability and Settling of Microplastics
Amber J. Pete, Philip J. Brahana, Mustapha Bello, Michael G. Benton, and Bhuvnesh Bharti
DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00728

Recent Advances in Spectroscopic Techniques for the Analysis of Microplastics in Food
Xin Guo, Helen Lin, Shuping Xu, and Lili He
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.1c06085

Using Adhesives to Capture Microplastics from Water
P. Takunda Chazovachii, Julie M. Rieland, Violet V. Sheffey, Timothy M. E. Jugovic, Paul M. Zimmerman, Omolola Eniola-Adefeso, Brian J. Love, and Anne J. McNeil
DOI: 10.1021/acsestengg.1c00272

Hitchhiking into the Deep: How Microplastic Particles are Exported through the Biological Carbon Pump in the North Atlantic Ocean
Luisa Galgani, Isabel Goßmann, Barbara Scholz-Böttcher, Xiangtao Jiang, Zhanfei Liu, Lindsay Scheidemann, Cathleen Schlundt, and Anja Engel
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c04712

References

  1. https://www.statista.com/chart/18299/how-we-eat-drink-and-breathe-microplastics/
  2. Huang, S. et al. Detection and Analysis of Microplastics in Human Sputum. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 4, 2476–2486
  3. Yan, Z. et al. Analysis of Microplastics in Human Feces Reveals a Correlation between Fecal Microplastics and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Status. Environ. Sci. Technol.2022, 56, 1, 414–421
  4. Liu, S. et al. The Association Between Microplastics and Microbiota in Placentas and Meconium: The First Evidence in Humans. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, Article ASAP
  5. Ho, W-K. et al. Sorption Behavior, Speciation, and Toxicity of Microplastic-Bound Chromium in Multisolute Systems. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett. 2022, Article ASAP
  6. Pfohl, P. et al. Environmental Degradation of Microplastics: How to Measure Fragmentation Rates to Secondary Micro- and Nanoplastic Fragments and Dissociation into Dissolved Organics. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 16, 11323–11334

The Secret of Spinning

For centuries, humans have used the fibers from silkworm cocoons for luxury fabric making; now, these humble caterpillars could be the inspiration for a whole new generation of biomedical applications.

Read the Original Article

Nanofibers are a promising candidate for making diverse functional materials from flexible electronics to wound dressings.  But human-made nanofiber spinning methods can be convoluted and inefficient, sometimes resulting in clumpy or inconsistent fiber output.

To improve upon this, scientists have looked to the natural world for tips and tricks on creating the perfect fibers. In nature, animals such as spiders and caterpillars have evolved unique spinning processes that can create high-performance natural fibers.

The silkworm (the caterpillar of the Bombyx mori moth) spins its fibers via an adhering–pulling–adhering process. To achieve this, the silkworm first spits out silk coated with sericin to adhere to the chosen surface for its cocoon, before swinging its head up to pull the silk out of the adhesion spot—and finally pulling the silk and sticking it to the next adhesion spot.

The silkworm does not appear to need any sophisticated structure to eject the fibers or provide significant external forces; rather, it appears to be the initial adhesion on an external spot that is the key enabler for continuous spinning. This is unlike the method used by spiders, who have nozzle-like spinnerets on their abdomens to enable them to spin their webs.  

Inspired by the simple approach of the silkworm, new research published in Nano Letters describes a micro-adhesion-guided (MAG) spinning technology for instant and on-demand fabrication of micro- and nanofibers.1 This uses microscale adhesion between the spinning fluid and its contact point. Fundamentally, the fiber formation is primarily a result of the liquid motion driven by surface tension, adhesion force, and capillary force.1

The researchers explored this using two key methods. First, they used a microneedle with spinning polymer fluids fed through a microfluidic array to produce oriented, cross-linked, and all-in-one fibers. The second simplified version harnessed the natural roughness of foam to act as the micro-adhesion points—simply pulling two polymer-soaked pieces apart to instantly spin threads in the gap between them.

These results present exciting opportunities for in situ fiber-fabrication technology without the need for any specialized equipment, which could prove especially valuable for biomedical engineering. For example, the strands created with MAG spinning could be placed directly on a person’s skin to create instant, flexible bandages—and including an antibiotic in the polymer solution for the bandage fibers could open further possibilities for biomedical applications.

The researchers believe this new method will help avoid the traditional issues with current spinning techniques, bypassing the need for significant external forces to either overcome surface tension or pass through a mold—all thanks to inspiration from the tiny silkworm.

Watch the video around this research created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the Original Article

Read the Full Press Release

Explore related research in ACS Journals

Genetic Code Expansion of the Silkworm Bombyx mori to Functionalize Silk Fiber
Hidetoshi Teramoto, Yoshimi Amano, Fumie Iraha, Katsura Kojima, Takuhiro Ito, and Kensaku Sakamoto
DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00437

Feeding Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes or Graphene to Silkworms for Reinforced Silk Fibers
Qi Wang, Chunya Wang, Mingchao Zhang, Muqiang Jian, and Yingying Zhang
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03597

Direct Writing of Half-Meter Long CNT Based Fiber for Flexible Electronics
Sihan Huang, Chunsong Zhao, Wei Pan, Yi Cui, and Hui Wu
DOI: 10.1021/nl504150a

Polymer Template Synthesis of Flexible SiO2 Nanofibers to Upgrade Composite Electrolytes
Shujie Liu, Haoru Shan, Shuhui Xia, Jianhua Yan, Jianyong Yu, and Bin Ding
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c06922

Meet Jinlong Yang, the Editor-in-Chief of New ACS Partner Journal Precision Chemistry

Professor Jinlong Yang, Editor-in-Chief of Precision Chemistry

ACS Publications is excited to announce Professor Jinlong Yang as the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of Precision Chemistry, a new partner journal between the University of Science and Technology of China and the American Chemical Society. Professor Yang is a professor of chemistry at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), where he received his PhD in condensed matter physics in 1991 and has served as Vice President since 2018.

We connected with Professor Yang recently to learn more about him, his research, and his hopes for the future of Precision Chemistry. These are the highlights of our conversation.

What is precision chemistry and why is it so important to scientific research?

Precision chemistry as a concept mainly covers two aspects. First, chemical research generates a large number of data, which needs to be accurate and reliable to obtain precise physicochemical pictures. We increasingly need higher precision in computational simulation and experimental characterization.

Second, traditional chemical research relies heavily on the method of “trial and error.” As the discipline has developed, the precise control of chemical reaction paths and tuning the properties of molecular and material systems have become increasingly important. As a result, precision synthesis and manufacturing based on such abilities is another important and growing research goal.

To sum up, precision chemistry aims to use and develop theories and experimental methods to improve the precision of chemical research, so as to realize precise calculation, design, synthesis, characterization, manufacturing, etc., and improve the efficiency of chemical research.

So precision chemistry can provide improved efficiency, better performance, and increased environment friendliness—this is the dream for chemists. On the one hand, demand for precision in chemical research comes from the development of chemistry at the level above the molecular, and the exploration and understanding of the construction, properties, and the nature of intermolecular interactions of complex chemical systems such as macromolecules, supramolecules, molecular aggregates, and even living systems – focusing on multi-scale effects in chemical processes.

On the other hand, it comes from the requirements for the creation of new substances beyond the “trial-and-error” research paradigm to achieve sustainable development of human society and to fundamentally solve energy, environmental, and health problems. Precision chemistry will have a significant impact on many areas of scientific research.

Why is the new journal Precision Chemistry open access?

Precision chemistry is at the frontier of chemical research. Future developments cannot be achieved without interdisciplinary cooperation and the combined efforts of scientists from many fields relevant to chemistry. And further, to accelerate this cooperation, we need to increase the accessibility and usability of articles published in Precision Chemistry—which is the only journal focusing on precision in chemistry. Based on these considerations, we decided to adopt an open access publishing model for Precision Chemistry.

How important is it for you to be supported as Editor-in-Chief by your fellow Editors?

The success of any journal is dependent on editorial teamwork. The support of team members is very important for my work and the development of Precision Chemistry. We have established a prestigious and truly international editorial team, whose expertise covers many fields of chemistry for Precision Chemistry. I believe Precision Chemistry and the fields it serves will evolve quickly thanks to the collaboration within our team.

What excites you about your current research in the field?

The most exciting part of my own work in the field of precision chemistry is to make things possible that initially seemed impossible. Taking electronic structure calculation as an example, we can only deal with very small system containing a few atoms if we solve the Schrödinger equation directly without making any approximation. As a result, high precision calculations of the electronic structure of complex chemical systems containing tens of thousands of atoms were considered to be out of reach a few years ago. But recently, we developed algorithms to use a supercomputer with 40 million cores to perform the density functional theory calculation of a complex lithium-sodium alloy system containing 2.5 million atoms in parallel. This greatly expands the application scope of high-precision electronic structures.

And the gradual application of quantum computers promises to continue to expand this range significantly. In addition, the precise control of chemical synthesis is also greatly improved through the development of artificial intelligence algorithms to build a robot automation platform. With such precision synthesis technology, experiments that would previously have taken decades can be completed in a few days. These emerging new advances will drive the development of precision chemistry.

Why should people doing work in the field submit their next best manuscript to Precision Chemistry?

Although much of the previous work in chemical research fell into the realm of precision chemistry, it was published across different journals that focused on different fields of chemistry. Bringing this work together under the banner of precision chemistry will greatly enhance the overall impact of these many different but related topics. We hope that Precision Chemistry will clearly convey the significance of the goal of precision across many branches of chemistry and related disciplines and will enhance the influence and impact of precision chemistry in the scientific community.

Where do you see research in precision chemistry going in the field in the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years, we will see significant improvement in the precision of computational modeling and experimental characterization of complex chemical systems. A large number of precise chemical data will then be generated, enabling chemical intelligence to be established based on big data, which ultimately allows the precise tuning of the properties of chemical systems and chemical reaction paths.

Possible future advances include but are not limited to:

  • achieving precise detection, imaging and characterization of molecules and chemical reactions
  • conducting theoretical modeling of chemical, biological and material systems with high accuracy and computational efficiency
  • realizing precise and controllable chemical synthesis with high selectivity and efficiency
  • creating molecular machines and devices based on molecular engineering of complex and multi-functional molecular systems
  • achieving controllable self-assembly with precise designed structures, precise synthesis of macromolecular and supramolecular systems
  • realizing precise regulation of nanostructures
  • fabricating high-performance functional materials based on rational design
  • applying precision chemistry to complete gene editing, protein and enzyme engineering, molecular diagnosis, and targeted therapy
  • solving important issues in energy and environmental sciences including energy conversion, energy storage, water resources, environmental remediation, carbon neutrality, and so on.

What advice would you give to young scientists today?

I think it is very important for young researchers to think about the big questions and identify a research goal that has important scientific value. Young researchers are creative and should not blindly chase hot spots and just undertake research superficially. They can both greatly improve the overall research endeavour and create new opportunities for themselves.

Learn More About Precision Chemistry

Theresa Reineke Named Editor-in-Chief of Bioconjugate Chemistry

Theresa Reineke, Editor-in-Chief of Bioconjugate Chemistry

ACS Publications is pleased to announce that Professor Theresa Reineke has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of Bioconjugate Chemistry, taking over from outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Vince Rotello. She is the Prager Chair for Macromolecular Science and a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Chemistry at University of Minnesota.

Reineke was a founding Associate Editor of ACS Macro Letters, where she served for 10 years. She also served on several Editorial Advisory Boards for several journals, including Bioconjugate Chemistry, Biomacromolecules, and ACS Applied Polymer Materials.

Bioconjugate Chemistry is a premier publisher of transformative research at the chemistry-biology interface. I am honored and excited to play a lead role in shaping the future of this outstanding journal,” says Reineke. “Community building, fostering inclusivity, and promoting our next generation of diverse researchers will be the cornerstones of my leadership. I also aim to further enhance societal impact of this growing transdisciplinary field through expansion of the scientific scope of the journal.”

Read the Press Release Announcement

Learn More About Theresa Reineke and Her Vision for Bioconjugate Chemistry

What is exciting to you about Bioconjugate Chemistry?

Bioconjugate Chemistry is the nexus of many fields that encompass both fundamental and applied research from academia, industry, and national labs. Society has recently witnessed many exciting successes in the field such as mRNA vaccines, monoclonal antibody drugs, and gene therapies. The field is now poised for expansion.

For example, pharmaceutical research and development is working towards democratizing gene and cell therapy, regenerative medicine, genome editing, and immunochemistry. Synthetic biology is quickly advancing to produce bio-made and environmentally benign processes and products. These innovations coupled with artificial intelligence and automation will lead to many important advancements improving global health.

What do you hope to bring to the journal as Editor-in-Chief?

As Editor-in-Chief, I plan to focus on community building and fostering our next generation of international authors, reviewers, and editorial boards. I plan to work closely with ACS to improve inclusive review and publication practices while maintaining rapid processing times.

I also plan to expand the scientific scope of the journal while simultaneously enhancing the publication experience and ethical standards for our authors.  With all of the recent clinical successes in this field, I am excited to highlight innovative research not only from academia but also industry and national labs to demonstrate the diverse and global impact of this field.

What does it mean to you be the Editor-in-Chief of this journal?

I am grateful to have worked with the two previous Editors-in-Chief, Prof. Claude Meares and Prof. Vince Rotello, who have been visionary leaders for the journal and field. I am incredibly honored and excited to be the next leader of Bioconjugate Chemistry; this journal has meant a lot to my education and career.

My first two biological chemistry articles were published back-to-back 20 years ago in the journal. My first editorial advisory board invitation was from Bioconjugate Chemistry, which I have served on since 2010.  I was also honored to work with Vince Rotello and Ron Raines a few years back to coauthor an editorial and guest edit a special issue in the journal entitled “Delivery of Proteins and Nucleic Acids: Achievements and Challenges.”

What are you currently working on?

My group is currently working on several projects in the spaces of drug/nucleic acid delivery and sustainability.  These fields are aligned with the common pursuit to use sustainable starting materials, greener/safe synthetic methods, and also make sure the formulations are benign and/or degradable at their end of use.  We have several projects on going with companies in these spaces and hope to aid translation of methods and materials to improve health and personal care products.  

What initially attracted you to chemistry?

From a very young age, I have always been fascinated by science. My interest in chemistry was solidified in high school, where I was very fortunate to take two years of chemistry, which included an independent project that sparked my research interest. These classes were led by two phenomenal teachers, who also volunteered in the coaching staff for the athletic teams I was a part of in high school.  I am grateful for all their encouragement; several members of our class went on to get PhDs! 

Are there any activities you try to make time for every day? Why are they important to you?

I carve out time every day for running, hiking, and yoga. Exercise helps me clear my mind to contemplate current and future directions of my research group as well as process difficulties and challenges. I also make time every day for my family as I love spending time with my partner Jeff and our two teenagers; they are my biggest supporters and help me balance work and home life.

View Articles by Theresa Reineke and Her Team

Meet the Winners of the Nano Letters Seed Grants

Nano Letters is committed to building a global community of young investigators and supporting their research development. We are also invested in equity and diversity, both individually and worldwide.

Our pilot Seed Grants competition in 2022, focused on highlighting the next generation of research scholars and research ideas worldwide. This initiative has been a rewarding opportunity for Nano Letters to showcase some of the most compelling nanoscience and nanotechnology prospects from graduate students in different areas of the world.

 “Thank you to all who submitted proposals for this year-long competition. The associate editors and I appreciated reading through your creative ideas and approaches to solving timely and important problems. We also congratulate you for taking the initiative to share your ideas with us at Nano Letters.” – Teri W. Odom, Editor-in-Chief.

As 2022 ends, we’re delighted to shine a spotlight on our winners for each of the four different geographical regions of the competition:

North America

For nominations from North America, the winner is Liza-Anastasia DiCecco.

Liza-Anastasia DiCecco

Liza-Anastasia is the Vanier Scholar and Ph.D. candidate in Materials Engineering at McMaster University. She is recognized for her research proposal on “Capturing Nanoscale Biointerface Mineralization Events Using In Situ Liquid Transmission Electron Microscopy”. Her Faculty Advisor is Dr. Kathryn Grandfield.

Find Out More About Liza-Anastasia’s Proposal

East Asia

For nominations from East Asia, the winner is Mingcheng Panmai.

Mingcheng Panmai is a third-year doctoral student at South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China. Mingcheng is supervised by Sheng Lan.

He is recognized for his research on creating and studying nanoscale antennae, metamaterials, and nonlinear optics. His proposal is geared toward using silicon nanostructures as light emitting devices.

Find Out More About Mingcheng’s Proposal

Europe, Australia, and New Zealand

For submissions from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, the winner is Elena Blundo.

Elena Blundo

Elena Blundo is a third-year doctoral student at the Optical Spectroscopy of Nanostructured Materials laboratory in Sapienza, University of Rome. Elena is supervised by Prof. Antonio Polimeni.

Elena is a prolific young researcher investigating strained 2D crystals, especially the mechanical and photonic properties of bubbles and domes formed by 2D crystals. She proposes to fabricate an array of nanodomes of monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) through irradiation to achieve near-ideal single-photon sources emitting at telecom wavelengths.

Find Out More About Elena’s Proposal

Central America, South Asia, and Africa

For submissions from Central America, South Asia, and Africa the winner is Jinqi Wu.

Junqi Wu: Nano Letters Seed Grant Winner

Jinqi is a third-year doctoral student at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

In her proposal, Jinqi is motivated to engineer the lattice potential in perovskite polaritons with the aim to further enhance the nonlinear interaction strength toward the quantum regime.

The broad impact of her proposal is relevant for highly efficient polaritonic devices, such as all-optical quantum gates and polariton networks or quantum simulators.

Find Out More About Jinqi’s Proposal

 

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Kelly Chibale Named Editor in Chief of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters

Kelly Chibale Headshot

ACS Publications announced the next editor in chief of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters will be Kelly Chibale, Neville Isdell chair in African-centric drug discovery and development, and professor of organic chemistry at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Chibale, now an associate editor with Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, will begin his term on January 1, 2023, replacing Dennis C. Liotta, the inaugural editor in chief of the journal that launched in 2010, who is stepping down at the end of 2022.

Chibale will be the first editor in chief of an ACS journal from Africa. He is also founder and director of the UCT Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre, the South Africa research chair in drug discovery at UCT and founding director of the South African Medical Research Council/Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit at UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine.

“Chibale is a pioneer and a leading synthetic organic chemist whose research has largely contributed to the global health drug discovery. We’re thrilled he chose ACS,” said James Milne, president of ACS Publications in a statement. “Aside from numerous awards and honors, including being named one of Fortune magazine’s 2018 world’s 50 greatest leaders, Chibale has been an active ACS member since 1994, underscoring his commitment to ACS and our shared mission.”

Meet Professor Chibale at the University of Bonn

One of Professor Chibale’s first events as ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters editor in chief will be the ACS Publications Symposium on Biological and Medicinal Chemistry in Bonn, Germany, March 6-8, 2023. It’s free to register for the event hosted in partnership with the University of Bonn.

The Symposium will feature three days of in-person talks by leading researchers in biological and medicinal chemistry from EMEA institutions and industry—many of whom, like Chibale, are also editors of high-impact ACS journals. It will also include a poster session and networking sessions with speakers, attendees, and ACS Publications staff.

“Bridging the gap between fundamental basic science and clinical research to advance innovative medicines discovery requires, amongst other things, the integration of chemistry with biology and pharmacology, including drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics studies,” says Chibale. “In my talk I will be describing the establishment of chemistry, biology and pharmacology platforms at our University of Cape Town Holistic Drug Discovery and Development (H3D) Centre and how these platforms have been deployed in drug discovery projects underpinned by medicinal chemistry and chemical biology in mechanism of action deconvolution.

“I am excited about visiting Germany partly because Bonn, which is on the banks of the Rhine River, is a beautiful city and partly because Germany is a global scientific powerhouse with a rich chemistry history.  Not so long-ago German was the language of chemistry!”

REGISTER FREE to attend the ACS Publications Symposium on Biological and Medicinal Chemistry!

Register for the 2023 Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Symposium

An Interview with Professor Kelly Chibale

I connected with Professor Chibale recently to learn more about him, his research, and his hopes for the future of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. These are the highlights of our conversation.

How would you describe your research to a non-scientist?

My research is two-fold: First is the discovery of future innovative, lifesaving medicines for infectious diseases with attendant studies to understand how the medicines work. Second, is scientifically addressing the issue of health equity from an African perspective.

In this context my research is focused on building (currently non-existent) Africa-specific preclinical discovery phase tools and models to contribute to improving treatment outcomes in people of African heritage. Regarding the latter research area, it is noteworthy that Africa is arguably the most genetically diverse continent.  The status quo is such that medicines are not optimized for the African patient population for two main reasons.

First, although Africa accounts for 15% of the global population and 25% of the global disease burden, there is an extremely low volume of clinical trials (2-3% of global total) that take place on the continent. The implications of this are that:

  1. African perspectives on intrinsic factors [such as physiology, genetics, etc.], and extrinsic factors [such as the practice of medicine, when during the stage of a disease (early vs late) that a patient presents for treatment, concomitant medication etc.] are not considered during the clinical drug development stages.
  2. Clinicians and patients in Africa only acquire experience and access to newer therapies much later in time than those who work and live in the more developed nations.

Second, there is absence of preclinical tools—such as hepatocytes and liver microsomes used for drug metabolism studies, which rarely have African populations.  Pharmacokinetic variation in African populations due to variable genetic expression and activity of drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters are not well accounted for.

This has implications on human dose prediction for clinical trials, in particular Phase 1 or First-In-Man, studies. Having the Africa-specific preclinical discovery tools will not only facilitate the prioritization of drug candidates during their (chemical) lead optimization phase based on their predicted pharmacological profile in African patients, but generated data will also be useful in stratifying patients for clinical trials.

What element has been most central to your scientific career, and why?

My answer can be summed up in what the French biologist, microbiologist, and chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) had to say: “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.  Science brings me nearer to God.”

Pasteur also said, “little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”

What is your vision for ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters moving forward?

I must first hasten to acknowledge the foundational work done by my predecessor and founding editor in chief, Dennis C. Liotta. His vision, leadership, drive, and creativity have brought the journal to its current strong position of being the leading journal in its league, ahead of its direct competitors. So, I will be standing on the shoulders of this giant in Dennis.

My vision is to build on the excellent foundation laid by Dennis and the editorial board, past and present, to build a more globally diverse and inclusive community of the future in terms of geography, race, gender, age, and employment sector, and ensuring that ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters effectively serves this community in the long term.

What types of advances in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery do you hope to see published in the journal over the next decade?

I would like to see increased publications in infectious and neglected tropical disease arenas, medicinal chemistry of vaccine adjuvants and RNA-based therapeutic strategies. I would also like to see medicinal chemistry embracing high molecular weight (non-Lipinski ‘rule of 5’) chemical space and large peptides, biologics and long acting injectables with associated drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics studies.  Finally, as precision medicine gains momentum, I would like to see medicinal chemistry integrated with preclinical tools aimed at prioritizing drug candidates based upon their predicted pharmacological profiles in specific patient populations.

When you’re not teaching and doing research—and working as a journal editor or reviewing papers—how do you spend your time? What are your passions outside of medicinal chemistry and your workday?

I spend most of my time outside work with my wife Bertha talking and laughing a lot. We have 3 grown-up sons: Kalaba, Suwilanji, and Sechelanji.

When at the local gym, I love hitting the punching bag with a variety of punches like a boxer in training to defend a world title. Outdoors, I love hiking in forests towards mountains. Being based in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is also known as the Mother City but which I like to call The Promised Land, I am surrounded by the incredible Table Mountain, one of the New Seven Wonders of the world. Bertha and I hike every week when we are both in town.

Learn More About Professor Chibale

If you’d like to learn more about Professor Kelly Chibale,

  1. Watch his recent interview with Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) Editor-in-Chief Erick Carreira, part of the JACS in Conversation With…series.
  2. Read his articles published in ACS journals.

ChemRxiv: From a User’s Perspective

In August 2022, ChemRxiv organized a panel discussion at the ACS Fall Meeting in Chicago. We sat down with one of the panelists, Julia Kalow, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, to find out more about how she utilizes ChemRxiv in her lab:

Can you tell us a bit about your research focus?

We are organic and polymer chemists interested in controlling the synthesis and properties of polymers with light. I’m interested in looking at materials that change over time, under stimuli or during reactions, through the lens of “reactivity-property relationships”, which we think of as a dynamic version of conventional structure-property relationships.

You’ve posted a number of preprints onto ChemRxiv. When did you first learn about preprints and ChemRxiv?

Several of my senior colleagues, such as Will Dichtel and Franz Geiger, were early adopters, and their enthusiasm convinced me to use it.

What do you see as the main benefit of posting a preprint?

As an early-career scientist, I need to be able to show the community what we’re working on, even as our manuscripts are making their way through the (often slow) peer-review and revision process. This is particularly true since I have switched fields, and for proposals, preprints can demonstrate our expertise in a new area while we are waiting for the final published version to come out.

What has the reception been like to your work on ChemRxiv?

Some of our preprints have been cited, and while it’s hard to know how “views” translates to actual reading or impact, it is interesting that some of our preprints have been viewed more times than the published version!

You mentioned at the event at the ACS National meeting that you also use preprints in your teaching, can you tell us more about how you do that?

In my Polymer Chemistry course, for the final project, the senior undergraduates in the class pick a preprint from ChemRxiv related to polymer chemistry and prepare a peer review for it. As preparation, they complete the ACS Reviewer Lab training and I do a lecture on peer review during class, and I also provide a template for their reviews. I think that preprints are the perfect context for this exercise because they are actually reviewing manuscripts that may not have been through the review process, and need to make a judgement call that is divorced from the perceived prestige or impact of a journal.

Using ChemRxiv for Teaching