ACS Publications regularly produces collections of the most important chemistry research topics. These Virtual Collections of the most important chemistry research topics bring together the most important ideas in the field in a variety of ways, including Special Issues and ACS Selects from across the portfolio journals. These collections reflect the most important chemistry research […]

ACS Publications regularly produces collections of the most important chemistry research topics. These Virtual Collections of the most important chemistry research topics bring together the most important ideas in the field in a variety of ways, including Special Issues and ACS Selects from across the portfolio journals. These collections reflect the most important chemistry research topics of current scientific interest and are designed for experienced investigators and educators alike.

Browse 21 of the most important, engaging topics in chemists with Virtual Collections released by ACS Publications journals in Q2 2020:



David N. Beratan Festschrift

David Beratan’s unique style of doing science has had a broad and deep impact on chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics. He has developed theories with an eye toward influencing the design and interpretation of key experiments, and his impact has been tremendous. David’s insights and predictive models have opened up entirely new research directions to experimental inquiry: tunneling pathways, inverse molecular design, optimization of polarizability response through ground-state polarization, flickering resonance, and chiral imprinting are all examples of concepts that he has pioneered that have guided experimental designs and advances for decades.

First Accounts

Early-career scientists have some of the freshest ideas and are instrumental in pushing the frontiers of chemistry and related disciplines. Recognizing this, we have initiated the first in an annual series of virtual issues highlighting the publications in Accounts of Chemical Research over the past year that are authored by early-stage scientists: First Accounts. In addition to featuring early career researchers, each Account in this collection is the first article the corresponding author has published in Accounts of Chemical Research as a principal investigator.

First Accounts are also first-hand accounts—our junior faculty and newest researchers in industry and institutes are the most engaged in experimental design and execution in the laboratory, and we see this reflected in the writing from younger authors. In most cases, they have staked their careers on the success of the research program described in their Account, and justifiably, that passion for molecular design, mechanistic inquiry, and structural evidence comes through in their writing.


To promote the positive role that chemistry plays in the world, ACS established the Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) which will occur April 19-25, 2020. This year’s theme is “Protecting Our Planet through Chemistry”, with a focus on sustainability.

Complex Organic Molecules in Star-Forming Regions

This Virtual Special Issue is concerned mainly with a class of interstellar molecules that strongly resemble organic molecules present in the terrestrial organic laboratory. These molecules, known as “complex organic molecules”, a term abbreviated either as COMs or iCOMs, the “I” standing for “interstellar” since these molecules, containing from 6-13 atoms, are hardly complex when compared with the much larger molecules found on Earth. The COMs, which include simple alcohols, esters, nitriles, and ethers, have been observed extensively by radio astronomy. The wealth of material in this Virtual Special Issue concerning interstellar complex organic molecules should provide the reader with a comprehensive introduction to this burgeoning area of astrochemistry. If the 50-year history of astrochemistry is any guide, however, research in the future is likely to change some of the conclusions reached here. Nevertheless, the future work will be based on the solid foundation reported.

New Advances in Organic Aerosol Chemistry

This virtual issue is a collection of exciting new advances in organic aerosol chemistry. The manuscripts fall into four broad and interconnected categories: (1) novel insights into secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation, (2) the impact of organics on aerosol physical properties relevant for climate, (3) organics and the aerosol-cloud life cycle, and (4) field observations of organic aerosols and their transformations. Collectively, the manuscripts in this virtual issue represent the next generation of ideas and techniques in this field. Further research, enabled by recent advances in aerosol technology and collaborative and inclusive research culture, will be needed to tackle the urgent challenges in global air pollution and climate that we face today.

Area Selective Deposition: From Materials Chemistry to Nanofabrication

Right around 2014, as the minimum feature size of electronic devices approached 10 nm, nanofabrication needed a break-through technology to enable precise fabrication in 3D structures within the few nanometer scale. Area selective atomic layer deposition (AS-ALD) was recognized as having many advantages for this challenge because it is a bottom-up patterning approach with high conformality in 3D structures. The purpose of this virtual issue is to compile some of the recent, scientifically innovative papers in AS-ALD research published in Chemistry of Materials and other ACS journals for readers who are interested in this research field. Although the papers in this issue are focused on those published recently, we also include a few older published papers to provide some context about the main research history.

20th Anniversary of Aggregation-Induced Emission

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the concept of aggregation-induced emission (AIE). Since the concept was first coined in 2001, it changes the way people think about chromophore aggregation and provides a broad platform for the design and development of new luminescent materials in practically useful solid state. AIE and the related interdisciplinary research have greatly promoted the continuous innovation and rapid development of chemistry, materials and medicine, which lay an important physical and theoretical foundation for related fields with substantial global impact. The collection of 30 recently published articles from these ACS journals highlights the dynamic and vibrant AIE research. This Virtual Issue will serve as valuable resources for both well-established and early career researchers to learn more about AIE.


Remembering the Contributions and Life of Professor Joel Bernstein

Professor Joel Bernstein (1941–2019) inspired many of us with his insatiable enthusiasm for science and teaching and his passion for the organic solid state. Joel will be remembered for his humanity, compassion, wisdom, scientific depth and breadth, and an unsurpassed passion for history, especially when interwoven with science. He was, truly, polymorphic. This Virtual Special Issue of Crystal Growth & Design is intended to celebrate and commemorate his contributions to the field.

Melbourne – Australia’s Science City

Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and fastest growing metropolis with around 4.5 million inhabitants. It is also the Australian biomedical and materials science hub. This virtual issue of ACS Nano celebrates recent research in nanoscience and nanotechnology emanating from various institutes within the city of Melbourne: University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University, Swinburne University, the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, and CSIRO.

Toward Chemistry in Real Space and Real Time

This Virtual Special Issue bears the title of the symposium held during the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting in San Diego, CA, marking the sunset of the eponymous Center for Chemistry at the Space-Time Limit. This National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Chemical Innovation was founded with the vision to capture motions of individual molecules in real space and time, ultimately, to reach the joint Å-fs scale resolution necessary to visualize chemistry in the act. This VSI serves a collection of manuscripts by participants that capture the topics covered at the CaSTL sunset symposium.

Giants in Sensing: A Virtual Issue to Celebrate Five Years of ACS Sensors

As ACS Sensors celebrates its first five years of publication, we want to take this opportunity to honor people who have been central in shaping the field. To most scientists, chemical and biological sensing is a thoroughly modern discipline. It is unashamedly interdisciplinary, marrying fundamental insights and the foundations of analytical chemistry, state of the art materials science, bioengineering, electrochemistry, optics, biology, clinical and environmental chemistry. It addresses important measurement science challenges that face us today. This is what motivates many of us to contribute to this important field. Together with Analytical Chemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society, we present a virtual issue on Giants in Sensing featuring some fifty articles from influential sensing researchers who have contributed to any of these journals in the past five years. Please go through the list, read these excellent articles, and be sure to remember their names and those that came before when you write your next publication. It is humbling to know that we are all standing on the shoulders of giants.

Natural Products: Isolation, Total Synthesis, Structure-Activity Relationships, and More

Chemists are known for their ability to design and create molecules and materials—it is at the heart of what we do. Many of our ideas originate with the ultimate molecular designer and synthetic engineer, Nature, which has found an elegant way over time to create the necessary molecules of life or ones that participate in life cycles. Much of the new chemistry involving these natural products ends up on the pages of Organic Letters and The Journal of Organic Chemistry each year, pieced together through total synthesis to guide the way toward developing new and improved medicines, agricultural chemicals, biocatalysts, and more.

In this Virtual Issue, we feature 40 leading articles on natural products chemistry, selected by Organic Letters Editor-in-Chief Erick M. Carreira and The Journal of Organic Chemistry Editor-in-Chief Scott J. Miller from among the more than 250 articles on the topic published in the ACS core organic journals during 2019.


Quantum Dots and their Applications: What Lies Ahead?

It has been many years since the first works on the reduced dimensionality of semiconductors, which led to the concept of ‘artificial atoms’, or quantum dots (QDs). These semiconductor nanocrystals, with nanometer-sized diameters, exhibit quantum size effects in their optical and electronic properties. In particular, tunable and efficient photoluminescence (PL), with narrow emission and photochemical stability, as well as core-shell structures are commonly achieved today for many quantum dot materials systems. As a consequence, quantum dots have been incorporated as active elements in a wide variety of devices and applications, such as light-emitting diodes and display applications, photovoltaics, photoconductors and photodetectors, biomedical and environmental applications and catalysis applications. Many of these applications are now commercially-available and incorporated into our daily life, such as the case of quantum-dot-based displays. Despite being now part of mature technologies, quantum dot synthesis, characterization, and applications still constitute a highly active field of investigation. In light of various new development in applications of quantum dots, it is our pleasure to announce a “virtual issue” on quantum dots and their applications for ACS Applied Nano Materials.

Laboratory Learning

The Journal of Chemical Education has published many widely cited articles about learning in the chemistry laboratory. Laboratory teaching continues to evolve and face new challenges in today’s world. To help share the broad approaches to laboratory education, the journal has provided a collective resource of articles on laboratory learning and understanding, inquiry methods, student preparedness, assessing the lab, and faculty goals and professional development for laboratory teaching. We hope your find these articles as a useful resource increasing your knowledge in laboratory learning.

Challenges and Opportunities in Designing Perovskite Nanocrystal Heterostructures

Since the first report of CsPbBr3 nanocrystal synthesis by the hot-injection five years ago, we have seen phenomenal growth in research efforts to understand the photodynamics, luminescent properties, and stabilization of different phases of perovskite materials. We envision the possibility of designing perovskite nanocrystal heterostructures in combinations with other perovskites, metal oxides and chalcogenides, and precious metals and 2D materials. This virtual issue highlights some of the key findings published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, ACS Energy Letters, ACS Nano, Chemistry of Materials, Journal of American Chemical Society, Nano Letters, and Journal of Physical Chemistry C.

International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy

The collection of papers in this virtual special issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry A are representative of the work disseminated over the last decade at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy (ISMS), which is on the verge of its 75th anniversary. The ISMS was founded in 1946 and was held on campus at The Ohio State University for 68 consecutive years, where after it moved to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Historically, the emphasis of the ISMS has been the characterization of the structure, dynamics, and spectroscopy of molecular systems, including complexes and clusters. The fundamental spectroscopic techniques developed by the participants of ISMS have been applied over the years to an ever more precise understanding of the chemistry and physics of aqueous environments, combustion, the interstellar medium, and planetary atmospheres, to name a few of the more popular areas of discussion at the symposium. This research, in both the gas and condensed phases, spans the subject areas of JPC A.

3D Printing of Polymers

The distributive manufacturing enabled by 3D printing has been on display in the response to shortages in critical medical resources for the response to the COVID-19 epidemic. In almost all cases, these 3D printed parts have been polymers and have been instrumental in providing a stopgap to logistical challenges in obtaining critical components. These have included, amongst many other examples, engineered solutions to limited number of ventilators through 3D printing of valves for ventilators, parts to transform snorkeling masks into continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, and repurposing of existing medical equipment to meet demands for treating patients. The timely delivery of these 3D printed plastic components has been enabled by the advances in 3D printing over the past decades. In light of their acute significance in this global health crisis, it is our pleasure to announce a “virtual issue” on the 3D printing of polymers for ACS Applied Polymer Materials.


New Tools and Methods in Physical Chemistry Research

This spring marks the second anniversary of the introduction of a section in The Journal of Physical Chemistry A highlighting work in the development of New Tools and Methods in Experiment and Theory. Work published in this section of J. Phys. Chem. A spans the full scope of physical chemistry research that is published in the three parts of the Journal. In the two years since this section was introduced, we have published more than 200 articles. In this collection of twenty-five articles, we highlight representative examples of the exciting work in the development of new tools and methods, which has been published in The Journal over the past two years.

Recent Highlights on Interfaces from China

This Langmuir virtual issue contains a collection of carefully selected articles which showcase very recent studies on interfaces from China. The authors with science and engineering backgrounds are from national and state key laboratories, academic institutes as well as universities located at various parts of China. We hope that you’ll enjoy reading this sample collection of Langmuir publications for the recent exciting work on nanomaterials and interfaces authored by Chinese scientists!

Virus Detection

In this virtual issue, we highlight 23 papers centered on the development of molecular tests for viruses. The type of work these researchers were doing was no less important then, than it is now. Current events have just brought the importance of their work into focus. We feel the papers in this virtual issue serve as a benchmark for the types of innovation the journals Analytical Chemistry and ACS Sensors are looking for. The papers we selected are just a subset of the many wonderful, innovative papers on infection detection we have published and represent the incredible work being done around the globe in detection science that will help keep us safe. When we read the papers, they give us hope that we will be far better equipped to deal with any future potential pandemics. We thank these scientists for their research.

A New Era of Metal-Organic Framework Nanomaterials and Applications

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