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Semiconductors: The Building Blocks of Modern Technology

The global semiconductor industry is on the rise, with the potential to grow into a trillion-dollar industry by the end of the decade. In tandem, scientists continue to advance the field with quality research in semiconductor technology and applications. Here, we explore recent advances in semiconductor research across ACS Publications journals.

Tiny Powerhouses

Semiconductors are a class of crystalline solids whose electrical conductivity exists between that of a conductor, such as aluminum or copper, and an insulator, such as ceramic or glass—hence their “semi” conductive nature.1 These diverse substances, including two-dimensional (2D) materials, optoelectronics, and optical devices, have become the fundamental components of modern electronic technology.

Progress Toward Next-Generation Devices

In addition to silicon, novel materials such as graphene also have a high potential for applications as semiconductors in electronic devices. However, their high contact resistance makes them susceptible to overheating, and this limits their practical applications. Some scientists have begun investigating various options to lower the contact resistance, making 2D semiconductors a promising candidate for broader use in electronics.2

Some 2D semiconductor materials have recently been shown to exhibit magnetic properties, which could make them extremely useful for next-generation spintronic devices and information technology, such as logic circuits that utilize the spin interactions of electrons. By applying magnetic and other enhanced properties of certain semiconductors, spintronic devices could reduce energy consumption while increasing processing capabilities, making them a viable alternative to traditional electronics.3 To enhance these magnetic properties, one study explores doping suitable magnetic materials into host semiconductors at room temperature.3 Others are examining strategies to develop more high-temperature 2D magnetic semiconductors that could also one day be widely used in spintronics applications.4

The role of semiconductors in optoelectronic technology and applications has grown significantly in recent years. Semiconductor nanocrystals have displayed great potential in optoelectronics applications such as light-emitting diodes and lasers5, and organic–inorganic hybrid semiconductors such as organometal halide perovskites are also encouraging candidates for next-generation optoelectronics.6

A (Machine) Learning Process

Machine Learning (ML) is a growing field that has transformed research processes across various industries, including semiconductor production. For example, developing new semiconductors with high thermal conductivity may aid in heat management and energy conservation for device cooling—and ML algorithms can rapidly and accurately generate screenings to predict different semiconductor material properties, evaluate their potential applications, and create simulation models for extreme conditions.7

A recent study in ACS Applied Nano Materials describes a method for deep-learning-based microscopic imagery deblurring (MID), which helps to more accurately identify 2D semiconductors and may be useful in the industrial manufacturing process.8

Powering Renewable Energy Sources

Outside of the electronics industry, another important area of interest is the powerful role of semiconductors in sustainable energy generation. Researchers recently reported on a new type of semiconductor alloy “nanoflower” with great potential for use in water splitting and hydrogen production.9

Harnessing the power of the sun is no simple task, but semiconductors are also proving themselves essential for the future of solar energy conversion. The growing demand for effective yet inexpensive photovoltaic materials has prompted some to begin exploring alternative semiconductor options—such as copper sulfide (CuS), which could have great success in improving the stability and photoconversion efficiency in perovskite solar cells.10

Another study describes a strategy for improving perovskite solar cell performance by introducing 2D material films or semiconducting additives to better balance the charge transport, or the flow of electric current through the solar cell.11

Semiconductors are everywhere in our daily lives, and their impact continues to grow across a multitude of industries and applications. From driving the performance of next-generation electronics to improving technologies for a more sustainable future, these tiny powerhouses are vital for keeping the modern world running.

Further Reading: Recent Semiconductor Research from ACS Journals

  1. Huang, N. et al. Photosynthesis of Hydrogen and Its Synchronous Application in a Hydrogen Fuel Cell: A Comprehensive Experiment in the Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory. J. Chem. Educ. 2022, 99, 9, 3283–3288
  2. Protti, S. and Fagnoni, M. Recent Advances in Light-Induced Selenylation. ACS Org. Inorg. Au 2022, Article ASAP
  3. Park, H. et al. Reduction of the Error in the Electrical Characterization of Organic Field-Effect Transistors Based on Donor–Acceptor Polymer Semiconductors. ACS Appl. Electron. Mater. 2022, 4, 9, 4677–4682
  4. Abdelraouf, O.A.M. et al. Recent Advances in Tunable Metasurfaces: Materials, Design, and Applications. ACS Nano 2022, 16, 9, 13339–13369
  5. Bhall, N. et al. Endorsing a Hidden Plasmonic Mode for Enhancement of LSPR Sensing Performance in Evolved Metal–insulator Geometry Using an Unsupervised Machine Learning Algorithm. ACS Phys. Chem Au 2022, Article ASAP
  6. Shiraishi, Y. et al. Solar-Driven Generation of Hydrogen Peroxide on Phenol–Resorcinol–Formaldehyde Resin Photocatalysts. ACS Mater. Au 2022, 2, 6, 709–718


  1. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. Wu, Z. et al. Lowering Contact Resistances of Two-Dimensional Semiconductors by Memristive Forming. Nano Lett. 2022, 22, 17, 7094–7103
  3. Kanwal, S. et al. Room-Temperature Ferromagnetism in Cu/Co Co-Doped ZnO Nanoparticles Prepared by the Co-Precipitation Method: For Spintronics Applications. ACS Omega 2022, 7, 36, 32184–32193
  4. Sun, H. et al. High-Temperature Ferromagnetism in a Two-Dimensional Semiconductor with a Rectangular Spin Lattice. J. Phys. Chem. C 2022, 126, 37, 16034–16041
  5. Brumberg, A. et al. Acceleration of Biexciton Radiative Recombination at Low Temperature in CdSe Nanoplatelets. Nano Lett. 2022, 22, 17, 6997–7004
  6. Li, Y. et al. Design of Organic–Inorganic Hybrid Heterostructured Semiconductors via High-Throughput Materials Screening for Optoelectronic Applications. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2022, 144, 36, 16656–16666
  7. Li, M. et al. Machine Learning for Harnessing Thermal Energy: From Materials Discovery to System Optimization. ACS Energy Lett. 2022, 7, 10, 3204–3226
  8. Dong, X. et al. Microscopic Image Deblurring by a Generative Adversarial Network for 2D Nanomaterials: Implications for Wafer-Scale Semiconductor Characterization. ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2022, 5, 9, 12855–12864
  9. Aher, R. et al. Synthesis, Structural and Optical Properties of ZrBi2Se6 Nanoflowers: A Next-Generation Semiconductor Alloy Material for Optoelectronic Applications. ACS Omega 2022, 7, 36, 31877–31887
  10. Shaikh, G.Y. et al. Structural, Optical, Photoelectrochemical, and Electronic Properties of the Photocathode CuS and the Efficient CuS/CdS Heterojunction. ACS Omega 2022, 7, 34, 30233–30240
  11. Mei, Y. et al. Synergistic Effects of Bipolar Additives on Grain Boundary-Mediated Charge Transport for Efficient Carbon-Based Inorganic Perovskite Solar Cells. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 34, 38963–38971

Sparking Interest in New Firework Colors

Sparklers are a favorite for holidays and celebratory events across the world, providing dramatic and eye-catching bursts of light. While their flames can span the rainbow, the actual sparks that fly and branch out are traditionally limited to dark red, gold, or white light. But chemists are now uncovering new ways to expand the pyrotechnic color palette using rare-earth metals.

Read the Full Paper

Sparks are tiny pieces of materials that, when heated to a certain temperature, produce visible light. Long-flying sparks formed from hot, incandescent metal particles are essential components of sparklers, fireworks, and other pyrotechnic spectacles—however, these traditional metallic sparks may leave something to be desired due to their limited color range. This is because the color of the spark is controlled exclusively by the temperature of the metal heated by surface combustion, a phenomenon known as black or gray body radiation.

In recent decades, studies have demonstrated the potential for rare-earth metals to be promising agents for more colorful pyrotechnic displays and spark variety due to their low boiling points and ability to burn in the vapor phase. Unfortunately, the metals are consumed very quickly during vapor-phase combustion, resulting in only brief flashes of light rather than the desired effect of long, branching sparks.

But now, a recent study published in ACS Omega reports that rare-earth metals in alloy powder form can produce flashes that shift from gold to green while maintaining continuous branching and sparking effects. This study is thought to be the first investigation into how such alloys expand spark colors beyond the black body limit, as well as their impact on branching behavior.

Overall, the researchers studied 11 commercial and synthesized alloys plus six rare-earth elements. They were able to achieve deep green spark segments based on eutectic ytterbium–zinc (Yb–Zn) and ytterbium–copper (Yb–Cu) powders. Once ignited, Yb–Cu burst into a shower of both gold and green sparks. In contrast to pure Yb, the Yb–Cu sparks successfully traveled outside of the flame, reaching significant lengths of 3–6 cm. The resulting effects appeared as a mixture of surface combustion (gold), vapor combustion (green flashes), and color-changing sparks with deep green and golden stages, repeating several times over.

In addition to color, the researchers demonstrated that rare-earth metal alloys could influence the branching behavior of sparks. Among the various candidates that were analyzed, the neodymium-iron-boron alloy Nd2Fe14B proved to be the most ideal and practical due to its stable phase and ability to produce bright, continuous branching effects. 

The authors conclude that binary metal alloys could one day play a vital role in enhancing the color variety and spark behavior of handheld sparklers and other pyrotechnic devices. However, further research and intensive safety testing must be conducted to ensure commercial viability.

So, as you stand under your next fireworks show or trace shapes in the cold night air with a sparkler, spare a thought for the chemists working to light up the skies and add color to our celebrations.  

To see the research in action, watch the video below created by the ACS Science Communications team:

Read the Original Article

Read the Full Press Release

Learn more about the chemistry of pyrotechnics in ACS journals:

  1. Ritchie, T. et al. Evolution of Medieval Gunpowder: Thermodynamic and Combustion Analysis. ACS Omega 2021, 6, 35, 22848–22856
  2. Dong, W. et al. Multidimensional Energetic Coordination Polymers as Flame Colorants: Intriguing Architecture and Excellent Performance. Cryst. Growth Des. 2022, 22, 9, 5449–5458
  3. Cao, W. et al. Access to Green Pyrotechnic Compositions via Constructing Coordination Polymers: A New Approach to the Application of 3,4-Dinitropyrazole. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 28, 32084–32095
  4. Zeman, O. Diketopyrrolopyrrole─A Greener Alternative for Pyrotechnic Smoke Compositions. ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2022, 10, 14, 4788–4791
  5. Fan, S. et al. Are Environmentally Friendly Fireworks Really “Green” for Air Quality? A Study from the 2019 National Day Fireworks Display in Shenzhen. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2021, 55, 6, 3520–3529

Call for Papers: Hot Electrons in Catalysis

The Journal of Physical Chemistry C will publish a Virtual Special Issue on “Hot Electrons in Catalysis.”

The Virtual Special Issue is led by Guest Editors Prof. Reinhard Maurer (University of Warwick) and Prof. Prashant Jain (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign). Together they encourage researchers to submit their new and unpublished work by March 31, 2023.

Learn More About How to Submit

Research areas of particular interest include:

  • Understanding and controlling hot carrier production by optical excitation and other methods
  • Energetics and dynamics of hot electron generation, relaxation, and dissipation through catalytic reactions
  • Mechanisms of catalysis and chemical reactions involving hot electrons
  • New photochemical processes enabled by hot electrons
  • Development and application of new theoretical methods for modeling hot electron chemistry
  • Mechanistic aspects of the syntheses and characteristics of materials for hot electron generation and harvesting

In conceiving this Virtual Special Issue, the Guest Editors were inspired by some recent exciting innovations and discoveries, including:

  • Plasmonically generated hot electrons inducing new reaction pathways and modifying reaction selectivity
  • Energetically unfavorable reactions being driven by carrier photoexcitation
  • Strategies for resolving thermal and non-thermal effects in hot electron chemistry
  • Selective activation of adsorbate vibrational modes by photogenerated hot electrons
  • Recent experimental advances in studying ultrafast dynamics of hot-electron-mediated energy transfer

Read Articles on Hot Electrons in ACS Journals

Submission Instructions

The review process for all submissions for this Virtual Special Issue will be handled by The Journal of Physical Chemistry C’s Senior Editors Stephan Link and Gregory Hartland.

To ensure an unbiased peer-review process, the journal asks that you do not indicate within your manuscript that the submission is intended for the Virtual Special Issue. If you do, your manuscript will be returned for correction. Instead, when you submit your manuscript, please indicate this on your cover letter and note what part and section you feel will be the best fit. You can find a complete list of sections and other important information for authors in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C’s Author Guidelines.

As with all submissions to The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, your manuscript should represent a rigorous scientific report of original research, as it will be peer-reviewed as a regular article. Manuscripts are expected to provide new physical insight and/or present new theoretical or computational methods of broad interest.

Information for Authors

Submit Your Manuscript

If you are unsure if your research is within the Virtual Special Issue’s scope or have other questions about submitting a manuscript to this Virtual Special Issue, please email The Journal of Physical Chemistry C Deputy Editor Gregory Hartland’s office at

Call for Papers: AI for Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology has been successfully used to design biological systems with new and improved functions. However, due to the complexity of biological systems, performing synthetic biology in a quantitative and predictive manner still remains a challenge. In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that allow computers to learn from experience has emerged as a potentially powerful tool to address this challenge.

A new Virtual Special Issue from ACS Synthetic Biology will focus on this dynamic topic, including contributions that develop and apply AI and ML tools for synthetic biology applications. The issue will be led by Editor-in-Chief Huimin Zhao with Guest Editors Hector Garcia-Martin and Stanislav Mazurenko.

Relevant topics include:

  • AI/ML algorithms relevant to synthetic biology
  • AI/ML-guided peptide, protein, and antibody engineering
  • AI/ML-guided metabolic engineering
  • AI/ML for plant, microbial, and mammalian synthetic biology
  • AI/ML for bioprocess development
  • AI/ML for systems biology

Author Instructions:

To submit your manuscript, please visit the ACS Synthetic Biology website. Please follow the normal procedures for manuscript submission, and when in the ACS Paragon Plus submission site, select the special issue of “AI for Synthetic Biology.” All manuscripts will undergo the normal peer review process. For additional submission instructions, please see the ACS Synthetic Biology Author Guidelines.

The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2023.

Learn More About How to Submit

Need a Circuit? Just Print One

This article is based on a recent paper published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, “Thermal Transfer-Enabled Rapid Printing of Liquid Metal Circuits on Multiple Substrates.”

Read the full paper here

As electronics evolve, their component parts—including circuits—need to as well. New research published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces describes a method to print functional liquid circuitry on all manner of objects and surfaces—from smooth ceramics to the dimpled skin of an orange—using a standard laser printer.

Flexible Circuitry: Finding a Solution that Sticks

Most circuit boards used today are built with rigid materials, but as electronics become more widely incorporated in malleable products such as items of clothing or soft robots, there is now a greater need for flexible, low-cost circuitry. Liquid metal circuits have shown to be a promising solution, but current printing methods have proven to be both expensive and complex, rendering them impractical for large-scale production. Xian Huang and colleagues at Tanjin University in China began exploring a new printing approach in hopes of developing a cheaper, more efficient way of fabricating liquid metal circuits for use across many different materials.

While liquid metals have been used for a variety of applications in flexible materials and electronics, their high surface tension often leads to pattern distortion and weaker adhesive properties—making it difficult to successfully print directly on curved or uneven surfaces. To improve this process, the researchers presented a more universal technique for creating circuit patterns on thermal transfer paper using a standard desktop laser printer and Cu−Ag-EGaIn—a liquid metal obtained by melting silver−copper microparticles in a gallium−indium eutectic alloy.

Turning Any Surface Into a Circuit Board

Similar to iron-on decals for transferring photos or images onto clothing, the carbon-based toner was laid down by the laser printer and then heat-transferred to a pane of glass. The toner patterns roughened the glass and created a hydrophobic gap of air between the carbon and the Cu−Ag-EGaIn liquid metal, allowing only the exposed parts of the surface to stick to the electronic ink-based pattern when the liquid metal was brushed on top. The resulting circuit could then be mounted directly onto smooth surfaces, or, after applying a flexible polymer coating, onto rougher materials such as the bumpy skin of an orange.

Regardless of how they were attached, the simple electronics tested in the lab—which included LED displays, sound sensors, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) circuits—all functioned as intended on their underlying surfaces. These included wettable substrates such as thermoplastic polyurethane and glass as well as low-adhesion materials such as knitted fabric, paper, wood, and fruit. By demonstrating a cheaper, easier method of producing liquid metal circuits, this new technology has great potential to expand flexible circuitry across applications such as consumer electronics, health monitoring, wearable devices, and more.

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

Read the Full Press Release

Read the Original Article

Discover more research on liquid metals in ACS journals

  1. Kim, S. et al. Liquid-Metal-Coated Magnetic Particles toward Writable, Nonwettable, Stretchable Circuit Boards, and Directly Assembled Liquid Metal-Elastomer Conductors. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 32, 37110–37119
  2. Huang, C. et al. Soft and Stretchable Liquid Metal–Elastomer Composite for Wearable Electronics. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022, 14, 33, 38196–38204
  3. Bhuyan, P. et al. Soft and Stretchable Liquid Metal Composites with Shape Memory and Healable Conductivity. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 24, 28916–28924
  4. Lopes, P.A. et al. Bi-Phasic Ag–In–Ga-Embedded Elastomer Inks for Digitally Printed, Ultra-Stretchable, Multi-layer Electronics. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 12, 14552–14561
  5. Choi, D.Y. et al. Highly Stretchable, Hysteresis-Free Ionic Liquid-Based Strain Sensor for Precise Human Motion Monitoring. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 2, 1770–1780

ACS Publications Celebrates National Nanotechnology Day 2022

National Nanotechnology Day is an annual event held in recognition and celebration of the many ways in which nanotechnology impacts and enriches our daily lives. It occurs on the same day each year—October 9—in honor of the nanometer scale, 10-9 meters.

This year, National Nanotechnology Day focuses on the role nanotechnology plays in addressing the challenges and effects of climate change and helping us move toward a more sustainable future. To mark the occasion, we have provided a handpicked collection of recent, highly read papers from ACS Publications journals in this area.

Covering everything from smart textiles for healthcare to the applications of carbon dots for drought-resistant soybean crops, this selection showcases a wealth of innovative, cutting-edge nanotechnology research from ACS Publications authors around the world.

Explore Recent Nanotechnology Research from ACS Journals

Sustainable 3D Printing of Recyclable Biocomposite Empowered by Flash Graphene

Sustainable 3D Printing of Recyclable Biocomposite Empowered by Flash Graphene
ACS Nano 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.2c08157


Wood-Based Self-Supporting Nanoporous Three-Dimensional Electrode for High-Efficiency Battery Deionization

Wood-Based Self-Supporting Nanoporous Three-Dimensional Electrode for High-Efficiency Battery Deionization
Nano Lett. 2022, 22, 18, 7572–7578
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.2c02583


Long-Term Stable Elastocaloric Effect in a Heusler-Type Co51V33Ga16 Polycrystalline Alloy

Long-Term Stable Elastocaloric Effect in a Heusler-Type Co51V33Ga16 Polycrystalline Alloy
ACS Appl. Energy Mater. 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acsaem.2c02567


Long-Term Stable Elastocaloric Effect in a Heusler-Type Co51V33Ga16 Polycrystalline Alloy

Safe, Durable, and Sustainable Self-Powered Smart Contact Lenses
ACS Nano 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.2c05452


Tough, Highly Oriented, Super Thermal Insulating Regenerated All-Cellulose Sponge-Aerogel Fibers Integrating a Graded Aligned Nanostructure
Nano Lett. 2022, 22, 9, 3516–3524
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c03943


Wool Keratin Nanoparticle-Based Micropatterns for Cellular Guidance Applications

Wool Keratin Nanoparticle-Based Micropatterns for Cellular Guidance Applications
ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.2c03116


Smart Textiles for Healthcare and Sustainability

Smart Textiles for Healthcare and Sustainability
ACS Nano 2022, 16, 9, 13301–13313
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.2c06287


Near-Perfect Absorbing Copper Metamaterial for Solar Fuel Generation

Near-Perfect Absorbing Copper Metamaterial for Solar Fuel Generation
Nano Lett. 2021, 21, 21, 9124–9130
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c02886


Organocatalytic Enantioselective Synthesis of Axially Chiral Molecules: Development of Strategies and Skeletons

Organocatalytic Enantioselective Synthesis of Axially Chiral Molecules: Development of Strategies and Skeletons
Acc. Chem. Res. 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.2c00509


Carbon Dots Improve Nitrogen Bioavailability to Promote the Growth and Nutritional Quality of Soybeans under Drought Stress

Carbon Dots Improve Nitrogen Bioavailability to Promote the Growth and Nutritional Quality of Soybeans under Drought Stress
ACS Nano 2022, 16, 8, 12415–12424
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.2c03591


Outdoor Personal Thermal Management with Simultaneous Electricity Generation

Outdoor Personal Thermal Management with Simultaneous Electricity Generation
Nano Lett. 2021, 21, 9, 3879–3886
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c00400


Poly(cannabinoid)s: Hemp-Derived Biocompatible Thermoplastic Polyesters with Inherent Antioxidant Properties

Poly(cannabinoid)s: Hemp-Derived Biocompatible Thermoplastic Polyesters with Inherent Antioxidant Properties
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c05556


Star Polymers with Designed Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging and Agent Delivery Functionality Promote Plant Stress Tolerance

Star Polymers with Designed Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenging and Agent Delivery Functionality Promote Plant Stress Tolerance
ACS Nano 2022, 16, 3, 4467–4478
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.1c10828


Designing Mesoporous Photonic Structures for High-Performance Passive Daytime Radiative Cooling

Designing Mesoporous Photonic Structures for High-Performance Passive Daytime Radiative Cooling
Nano Lett. 2021, 21, 3, 1412–1418
DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c04241


Further Reading

Accounts of Chemical Research
ACS Applied Energy Materials
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

ACS Applied Nano Materials
ACS Nano
Nano Letters

Early Career Forum
ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2022

Forum Focused on Australian Authors
ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2022

Self-Assembled Nanomaterials
Acc. Chem. Res. 2022

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Goes to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 was awarded to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal, and K. Barry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” which involve simple, quick chemical reactions that can occur within living organisms without disrupting normal biological functions.

“We are absolutely delighted with these awards, which recognize the enormous impact of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” says ACS President Angela K. Wilson. “This type of chemistry links together chemical building blocks in a predictable way, almost like Lego®. Putting these building blocks together opens up a range of possibilities from drug development to materials to diagnostics.”

Bertozzi has a long-standing history with ACS. She has been a member for 32 years and is an ACS Fellow. She is also the founding and current Editor-in-Chief of ACS Central Science, the first fully open-access journal from ACS Publications. She has won numerous awards; notably, the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry for 2023; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 2017; the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 2001; and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1999. She has published more than 150 articles ACS journals and provided thought-provoking commentary in many editorials, a collection of which we have shared below.

Meldal has been a member of ACS for 14 years. In 2009, he received the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry. Meldal has published over 40 articles in ACS journals.

Sharpless is no stranger to the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He received the award in 2001 for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions. An ACS Fellow, Sharpless has been a member of the Society for 59 years and has published almost 150 articles in ACS journals. He also coined the term “click chemistry” at the 217th ACS National Meeting in 1999 in his abstract, “Click Chemistry: A Concept for Merging Process and Discovery Chemistry.” He has received many awards, including the Priestley Medal (sponsored by ACS) in 2019; the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry in 1997; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 1992; an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1986; and the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, in 1983.

All three winners have each published extensively in ACS Publications journals throughout the years. The following articles from each of the laureates, as well as a collection of additional papers associated with the winning research, will be made free-to-read for the remainder of 2022 in honor of their win.

Carolyn R. Bertozzi

A Strain-Promoted [3 + 2] Azide−alkyne Cycloaddition for Covalent Modification of Biomolecules in Living Systems
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 46, 15046–15047
DOI: 10.1021/ja044996f

Aminooxy-, Hydrazide-, and Thiosemicarbazide-Functionalized Saccharides: Versatile Reagents for Glycoconjugate Synthesis
J. Org. Chem. 1998, 63, 21, 7134–7135
DOI: 10.1021/jo981351n

A “Traceless” Staudinger Ligation for the Chemoselective Synthesis of Amide Bonds
Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 14, 2141–2143
DOI: 10.1021/ol006054v

A Fluorogenic Dye Activated by the Staudinger Ligation
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003, 125, 16, 4708–4709
DOI: 10.1021/ja029013y

Chemoselective Approaches to Glycoprotein Assembly
Acc. Chem. Res. 2001, 34, 9, 727–736
DOI: 10.1021/ar9901570

Rapid Cu-Free Click Chemistry with Readily Synthesized Biarylazacyclooctynones
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 11, 3688–3690
DOI: 10.1021/ja100014q

Second-Generation Difluorinated Cyclooctynes for Copper-Free Click Chemistry
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 34, 11486–11493
DOI: 10.1021/ja803086r

A Comparative Study of Bioorthogonal Reactions with Azides
ACS Chem. Biol. 2006, 1, 10, 644–648
DOI: 10.1021/cb6003228

Morten Meldal

Peptidotriazoles on Solid Phase:  [1,2,3]-Triazoles by Regiospecific Copper(I)-Catalyzed 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions of Terminal Alkynes to Azides
J. Org. Chem. 2002, 67, 9, 3057–3064
DOI: 10.1021/jo011148j

K. Barry Sharpless

Copper(I)-Catalyzed Synthesis of Azoles. DFT Study Predicts Unprecedented Reactivity and Intermediates
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 1, 210–216
DOI: 10.1021/ja0471525 

Related ACS Publications Articles

Influence of strain on chemical reactivity. Relative reactivity of torsionally strained double bonds in 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions
Shea, K. J. and Kim, J. S. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1992, 114, 12, 4846–4855
DOI: 10.1021/ja00038a059

Heats of hydrogenation. IX. Cyclic acetylenes and some miscellaneous olefins
Turner, R. B. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1973, 95, 3, 790–792.
DOI: 10.1021/ja00784a025

Staudinger Ligation: A Peptide from a Thioester and Azide
Nilsson, B. L. et al. Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 13, 1939–1941
DOI: 10.1021/ol0060174

A new amino protecting group removable by reduction. Chemistry of the dithiasuccinoyl (Dts) function
Barany, G. and Merrifield, R. B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1977, 99, 22, 7363–7365
DOI: 10.1021/ja00464a050

Tetrazine Ligation: Fast Bioconjugation Based on Inverse-Electron-Demand Diels−Alder Reactivity
Blackman, M. et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 41, 13518–13519
DOI: 10.1021/ja8053805

Tetrazine-Based Cycloadditions: Application to Pretargeted Live Cell Imaging
Devaraj, N. K. et al. Bioconjugate Chem. 2008, 19, 12, 2297–2299
DOI: 10.1021/bc8004446

Learn More About the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners in C&EN.


Further Reading

Articles: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

From Mechanism to Mouse: A Tale of Two Bioorthogonal Reactions
Acc. Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 9, 666–676
DOI: 10.1021/ar200148z

Cell Surface Engineering by a Modified Staudinger Reaction

Copper-free click chemistry for dynamic in vivo imaging

Engineering Chemical Reactivity on Cell Surfaces Through Oligosaccharide Biosynthesis

Copper-Free Click Chemistry in Living Animals

In Vivo Imaging of Membrane-Associated Glycans in Developing Zebrafish

Articles: Morten Meldal

Peptidotriazoles: Copper(I)-Catalyzed 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions on Solid-Phase
Peptides: The Wave of the Future. American Peptide Symposia, vol 7. Springer, Dordrecht.
DOI: 10.1007/978-94-010-0464-0_119

Computational Evolution of Threonine-Rich β-Hairpin Peptides Mimicking Specificity and Affinity of Antibodies
ACS Cent. Sci. 2019, 5, 2, 259–269
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.8b00614

Cu-Catalyzed Azide−Alkyne Cycloaddition
Chem. Rev. 2008, 108, 8, 2952–3015
DOI: 10.1021/cr0783479

Articles: K. Barry Sharpless

Sulfur [18F]Fluoride Exchange Click Chemistry Enabled Ultrafast LateStage Radiosynthesis
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 10, 3753–3763
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c09306

Sulfur(VI) Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx)-Enabled High-Throughput Medicinal Chemistry
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 25, 10899–10904
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b13652

SuFEx Click Chemistry Enabled Late-Stage Drug Functionalization
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 8, 2919–2925
DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b12788

In Situ Click Chemistry:  Enzyme Inhibitors Made to Their Own Specifications
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2004, 126, 40, 12809–12818
DOI: 10.1021/ja046382g

Editorials: Carolyn R. Bertozzi

The Centrality of Chemistry (Inaugural ACS Central Science editorial)
ACS Cent. Sci. 2015, 1, 1, 1–2
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00090

Achieving Gender Balance in the Chemistry Professoriate Is Not Rocket Science
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 4, 181–182
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00102

Ingredients for a Positive Safety Culture
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 11, 764–766
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00341

Postdoc Labor Love
ACS Cent. Sci. 2016, 2, 6, 359–360
DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00167

A Decade of Bioorthogonal Chemistry
Acc. Chem. Res. 2011, 44, 9, 651–653
DOI: 10.1021/ar200193f

Related Special Issues

Bioorthogonal Chemistry in Biology Special Issue

The 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Goes to Svante Pääbo

Svante Paabo, winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Credit: Frank Vinken/Max Planck Society

Svante Pääbo of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology was awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution,” which have unlocked new understandings of genetic relationships between modern humans and our ancient relatives.

Pääbo’s groundbreaking research has led to many novel discoveries about our evolutionary history and what makes us “uniquely human.” Notably, he and his colleagues successfully sequenced the entire Neanderthal genome, and he later discovered an entirely new hominin species, Denisova, by sequencing DNA from a well-preserved finger bone found in a Siberian cave.

These findings led Pääbo to help establish Paleogenomics, a novel field of science based on reconstructing and analyzing ancient DNA from extinct specimens. Pääbo’s discoveries have provided promising insights into how the gene flow from our ancient ancestors to modern-day humans influences physiological functions such as sleep cycles, immune responses to certain infections, and survival in high-altitude settings.

Pääbo has previously published work in Journal of Proteome Research, where he and his team analyzed differences in protein expression between humans and primates.

Read more about Svante Pääbo and his research in Chemical & Engineering News

Helping People Breathe Easy

An ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science Virtual Issue explores the molecular mechanisms and management of chronic respiratory diseases. 

The lungs are constantly exposed to a mix of noxious agents present in the air, including particles, chemicals, and infectious organisms.1  Globally, respiratory diseases cause a significant burden and are a leading cause of premature mortality.2 Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, lower respiratory infections were the leading cause of communicable death—responsible for more than 2 million deaths in 2019 and rising sharply in 2020.2 Despite this, many chronic respiratory conditions are poorly understood, and lack effective disease-modifying therapies.

This Virtual Issue in ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science showcases publications in three categories: SARS-CoV-2 infections, cystic fibrosis, and chronic respiratory diseases—looking at the role of chemistry in pushing the boundaries of basic, translational, and clinical research.3

The Next Generation of COVID-19 Treatments

By now, we are all very familiar with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)—the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection and that resulted in a global pandemic being declared in March 2020 by the World Health Organization. The speed at which COVID-19 vaccines were developed was remarkable, but scientists are now tackling the issue of vaccine-resistant variants. One study summarizes how next-generation COVID-19 vaccines can prevent the emergence of these variants by circumventing antigenic drift while defusing viral infections.4

Others are turning their attention to potential drug targets for COVID-19 infections, employing a hybrid in silico approach to build novel inhibitors of multiple variants using both machine learning and pharmacophore-based modeling.5

Several papers examine the dynamic structure–function and structure–free energy relationships of the virus’s main protease (Mpro), with a focus on characterizing the mechanism of action of six novel inhibitors directed against this structure.6,7 When used in combination with traditional antivirals, some of these agents show synergistic activity against SARS-CoV-2 replication.8 There is also a potential role for peptide-based antiviral therapy that blocks the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) prior to entry—the connecting point between the virus and the human surface receptor protein.9

New Approaches to Cystic Fibrosis Therapy

Cystic fibrosis is thought to affect at least 160,000 people worldwide, and many—particularly those in low-resource areas—are unable to access proper treatment.10 This Virtual Issue provides a review of preclinical and clinical emerging cystic fibrosis conductance regulators (CFTR modulators), examining their in vitro pharmacology and translation to the clinic.11 This is complemented by a summary of current knowledge about the use of CFTR modulators during pregnancy.12

Looking at Biomarkers for Chronic Respiratory Diseases

Addressing the burden of respiratory diseases requires improved diagnosis as well as treatment. One possibility is in identifying biomarkers for chronic respiratory diseases, such as interleukin (IL)-33 in COPD and asthma, or organoids and lung-on-a-chip in pulmonary fibrosis.13,14

With these recent advances in the field of respiratory diseases, the horizon looks optimistic for several approaches to translate into real-life patient applications.

Read the Special Issue


  1. Wisnivesky J, de-Torres JP. The Global Burden of Pulmonary Diseases: Most Prevalent Problems and Opportunities for Improvement. Annals of Global Health 2019;85(1):1.
  2. Leading causes of death globally. World Health Organization 2020.
  3. Virtual Issue: Chronic Conditions Affecting Lungs and Airways. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2022.
  4. Fernández A. Toward the Next-Generation COVID-19 Vaccines That Circumvent Antigenic Drift while Defusing Viral Infection. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2021;4:1018–1020.
  5. Jain S, et al. Hybrid In Silico Approach Reveals Novel Inhibitors of Multiple SARS-CoV-2 Variants. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2021;4:1675–1688.
  6. Wan H, et al. Probing the Dynamic Structure-Function and Structure-Free Energy Relationships of the Coronavirus Main Protease with Biodynamics Theory. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:1111–1143.
  7. Ma C, et al. Ebselen, Disulfiram, Carmofur, PX-12, Tideglusib, and Shikonin Are Nonspecific Promiscuous SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Inhibitors. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:1265–1277.
  8. Chen T, et al. Synergistic Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Replication Using Disulfiram/Ebselen and Remdesivir. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2021;4:898–907.
  9. Maiti BK. Potential Role of Peptide-Based Antiviral Therapy Against SARS-CoV-2 Infection. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:783–785.
  10. Guo J, et al. Worldwide rates of diagnosis and effective treatment for cystic fibrosis. J Cyst Fibros 2022;21(3):456–462.
  11. Ghelani DP, Schneider-Futschik EK. Emerging Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Modulators as New Drugs for Cystic Fibrosis: A Portrait of in Vitro Pharmacology and Clinical Translation. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:4–10.
  12. Qiu F, et al. Balance between the Safety of Mother, Fetus, and Newborn Undergoing Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Treatments during Pregnancy. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:835–843.
  13. Donovan C, Hansbro, PM. IL-33 in Chronic Respiratory Disease: From Preclinical to Clinical Studies. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2020;3:56–62.
  14. Jeong MH, et al. Recent Advances in Molecular Diagnosis of Pulmonary Fibrosis for Precision Medicine. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci 2022;5:520–538.

Meet the 2022 Analytical Chemistry Young Innovator Award Recipient: Dr. Radha Boya

Co-sponsored by Analytical Chemistry and The Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS), this annual award honors early-career researchers who demonstrate exceptional technical advancement and innovation in the field of microfluidics or nanofluidics. The winner receives an award plaque and an honorarium of US $2,500.

Meet the Recipient

Radha Boya, 2022 Analytical Chemistry Young Innovator Award Recipient

Radha Boya, FRSC, is a professor, Royal Society University Research fellow, and Kathleen Ollerenshaw fellow in the department of Physics & Astronomy, and National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

“I am deeply honored and very happy to receive this award. I believe this is a great time to be working on nanofluidics where many active researchers are in this field. I am extremely proud of my research group members, who are dedicated to solving some of the challenging problems in nano- and angstrom-scale fluidics,” says Dr. Boya.

About Dr. Radha Boya

After completing her Ph.D. in India and a brief post-doctoral stint in the United States, Dr. Boya secured a series of highly prestigious international research fellowships that enabled her to rapidly build her research profile in the United Kingdom (UK). During her Ph.D. at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research in India, Dr. Boya first worked on nanofluidics with Prof. G U Kulkarni where she used nanochannels as templates to create nanopatterns of metal-organics and self-assembled metal nanoparticles. In her postdoctoral work with Prof. Chad Mirkin at Northwestern University in the USA, she mostly worked on nanofabrication with dip-pen nanolithography. Following her move to the University of Manchester in the UK working with Sir Andre Konstantin Geim, FRS, HonFRSC, HonFInstP, Dr. Boya has devised nanofabrication methods to make ultimately narrow fluidic channels with angstrom-scale dimensions, by effectively removing a single atomic plane from a bulk layered crystal.

Dr. Boya’s research team investigates the properties of gas, liquids and ions confined in molecular scale with Angstrom (Å) -size capillaries constructed out of 2D-materials. Over the past few years, her work has demonstrated an unprecedented control in making ultra-fine Å-scale capillaries repeatedly. Her research team works on developing Å-capillaries as a platform to experimentally probe intriguing molecular-scale phenomena. As an example, it was shown that water flows through graphene Å-capillaries at an incredibly fast rate ~1 metre/sec while hexagonal boron nitride Å-capillaries (isostructural with graphite) show two orders of magnitude higher water friction. Studying gas flows through the Å-capillaries, they revealed that atomically-flat walls provided by 2D-crystals allow fully-specular reflection of gas molecules, resulting in their ballistic transport and, accordingly, a frictionless gas flow which is enhanced over two orders of magnitude than that expected from theoretical Knudsen description.

With the angstrom-scale and nanofluidic channels that Dr. Boya’s research group works on, interesting fundamental studies can be performed, and insights can be drawn into technological applications can be drawn. Ionic and molecular sieving is of huge importance in applications including desalination, water filtration, dialysis, chemical separation, sensing, and bioanalytics technologies. With the capillaries almost the size of common salt ions (6 to 9 Å), upon flowing salt water through capillaries, Dr. Boya, along with colleagues, showed that the salt ions reconfigured their hydration shell, becoming “squashed.” Without any functional groups on the surface, the nanochannels have to be at least half the size of the ion to sterically exclude the ions. In another collaborative study, they demonstrated voltage-gating of Å-capillaries by a new electro-hydrodynamic effect under coupled hydrostatic pressure and electric force. The Å-fluidic channels are an excellent platform to offer new routes to actively control molecular and ion transport and design elementary building blocks for artificial ionic machinery.

I caught up with Dr. Boya recently to learn more about her research and what’s next for her and her research group. Read highlights from our conversation below.

What advice would you give to upcoming researchers in the field?

Think broadly! Boundaries between the disciplines fade away in nanofluidics research, which has far-reaching applications in various fields like membranes, diagnostics, and smart ionic devices to name a few. Over the last decade, there have been several advances in nanofabrication and characterization tools that make it feasible to study fluidic phenomena at the molecular level. Now is a great time to be working in the field of nanofluidics, which is steadily moving towards angstrom-fluidics, so if you are looking to step into this research field go for it.

How will your work benefit society?

Membrane-based applications with nanoscale channels, such as osmotic power generation, desalination, and molecular separation would benefit from understanding the mechanisms of sieving, ways to decrease fluidic friction, and increasing the overall efficiency of the process. However, mechanisms that allow fast flows are not fully understood yet. Our work on angstrom-capillaries that are only few atoms thick, opens an avenue to investigate fundamental sieving mechanisms behind important applications such as filtration, separation of ions, molecules and gases, desalination, and fuel gas separation from refinery off-gases.

What’s next in your research?

We are working on methods to upscale the fabrication of nano- and angstrom-channels, combining diverse materials and a variety of fabrication methods. We will explore sieving with the nanochannels beyond simple size selection, e.g., what governs the selectivity between same-charge ions with similar hydrated diameters, such as that observed in sodium or calcium ion channels? Another interesting direction using nanochannels we will investigate is to mimic neuromorphic memory using electrolytes in 2D nanochannels. Collaborations with colleagues and across universities are going to be key in these near-future projects.

The Analytical Chemistry Lectureship Award 2022 recipient will present at the 26th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (µTAS 2022).

Learn more about last year’s winner.