Nature Chemistry | The Sceptical Chymist

NChem Research Highlights: Straight iron, protein binding and H-graphene

Like a cricket pitch with autumnal goal-posts, here’s a small sign of time passing: Research Highlights are now going to be more like 200 words than 250. Why? Because the print version of Nature Chemistry will require shorter stories, so we need to get in the habit now! I hope you’ve enjoyed the bonus 50 or so words per article – you’ll never have it so good again!

So anyway, onto the science. Of the few two-coordinate iron complexes known, most aren’t straight because the sneaky iron atom tries to increase its coordination by latching onto the other bits of the ligands. The tertiary-butyl amide complex recently made, however, IS linear. This gives rise to some slightly odd magnetic properties.

How proteins fold up into their beta-sheets is pretty important, especially because misfolding is implicated in some diseases/disorders. Some aminopyrazole derivatives could prevent misfolding, and now how they interact with peptides has been investigated in the gas phase. This led to all sorts of information about the conformation and H-bonding.

Graphene is the two-dimensional nanocarbon poster-child that lots of people are getting excited about – it’s even on the BBC website. But what if you could add hydrogen atoms to the sheets, and create ‘graphane’? Well…Andre ‘Mr Graphene’ Geim and Kostya Novoselov have hydrogenated graphene and found that it not only buckles up, but also changes into an insulator. Graphene for hydrogen storage, anyone??

And finally…while some things change (JACS has got cover “artwork” [mmm, nice spectra]), other things don’t (the RSC has got a press release with no discernable science)!


Neil Withers (Associate Editor, Nature Chemistry)


  1. Report this comment

    Valentin Ananikov said:

    Iron chemistry is going to occupy a straight way to state-of-the-art research level (or it is already?). Anyway, it’s all around us. By inserting “Fe” into the title of grant application one may get an order of magnitude increase of chances for being supported.

    Neil, besides that Fe is very cheap and chemical applications are somehow new, what do you expect the iron story to end up with?