Open AccessCCS ChemistryEDITORIAL1 May 2021


      The 32nd CCS Congress recently took place on April 19–22, 2021 in the beautiful coastal city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province on the southern coast of China. The meeting was originally scheduled to be held in May 2020, but was rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020. After the delay of the meeting in 2020, there was much anticipation and excitement for the 32nd CCS Congress to take place, and the meeting did not disappoint, attracting over 10,000 attendees, including more than 70 Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). There were 57 presentation sessions, eight symposia, and more than 8500 papers communicated, which is a new record in the meeting’s 88 year history. With the uncertainties around the spread of COVID-19, this year’s Congress included some especially innovative approaches to allow widespread participation in the conference, including a simultaneous broadcast of the opening ceremony around the world, online poster displays, a personal QR code for attendees, and continuous scheduling and planning adjustments to anticipate and accommodate epidemic control.

      The theme of the 32nd CCS Congress was “Empowering Chemistry, Empowering the Future,” recognizing the critical role that chemists will play in the future of human progress. The opening ceremony was viewed by more than 180,000 people around the world via livestream and included presentations from CAS Academicians Prof. Song Gao, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST), and Prof. Jiannian Yao, Chairman of CCS, Chairman of the CCS Congress, and CCS Chemistry Editor-in-Chief, and several others. Prof. Gao lauded CCS for its leadership and influence both in industry and academia, including earning the ranking of a five-star society in 2020. Prof. Yao remarked on the importance of chemistry as the central science to accelerate the development of interdisciplinary fields that will ultimately lead to paradigm shifts in science and technology. The Congress was presided over by Prof. Qinghua Fan, Secretary General of the CCS.

      The Opening Ceremony of the 32nd CCS Congress in Zhuhai, Guangdong. Over 180,000 people around the world watched the ceremony live in person and via livestreaming.

      The CCS Congress has been a long-standing tradition of the society since it was founded in 1932. The first meeting was held in Nanjing in 1933 with 46 attendees. Up until 1948, a total of 15 Congresses had taken place, and in the years following, the Congress was held at irregular intervals until 2004. Since the 24th CCS Congress at Hunan University in Changsha in 2004, the CCS Congress has been held every 2 years and has grown in influence and attendance each year, exceeding 10,000 attendees in 2016, a trend that has continued for subsequent meetings.

      The CCS Congress is the largest and most influential exchange platform for Chinese chemists, and it provides an important glimpse into the rapid development of chemistry in China. While most of the presentations are in Chinese and aimed at bringing together domestic chemists, international scholars are invited to attend. Recently, sister societies, such as the American Chemical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry, have organized activities and symposia in partnership with CCS during the Congress. Recognizing the importance of global communication among scientists, CCS has been working to make the meeting a venue for chemists around the world to communicate with each other.

      In addition to the broad exchange of ideas in chemistry and the chemical sciences, another important function of the CCS Congress is to provide an opportunity to recognize outstanding achievements in chemistry in China. At the meeting in Zhuhai, more than 60 awards were given to chemists from China, and one award was presented to an international chemist. Awards presented included: the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Young Chemistry Awards of the Chinese Chemical Society, the 2019 and 2020 Chemistry Fundamental Education Awards of the Chinese Chemical Society, the 7th Chinese Chemical Society-Royal Society of Chemistry Young Chemistry Award, the 10th Chinese Chemical Society-BASF Youth Knowledge Innovation Award, the 5th Chinese Chemical Society-Evonik Chemical Innovation Award, and the 7th Chinese Chemical Society-China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation Chemical Contribution Award.

      In addition to the CCS Congress, we also strive at CCS to communicate the most impactful research from around the world in our flagship publication, CCS Chemistry. The communication and publication of important works in chemistry is an important mission of CCS. We are well into our third volume of CCS Chemistry, which now has new issues each month. In this May issue, we present one Mini Review, two Communications, and 15 Research Articles spanning research progress in near-infrared self-assembling materials, sodium-ion batteries, asymmetric catalytic synthesis, and synergistic cancer therapy. A summary of each article in this issue is presented below.

      -Organic Near-Infrared (NIR) Materials. Organic NIR materials may have a wide array of applications, such as biological imaging, photoacoustic imaging, photodynamic therapy, photothermal therapy, and optoelectronic materials. Xuehai Yan and coworkers review supramolecular assemblies of organic dye molecules with J-aggregation, which lead to a superlarge redshifted absorption and provide a supramolecular way to construct NIR materials.

      -Synthesis of Cycloarenes. Cycloarenes are a class of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with a unique electronic structure, but their synthesis is very challenging. Jishan Wu and coworkers report the synthesis of aryl-substituted kekulene and octulene primarily involving macrocyclization by the Suzuki coupling reaction, followed by bismuth(III) triflate-catalyzed cyclization of vinyl ethers.

      -Fluorine Chemistry. Introduction of a CF3S group onto biologically active molecules often leads to profound changes in physicochemical and pharmacokinetic properties. Xingang Zhang and coworkers develop a copper-catalyzed enantioselective trifluoromethylthiolation of secondary propargyl sulfonates with AgSCF3, representing a new way for the asymmetric synthesis of trifluoromethylthiolated molecules.

      -Fuel Cell Catalysis. Shengqian Ma, Xiangke Wang, He Tian and coworkers report a simple procedure for the fabrication of CrN4 nanoparticles encapsulated in hollow chromium–nitrogen–carbon capsules, which exhibit outstanding electrocatalytic activity and good long-term stability as a cathode material in a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell.

      -Photodynamic Therapy. Xian-Zheng Zhang and coworkers fabricate poly-pyridone-loaded metal–organic framework (MOF) through in situ polymerization, which is used as a reservoir of singlet oxygen (1O2). The nanoscale polymer-loaded MOF displays good therapeutic effect in the treatment of both solid tumor and lung metastatic cancer.

      -Rh(III)-Catalyzed Selective Cyclization. Zhi-Tao He, Xin Hong, Ping Tian, Guo-Qiang Lin and coworkers report the first trans-exo-selective arylative cyclization of 1,6-enynes initiated by rhodium(III)-catalyzed C–H activation. Further applications in modifying natural products, pharmaceutical compounds, and bioactive molecules were also demonstrated.

      -Lithium–Oxygen Batteries. Qiang Wu, Xizhang Wang, Zheng Hu and coworkers report the fabrication of high-efficient Li–O2 batteries with two Fe-based non-macrocyclic molecules as soluble redox mediators. The concentrations of the redox mediators can remain high in the electrolyte, leading to high rate capability and cycling stability of the Li–O2 batteries.

      -Self-Healing Materials. Yulan Chen and coworkers synthesize a covalently cross-linked polyolefin that is both mechanically robust and self-healing, benefiting from the high chain mobility and large number of hydrogen bonds. It is noteworthy that mechanically induced chemiluminescence of the healed samples provides an interesting way to evaluate how the chain entanglement proceeds during the healing process

      -Sodium-Ion Batteries. Ning Lin, Yitai Qian, Shimou Chen, Jianbo Liang and coworkers prepare a double-serrated orthorhombic Sb2O3 microbelt, which exhibits a quasi-1D volume expansion perpendicular to the belt. This anisotropic expansion endowed the microbelts with good structural stability and enhanced sodium-storage performance in sodium-ion batteries.

      -Multiplexed Analytical Assays. One of the difficulties of a multiplexed analytical assay is matching the concentration range of different markers. Xingyu Jiang and coworkers develop an automatic, multiplexed point-of-care immunoassay with tunable detection range. Moreover, multiple markers are integrated into one straightforward parameter for improving the diagnostic accuracy.

      -Metal–Organic Cages. Porous supramolecular frameworks based on metal–organic cages (MOC) usually have poor structural stability after activation. Daqiang Yuan and coworkers synthesize a polyurea-supported MOC-based supramolecular framework through in situ catalytic polymerization, which exhibits greatly improved high-pressure methane uptake owing to stabilization of the fragile frameworks.

      -Synergistic Cancer Therapy. Deju Ye and coworkers fabricate tumor-targeting and degradable CuS-containing hybrid nanoparticles for fluorescence imaging-guided synergistic phototherapy of cancer under low-power NIR-II light irradiation. The combination of photothermal therapy, alkyl radical therapy and chemodynamic therapy of the nanoparticles substantially enhances therapeutic efficacy to inhibit tumor growth in mice.

      -Sodium-Ion Batteries. Hao Jiang, Chunzhong Li and coworkers synthesize three-dimensional Co-MoS2 nanoflowers with high electron/ion dual-conducting capability and electrochemical reversibility, hence displaying superior sodium-storage performance. This study provides important insights into promoting 2D nanomaterials toward rapid charging and long life alkali-ion batteries.

      -Nanosized Shape Amphiphiles. Mingjun Huang, Stephen Z. D. Cheng and coworkers report that two sets of triphenylene-based nanosized shape amphiphiles self-assemble into a variety of unconventional spherical packing structures, including the Frank–Kasper σ phase and dodecagonal quasicrystal. This discovery may facilitate the development of triphenylene-based functional materials.

      -Selective Hydrogenation of Alkynes. Selective hydrogenation of alkynes to alkenes remains challenging in the field of catalysis because it is easy to overhydrogenate alkynes into alkanes. Fengwei Huo, Weina Zhang, David Wei and coworkers demonstrate successfully the use of metal-O clusters within MOFs to precisely regulate the interfacial electronic status of Pt nanoparticles for promoting the selective hydrogenation of phenylacetylene.

      -Block-Copolymer 2D Materials. Yue Zhao, Feng He and coworkers observe the formation of uniform and controllable 2D micelles from rod–coil diblock copolymers of poly(p-phenylenevinylene) with branched alkyl chains and poly(2-vinylpyridine). Engineering the thickness of the insulating poly(2-vinylpyridine) layer could effectively turn off the vertical conductivity in the prepared 2D tunneling devices and produce a nanoscale pressure sensor.

      -Chemodynamic Therapy. Two challenging obstacles to efficient chemodynamic therapy that cannot be overlooked are tumor hypoxia and antioxidant defense system. Zhihe Qing, Ronghua Yang and coworkers develop an activatable nano-enzyme reactor containing glucose oxidase and MnO2 nanosheets, which simultaneously improves O2 level and depletes antioxidants for enhancing cancer chemodynamic and starving therapy.

      -Porous Carbon Nanostructures. Yiyong Mai, Hao Wei, and coworkers report the tunable fabrication of silica-hybridized mesoporous carbon nanoparticles (MCNs) with well-defined closed spherical and hollow-hoop mesopores. The hollow-hoop mesopores may facilitate electron transport and inhibit the polysulfide shuttling effect, thus affording the MCNs excellent electrochemical performance when serving as cathode materials of Li–S batteries.

      Chemistry as a field continues to diversify and become increasingly intertwined with tangential research disciplines, as can be observed in the articles published in this issue of CCS Chemistry, as well as from the outstanding research that was presented at the CCS Chemistry Symposium on New Frontiers in Interdisciplinary Chemistry held on April 20th and 21st during the CCS Congress. Both the broadening of chemistry and the understanding and refining of pure techniques, can lead to new understandings that will shape the field as we move forward. In each issue of CCS Chemistry, we concisely capture some of the most transformative of these results in order to provide cross-fertilization to take modern chemical research to the next level.

      We hope that the work in this issue of CCS Chemistry will expand your knowledge and provide a glimpse of the exciting research in chemistry happening around the globe. Being an international journal, excellent submissions from all countries are welcome in CCS Chemistry. CCS is a global society of chemists who value communicating, promoting, and teaching chemistry. And, as a scientific society, we go the extra mile to provide the international community of researchers a quality journal that they can trust for the publication of their best work. We hope you will consider CCS Chemistry for your next transformative research result. If you have any questions about publishing your best work in CCS Chemistry, please contact us.