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  1. Abstract Developing an eco-friendly, efficient, and highly selective gold-recovery technology is urgently needed in order to maintain sustainable environments and improve the utilization of resources. Here we report an additive-induced gold recovery paradigm based on precisely controlling the reciprocal transformation and instantaneous assembly of the second-sphere coordinated adducts formed between β-cyclodextrin and tetrabromoaurate anions. The additives initiate a rapid assembly process by co-occupying the binding cavity of β-cyclodextrin along with the tetrabromoaurate anions, leading to the formation of supramolecular polymers that precipitate from aqueous solutions as cocrystals. The efficiency of gold recovery reaches 99.8% when dibutyl carbitol is deployed as the additive. This cocrystallization is highly selective for square-planar tetrabromoaurate anions. In a laboratory-scale gold-recovery protocol, over 94% of gold in electronic waste was recovered at gold concentrations as low as 9.3 ppm. This simple protocol constitutes a promising paradigm for the sustainable recovery of gold, featuring reduced energy consumption, low cost inputs, and the avoidance of environmental pollution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Integrating multidisciplinary efforts from physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science, the field of single-molecule electronics has witnessed remarkable progress over the past two decades thanks to the development of single-molecule junction techniques. To date, researchers have interrogated charge transport across a broad spectrum of single molecules. While the electrical properties of covalently linked molecules have been extensively investigated, the impact of non-covalent interactions has only started to garner increasing attention in recent years. Undoubtedly, a deep understanding of both covalent and non-covalent interactions is imperative to expand the functionality and scalability of molecular-scale devices with the potential of using molecules as active components in various applications. In this review, we survey recent advances in probing how non-covalent interactions affect electron transmission through single molecules using single-molecule junction techniques. We concentrate on understanding the role of several key non-covalent interactions, including π–π and σ–σ stacking, hydrogen bonding, host–guest interactions, charge transfer complexation, and mechanically interlocked molecules. We aim to provide molecular-level insights into the structure–property relations of molecular junctions that feature these interactions from both experimental and theoretical perspectives. 
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  3. Helical aromatic oligoamide foldamers provide negative cavities that strongly bind dicationic guests, giving complexes as stable pseudofoldaxanes with few precedents.

     
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Developing efficient and stable earth-abundant electrocatalysts for acidic oxygen evolution reaction is the bottleneck for water splitting using proton exchange membrane electrolyzers. Here, we show that nanocrystalline CeO 2 in a Co 3 O 4 /CeO 2 nanocomposite can modify the redox properties of Co 3 O 4 and enhances its intrinsic oxygen evolution reaction activity, and combine electrochemical and structural characterizations including kinetic isotope effect, pH- and temperature-dependence, in situ Raman and ex situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy analyses to understand the origin. The local bonding environment of Co 3 O 4 can be modified after the introduction of nanocrystalline CeO 2 , which allows the Co III species to be easily oxidized into catalytically active Co IV species, bypassing the potential-determining surface reconstruction process. Co 3 O 4 /CeO 2 displays a comparable stability to Co 3 O 4 thus breaks the activity/stability tradeoff. This work not only establishes an efficient earth-abundant catalysts for acidic oxygen evolution reaction, but also provides strategies for designing more active catalysts for other reactions. 
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  5. Although catenanes comprising two ring-shaped components can be made in large quantities by templation, the preparation of three-dimensional (3D) catenanes with cage-shaped components is still in its infancy. Here, we report the design and syntheses of two 3D catenanes by a sequence of S N 2 reactions in one pot. The resulting triply mechanically interlocked molecules were fully characterized in both the solution and solid states. Mechanistic studies have revealed that a suit[3]ane, which contains a threefold symmetric cage component as the suit and a tribromide component as the body, is formed at elevated temperatures. This suit[3]ane was identified as the key reactive intermediate for the selective formation of the two 3D catenanes which do not represent thermodynamic minima. We foresee a future in which this particular synthetic strategy guides the rational design and production of mechanically interlocked molecules under kinetic control. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Electrochemical synthesis of hydrogen peroxide (H 2 O 2 ) in acidic solution can enable the electro-Fenton process for decentralized environmental remediation, but robust and inexpensive electrocatalysts for the selective two-electron oxygen reduction reaction (2e − ORR) are lacking. Here, we present a joint computational/experimental study that shows both structural polymorphs of earth-abundant cobalt diselenide (orthorhombic o -CoSe 2 and cubic c -CoSe 2 ) are stable against surface oxidation and catalyst leaching due to the weak O* binding to Se sites, are highly active and selective for the 2e − ORR, and deliver higher kinetic current densities for H 2 O 2 production than the state-of-the-art noble metal or single-atom catalysts in acidic solution. o -CoSe 2 nanowires directly grown on carbon paper electrodes allow for the steady bulk electrosynthesis of H 2 O 2 in 0.05 M H 2 SO 4 with a practically useful accumulated concentration of 547 ppm, the highest among the reported 2e − ORR catalysts in acidic solution. Such efficient and stable H 2 O 2 electrogeneration further enables the effective electro-Fenton process for model organic pollutant degradation. 
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