Browse Articles

  • Review Article |

    A responsive material in the form of a polymer or hydrogel can be combined with a signal transduction element in the form of plasmonic particles, resulting in hybrid plasmonic polymer nanocomposites. In this Review, the fabrication and applications of such nanocomposites are discussed. The applications described focus on optical data storage, sensing and imaging and the use of photothermal gels for in vivo therapy.

    • Isabel Pastoriza-Santos
    • , Calum Kinnear
    • , Jorge Pérez-Juste
    • , Paul Mulvaney
    •  & Luis M. Liz-Marzán
  • Review Article |

    This Review discusses how biomaterials can be used to recreate and understand the influence of specific tumour microenvironment properties on cancer progression and highlights materials-based strategies to capture, detect and assess metastatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

    • Pranjali Beri
    • , Bibiana F. Matte
    • , Laurent Fattet
    • , Daehwan Kim
    • , Jing Yang
    •  & Adam J. Engler
  • Editorial |

    Synchrotron radiation has revolutionized our ability to probe and understand the intrinsic properties of materials. A new generation of synchrotron facilities and techniques is emerging, extending our capabilities in materials characterization.

  • Review Article |

    Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) is a powerful experimental technique that can directly visualize electronic structures of materials. In this Review, the basic principles of ARPES are introduced, and its application to quantum materials, with a focus on topological quantum materials and transition metal dichalcogenides, is discussed.

    • Haifeng Yang
    • , Aiji Liang
    • , Cheng Chen
    • , Chaofan Zhang
    • , Niels B. M. Schroeter
    •  & Yulin Chen
  • In the Classroom |

    Combining data from neutron and X-ray techniques can reveal previously unseen details within fossilized remains. Interpretation of vast amounts of data by students speeds up the gathering of information and engages young scientists in the discovery process.

    • Joseph J. Bevitt
  • Review Article |

    The past four decades have seen breathtaking developments in techniques and applications using synchrotron radiation for the characterization of heterogeneous catalysts and catalytic processes. In this Review, we discuss recent advances, focusing on spatial and temporal explorations of the solid catalyst.

    • Florian Meirer
    •  & Bert M. Weckhuysen
  • Review Article |

    Photon spectroscopies provide insight into a wide range of materials. In this Review, theoretical and computational efforts to understand, simulate and predict the results of photon spectroscopies are assessed for systems both in and out of equilibrium, with a focus on advances that reveal information about correlated materials.

    • Yao Wang
    • , Martin Claassen
    • , Chaitanya Das Pemmaraju
    • , Chunjing Jia
    • , Brian Moritz
    •  & Thomas P. Devereaux
  • Comment |

    X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) are revolutionizing our ability to measure and understand the behaviour of complex materials. A new generation of XFELs is imminent, offering new approaches to materials characterization.

    • Mike Dunne
  • Comment |

    An intergovernmental research facility in Jordan — SESAME — opened its doors in 2017 to researchers from the neighbouring region. A year later, the first experiments by users are revealing how the possibilities for scientific research in the region have increased, bringing the promise for rapid development and the initiation of new collaborations.

    • Rolf Heuer
    •  & James Gillies
  • Review Article |

    Interactions of nanoparticles with the kidneys affect their transport, clearance, targeting, therapeutic efficacy and biosafety in the body. This Review discusses nano–bio interactions of nanoparticles in the kidneys and highlights their potential for the detection and treatment of disease.

    • Bujie Du
    • , Mengxiao Yu
    •  & Jie Zheng
  • Feature |

    The new European Spallation Source (ESS) and the MAX IV synchrotron in Sweden form the next European hub for accelerator-based research. Following visits to these centres, and participating in the Big Science Business Forum 2018 (BSBF2018) in Copenhagen, the future of European X-ray and neutron beamlines is explored.

    • Christine-Maria Horejs
  • Review Article |

    Organ-on-a-chip devices can recreate key aspects of human physiology in vitro, offering an alternative to animal models for preclinical drug testing. This Review examines how tissue barrier properties, parenchymal tissue function and multi-organ interactions can be recreated in organ-on-a-chip systems and applied for drug screening.

    • Boyang Zhang
    • , Anastasia Korolj
    • , Benjamin Fook Lun Lai
    •  & Milica Radisic
  • Review Article |

    Heusler compounds, Weyl semimetals and the Berry phase are three current research fields of great interest. In this Review, we discuss the connection between the Berry phase and Weyl physics in the context of highly tunable Heusler compounds.

    • Kaustuv Manna
    • , Yan Sun
    • , Lukas Muechler
    • , Jürgen Kübler
    •  & Claudia Felser
  • Comment |

    To protect our cultural heritage, it is essential that we understand the material properties of artefacts. Detailed information can be obtained on complex and often highly degraded materials using synchrotron X-ray analysis, aiding our ability to design effective stabilization and remediation strategies.

    • Eleanor J. Schofield
  • Review Article |

    Nanoplasmonics have emerged as a promising technology for applications in life sciences and medicine. In this Review, we discuss the application of nanoplasmonic optical antennas for in vivo intracellular exploration, photonic gene delivery and regulation, and in vitro molecular diagnostics.

    • Hongbao Xin
    • , Bumseok Namgung
    •  & Luke P. Lee
  • Review Article |

    The stress that a material can sustain before fracture increases as the sample size decreases. This size effect is associated with the defects present in a material. In this Review, we explore this size effect in micro- and nanoscale materials from experimental and theoretical perspectives.

    • Alessandro Taloni
    • , Michele Vodret
    • , Giulio Costantini
    •  & Stefano Zapperi
  • Review Article |

    Point defects have a key role in determining the performance of photovoltaic materials. In this Review, we assess defect processes in a range of photovoltaic materials and outline how point defect engineering could be used to improve the efficiency of solar cells.

    • Ji Sang Park
    • , Sunghyun Kim
    • , Zijuan Xie
    •  & Aron Walsh
  • Review Article |

    Endogenous stem cells play a key role in the repair and remodelling of tissues and organs in the body. This Review discusses endogenous stem cell populations of different tissues and investigates regeneration approaches in combination with natural and synthetic biomaterials.

    • Huimin Xia
    • , Xin Li
    • , Weiwei Gao
    • , Xin Fu
    • , Ronnie H. Fang
    • , Liangfang Zhang
    •  & Kang Zhang
  • Review Article |

    In quantum materials, ultrashort light pulses can induce transitions between electronic phases, switch ferroic orders and unveil non-equilibrium emergent behaviours. Here, we review the use of femtosecond X-ray pulses in tracking the underlying dynamics of the structural, electronic and magnetic order in these systems.

    • Michele Buzzi
    • , Michael Först
    • , Roman Mankowsky
    •  & Andrea Cavalleri
  • Review Article |

    The extracellular matrix is nature’s template for an ideal biomaterial to guide tissue homeostasis and repair. In this Review, matrix-mimicking biomaterials and decellularized matrices are discussed for their potential to reconstruct and repair tissues in vitro and in vivo.

    • George S. Hussey
    • , Jenna L. Dziki
    •  & Stephen F. Badylak
  • Editorial |

    Materials and technologies used to make soft robots that can safely interact with humans are avidly explored. A wealth of applications are in reach for soft robots but a number of challenges remain.

  • Review Article |

    Soft robots have broad applications in medicine. In this Review, biomedical applications, including surgery, drug delivery, prostheses, wearable devices and artificial organs, are discussed in the context of materials, actuation strategies and challenges.

    • Matteo Cianchetti
    • , Cecilia Laschi
    • , Arianna Menciassi
    •  & Paolo Dario
  • Review Article |

    Hydrogel ionotronics employ hydrogels as stretchable, transparent, ionic conductors for the development of ionotronic devices, such as artificial muscles, skins and axons. This Review discusses the mechanical properties and chemistry of materials for hydrogel ionotronic devices and highlights possible applications.

    • Canhui Yang
    •  & Zhigang Suo
  • Review Article |

    Microrobots are envisioned to revolutionize microsurgery and targeted drug delivery. Their design, operation, locomotion and interaction with the environment are inspired by microorganisms. This Review highlights soft, responsive and active materials for the development of (semi-)autonomous microrobots.

    • Stefano Palagi
    •  & Peer Fischer
  • Review Article |

    Inspired by biological systems, engineers are exploring origami folding with smart material actuation to enable intrinsically actuated designs with complex functionalities and easy fabrication. This Review highlights recent advances in the design, fabrication and control of these origami robots.

    • Daniela Rus
    •  & Michael T. Tolley
  • Review Article |

    3D printing can be used to directly fabricate soft robots. This Review discusses advances in 3D printing technologies and soft materials for the fabrication of soft robotic systems with sophisticated capabilities, such as 3D movement and responsiveness to the environment.

    • T. J. Wallin
    • , J. Pikul
    •  & R. F. Shepherd
  • Comment |

    ‘Push-button’ or fully automated manufacturing would enable the production of robots with zero intervention from human hands. Realizing this utopia requires a fundamental shift from a sequential (design–materials–manufacturing) to a concurrent design methodology.

    • Jamie Paik
  • Comment |

    The field of soft wearable robotics offers the opportunity to wear robots like clothes to assist the movement of specific body parts or to endow the body with functionalities. Collaborative efforts of materials, apparel and robotics science have already led to the development of wearable technologies for physical therapy. Optimizing the human–robot system by human-in-the-loop approaches will pave the way for personalized soft wearable robots for a variety of applications.

    • Conor Walsh
  • Review Article |

    Realizing topological superconductivity and Majorana zero modes in the laboratory is a major goal in condensed-matter physics. In this Review, the rapidly developing field is surveyed, with a focus on the realization of topological superconductivity in semiconductor–superconductor heterostructures.

    • R. M. Lutchyn
    • , E. P. A. M. Bakkers
    • , L. P. Kouwenhoven
    • , P. Krogstrup
    • , C. M. Marcus
    •  & Y. Oreg
  • Review Article |

    Atom-like quantum emitters in solids have emerged as promising building blocks for quantum information processing. In this Review, recent advances in three leading material platforms—diamond, silicon carbide and atomically thin semiconductors—are summarized, with a focus on applications in quantum networks

    • Mete Atatüre
    • , Dirk Englund
    • , Nick Vamivakas
    • , Sang-Yun Lee
    •  & Joerg Wrachtrup
  • Review Article |

    Biofabrication can be applied to replicate tissues and organs for regenerative medicine and for the creation of 3D in vitro tissue models. In this Review, the recent advances in biomaterials and biofabrication technologies are discussed, and challenges and opportunities are highlighted.

    • Lorenzo Moroni
    • , Jason A. Burdick
    • , Christopher Highley
    • , Sang Jin Lee
    • , Yuya Morimoto
    • , Shoji Takeuchi
    •  & James J. Yoo
  • Perspective |

    The discovery and development of advanced materials are imperative for the clean energy sector. We envision that a closed-loop approach, which combines high-throughput computation, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, will sizeably reduce the time to deployment and the costs associated with materials development.

    • Daniel P. Tabor
    • , Loïc M. Roch
    • , Semion K. Saikin
    • , Christoph Kreisbeck
    • , Dennis Sheberla
    • , Joseph H. Montoya
    • , Shyam Dwaraknath
    • , Muratahan Aykol
    • , Carlos Ortiz
    • , Hermann Tribukait
    • , Carlos Amador-Bedolla
    • , Christoph J. Brabec
    • , Benji Maruyama
    • , Kristin A. Persson
    •  & Alán Aspuru-Guzik