Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Shape-memory materials can generate programmable movements triggered by an external stimulus, such as an environmental change. In this Review, the authors discuss mechanisms, fabrication schemes, characterization methods and applications of the one-way shape-memory effect enabling shape recovery and of reversible shape-memory effects exhibiting actuation behaviour.

    • Andreas Lendlein
    •  & Oliver E. C. Gould
  • Review Article |

    Man-made fibrillar hydrogels mimic the structure of filamentous extracellular matrices and can be used as biomaterials for 3D cell culture and tissue engineering. In this Review, the authors discuss the design and properties of fibrillar hydrogels and explore different building blocks, assembly mechanisms, properties and applications.

    • Elisabeth Prince
    •  & Eugenia Kumacheva
  • Review Article |

    Chalcogenide phase-change materials (PCMs) are leading candidates for non-volatile memory and neuro-inspired computing devices. This Review focuses on the crystallization mechanisms of PCMs as well as the design principles to achieve PCMs with high switching speeds and good data retention, which will aid the development of PCM-based universal memory and neuro-inspired devices.

    • Wei Zhang
    • , Riccardo Mazzarello
    • , Matthias Wuttig
    •  & Evan Ma
  • Review Article |

    Liquid cell electron microscopy provides a unique combination of spatial and temporal resolution, which is useful for imaging static and dynamic processes in liquids. In this Review, we discuss the resolution expected when imaging liquid specimens in transmission electron microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy and consider the benefits of spherical and chromatic aberration for resolution, image interpretability and dose efficiency.

    • Niels de Jonge
    • , Lothar Houben
    • , Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski
    •  & Frances M. Ross
  • Review Article |

    3D electrodes with interconnected and interpenetrating pathways enable efficient electron and ion transport. In this Review, the design and synthesis of such 3D electrodes are discussed, along with their ability to address charge transport limitations at high areal mass loading and to enable composite electrodes with an unprecedented combination of energy and power densities in electrochemical energy storage devices.

    • Hongtao Sun
    • , Jian Zhu
    • , Daniel Baumann
    • , Lele Peng
    • , Yuxi Xu
    • , Imran Shakir
    • , Yu Huang
    •  & Xiangfeng Duan
  • Review Article |

    Ingestible electronics can be used as clinical tools for diagnosis and therapy. In this Review, the authors discuss clinical applications of ingestible electronic devices and highlight materials and sensor technologies, drug delivery applications and major challenges and opportunities for clinical translation, such as safety, powering and communication.

    • Christoph Steiger
    • , Alex Abramson
    • , Phillip Nadeau
    • , Anantha P. Chandrakasan
    • , Robert Langer
    •  & Giovanni Traverso
  • Review Article |

    The dynamics of epithelial tissues play a key role in tissue organization, both in health and disease. In this Review, the authors discuss materials and techniques for the study of epithelial movement and mechanics and investigate epithelia as active matter from a theoretical and experimental perspective.

    • Wang Xi
    • , Thuan Beng Saw
    • , Delphine Delacour
    • , Chwee Teck Lim
    •  & Benoit Ladoux
  • Review Article |

    Holographic duality establishes a connection between quantum gravity and strongly correlated many-body systems, providing a unique opportunity to study quantum black holes in the laboratory. In this Review, Sachdev–Ye–Kitaev models, which illustrate this duality, are discussed, along with their potential realization in ultracold gases, graphene, semiconducting nanowires and 3D topological insulators.

    • Marcel Franz
    •  & Moshe Rozali
  • Review Article |

    Combining low-dimensional and 3D perovskites is a promising approach to achieve stable and efficient solar cells. In this Review, we discuss the structural, optical and photophysical properties of low-dimensional perovskites, compare the stability and efficiency of 2D and 3D perovskite devices, and consider 2D/3D composites as a strategy to increase the stability of perovskite solar cells.

    • Giulia Grancini
    •  & Mohammad Khaja Nazeeruddin
  • Review Article |

    Inorganic semiconductor devices enable the formation of functional interfaces with cells and tissues to detect or provide physical stimuli. In this Review, inorganic semiconductor materials are discussed for electronic and optoelectronic sensing, optoelectronic and photothermal stimulation and photoluminescent in vivo imaging.

    • Yuanwen Jiang
    •  & Bozhi Tian
  • Review Article |

    Sound waves can be manipulated using structurally designed 2D materials of subwavelength thickness. This emerging field, namely, acoustic metasurfaces, is driven by the desire to control acoustic wave propagation using compact devices.

    • Badreddine Assouar
    • , Bin Liang
    • , Ying Wu
    • , Yong Li
    • , Jian-Chun Cheng
    •  & Yun Jing
  • Review Article |

    Cells can be transplanted into the body to both repair injured or diseased tissue and restore tissue function. This Review discusses how biomaterial design strategies can be used to improve cell survival, influence the fate of transplanted cells, and favourably manipulate the host microenvironment and the immune system.

    • Nikolaos Mitrousis
    • , Ana Fokina
    •  & Molly S. Shoichet
  • Review Article |

    Graphene-integrated photonics is a platform for wafer-scale manufacturing of modulators, detectors and switches for next-generation datacom and telecom systems. This Review describes how these functions can be achieved with graphene layers placed on top of optical waveguides, acting as passive light guides, thus simplifying the current technology. In addition, a roadmap of the technological requirements for the datacom and telecom markets is presented.

    • Marco Romagnoli
    • , Vito Sorianello
    • , Michele Midrio
    • , Frank H. L. Koppens
    • , Cedric Huyghebaert
    • , Daniel Neumaier
    • , Paola Galli
    • , Wolfgang Templ
    • , Antonio D’Errico
    •  & Andrea C. Ferrari
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Review Article |

    Thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) emitters are promising electroluminescent materials for next-generation organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). In this Review, the molecular design, photophysical characteristics and OLEDs composed of small-molecule, dendritic and polymeric TADF emitters are discussed.

    • Yuchao Liu
    • , Chensen Li
    • , Zhongjie Ren
    • , Shouke Yan
    •  & Martin R. Bryce
  • Review Article |

    Nanofibrils are abundant and critical structural components in nature that can be exploited for novel and sustainable materials. In this Review, hierarchical design strategies for cellulose, silk and chitin nanofibrils in nature and in materials engineering are discussed.

    • Shengjie Ling
    • , David L. Kaplan
    •  & Markus J. Buehler
  • Review Article |

    Perovskite solar cells (PSCs) have emerged as a revolutionary class of photovoltaic technology. Here, we review recent progress and challenges in scaling up PSCs towards commercialization. We discuss several areas, including device architectures, deposition methods, scalable deposition of perovskite and charge transport layers, device stability, module-level characterization and techno-economic analyses.

    • Zhen Li
    • , Talysa R. Klein
    • , Dong Hoe Kim
    • , Mengjin Yang
    • , Joseph J. Berry
    • , Maikel F. A. M. van Hest
    •  & Kai Zhu
  • Perspective |

    Sodium-ion batteries are an appealing alternative to lithium-ion batteries because they use raw materials that are less expensive, more abundant and less toxic. The background leading to such promises is carefully assessed in terms of cell and battery production, as well as raw material supply risks, for sodium-ion and modern lithium-ion batteries.

    • Christoph Vaalma
    • , Daniel Buchholz
    • , Marcel Weil
    •  & Stefano Passerini
  • Review Article |

    Carbon nanomaterials have greatly advanced non-volatile memory technology. In this Review, applications of various carbon nanomaterials as memory electrodes, interfacial engineering layers, memory selectors and resistive-switching media are discussed in the context of emerging non-volatile memory devices.

    • Ethan C. Ahn
    • , H.-S. Philip Wong
    •  & Eric Pop
  • Review Article |

    Experimental and computational studies reveal numerous aspects of the molecular and hierarchical structure of spider silk and of its molecular dynamics. In this Review, we discuss the structure–function relationships of spider silk that can be elucidated from these studies and how this knowledge may enable the reverse engineering of spider silk.

    • Jeffery L. Yarger
    • , Brian R. Cherry
    •  & Arjan van der Vaart
  • Review Article |

    Non-fullerene acceptors have been widely used in organic solar cells over the past 3 years. This Review focuses on the two most promising classes of non-fullerene acceptors — rylene diimide-based materials and fused-ring electron acceptors — and discusses structure–property relationships, donor– acceptor matching criteria and device physics, as well as future research directions for the field.

    • Cenqi Yan
    • , Stephen Barlow
    • , Zhaohui Wang
    • , He Yan
    • , Alex K.-Y. Jen
    • , Seth R. Marder
    •  & Xiaowei Zhan
  • Review Article |

    Material engineering offers the possibility to guide the fate of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). This Review highlights integrin–growth factor receptor crosstalk mechanisms in MSC growth and differentiation, and material design strategies to trigger the synergistic signalling of integrins and growth factor receptors.

    • Matthew J. Dalby
    • , Andrés J. García
    •  & Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez
  • Review Article |

    Epitaxial hybrid nanostructures can show different functionalities and superior performance in applications from those of the individual components. This Review discusses the methods of preparation and techniques for characterization of epitaxial hybrid nanostructures with various architectures, and examines the role of epitaxial growth in influencing the properties and application performance of hybrid nanostructures.

    • Chaoliang Tan
    • , Junze Chen
    • , Xue-Jun Wu
    •  & Hua Zhang