Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Mechanical metamaterials exhibit exotic properties that cannot be realized in conventional materials. In this Review, recently developed shape-morphing, topological and nonlinear metamaterials are discussed together with their functionalities and design principles, and future challenges for the field are outlined.

    • Katia Bertoldi
    • , Vincenzo Vitelli
    • , Johan Christensen
    •  & Martin van Hecke
  • Review Article |

    Coherent perfect absorbers (CPAs) are electromagnetic structures in which the absorption of electromagnetic energy is assisted by the interference of incident waves. This Review summarizes the fundamental principles, implementations and promising applications of CPAs for the linear control of light with light.

    • Denis G. Baranov
    • , Alex Krasnok
    • , Timur Shegai
    • , Andrea Alù
    •  & Yidong Chong
  • Review Article |

    Singlet exciton fission is a carrier multiplication process in organic semiconductors that could be used to enhance the efficiency of conventional inorganic solar cells and break the Shockley–Queisser limit of single-junction photovoltaics. In this Review, recent progress in the field is assessed, highlighting the key results and identifying the crucial challenges ahead.

    • Akshay Rao
    •  & Richard H. Friend
  • Review Article |

    Tuning the surface strain in multimetallic nanomaterials represents an effective strategy to improve their electrocatalytic properties. In this Review, using the oxygen reduction reaction as a model, the underlying relationship between surface strain and catalytic activity is discussed, along with the introduction, tuning and quantification of strain in nanocatalysts.

    • Mingchuan Luo
    •  & Shaojun Guo
  • Review Article |

    Picoscale engineering of bonds is a powerful method to tune materials properties. Transcending nanoscience, picoscience offers the ultimate length scale to manipulate materials through subtle bond distortions between individual atoms, as this Review discusses through several examples ranging from perovskites to superconductors and to topological materials.

    • Sohrab Ismail-Beigi
    • , Frederick J. Walker
    • , Ankit S. Disa
    • , Karin M. Rabe
    •  & Charles H. Ahn
  • Review Article |

    This Review summarizes recent advances in the field of mRNA therapeutics. The synthetic materials that encapsulate and deliver mRNA payloads are described, alongside an overview of commercial development of mRNA drugs.

    • Khalid A. Hajj
    •  & Kathryn A. Whitehead
  • Review Article |

    Tetradymite-type materials, such as Bi2Te3, have for decades been of interest as excellent thermoelectrics near ambient temperature and have recently enabled many seminal studies on topological insulators. In this Review, we discuss the recent progress in optimizing the properties of bulk and thin-film tetradymites for such studies.

    • Joseph P. Heremans
    • , Robert J. Cava
    •  & Nitin Samarth
  • Review Article |

    Inorganic oxide materials are used in semiconductor electronics, ion exchange, catalysis, coatings, gas sensors and as separation materials. In this Review, we explain how polyoxometalate clusters are amenable to molecular control and can be assembled into inorganic frameworks owing to the molecular nature of their building blocks.

    • Laia Vilà-Nadal
    •  & Leroy Cronin
  • Review Article |

    The discovery of new thermoelectric materials is challenging owing to the diversity of the chemical space and to the serial nature of experimental work. This Review highlights the recent progress in computationally guided discovery of thermoelectric materials and identifies the key outstanding challenges.

    • Prashun Gorai
    • , Vladan Stevanović
    •  & Eric S. Toberer
  • Review Article |

    Graphene and its macroscopic assemblies and composites are currently enabling a range of high-performance ‘smart’ materials that are responsive to various stimuli. In this Review, different graphene-based smart materials are described, along with their potential applications in actuators, chemical or strain sensors, self-healing materials, photothermal therapy and controlled drug delivery.

    • Xiaowen Yu
    • , Huhu Cheng
    • , Miao Zhang
    • , Yang Zhao
    • , Liangti Qu
    •  & Gaoquan Shi
  • Review Article |

    Overall water splitting using powdered photocatalysts is a promising approach to large-scale solar hydrogen production. This Review details recent developments in particulate photocatalysts for overall water splitting based on one- and two-step photoexcitation systems.

    • Shanshan Chen
    • , Tsuyoshi Takata
    •  & Kazunari Domen
  • Review Article |

    Low-bandgap (<1.6 eV) polymers enable polymer solar cells to form effective tandem structures for harvesting near-infrared solar energy as well as reducing thermal loss. This Review summarizes recent progress and provides a perspective on various low-bandgap polymer-containing tandem solar cells; namely, pure polymer–polymer tandem, hybrid polymer–amorphous silicon tandem and unconventional perovskite–polymer tandem solar cells.

    • Gang Li
    • , Wei-Hsuan Chang
    •  & Yang Yang
  • Review Article |

    This Review details the structural and chemical features of state-of-the-art metal–organic frameworks for their application in the entire carbon cycle of capturing, purifying and transforming CO2 into valuable products.

    • Christopher A. Trickett
    • , Aasif Helal
    • , Bassem A. Al-Maythalony
    • , Zain H. Yamani
    • , Kyle E. Cordova
    •  & Omar M. Yaghi
  • Review Article |

    The field of active matter studies how internally driven motile components self-organize into large-scale dynamical states and patterns. This Review discusses how active matter concepts are important for understanding cell biology, and how the use of biochemical components enables the creation of new inherently non-equilibrium materials with unique properties that have so far been mostly restricted to living organisms.

    • Daniel Needleman
    •  & Zvonimir Dogic
  • Review Article |

    Asymmetric chiroplasmonic structures comprising nanoparticles or nanorods can be assembled using DNA scaffolds by a range of methods. In this Review, these assembly methods, the chiroplasmonic properties of static and dynamically reconfigurable systems, theoretical modelling of the chiroplasmonic structures, their applications for sensing and information processing, and future perspectives are discussed.

    • Alessandro Cecconello
    • , Lucas V. Besteiro
    • , Alexander O. Govorov
    •  & Itamar Willner
  • Review Article |

    The discovery of nanoporous materials is now being propelled by the analysis of big data combined with traditional computational thermodynamics calculations. In this Review, we analyse the current state of the art, with a focus on the generation of computational databases and results from large-scale screening for gas separations.

    • Peter G. Boyd
    • , Yongjin Lee
    •  & Berend Smit
  • Review Article |

    Studying nature to reveal the mechanisms of special wetting phenomena in biological systems can effectively inspire the design and fabrication of functional interfacial materials with superwettability. In this Review, the historical development, new phenomena and emerging applications of superwettability systems are discussed.

    • Mingjie Liu
    • , Shutao Wang
    •  & Lei Jiang
  • Review Article |

    Two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) exhibit attractive electronic and mechanical properties. In this Review, the charge density wave, superconductive and topological phases of TMCDs are discussed, along with their synthesis and applications in devices with enhanced mobility and with the use of strain engineering to improve their properties.

    • Sajedeh Manzeli
    • , Dmitry Ovchinnikov
    • , Diego Pasquier
    • , Oleg V. Yazyev
    •  & Andras Kis
  • Review Article |

    Magnetic skyrmions are topologically protected spin whirls that hold promise for applications because they can be controllably moved, created and annihilated. In this Review, the underlying physics of the stabilization of skyrmions at room temperature and their prospective use for spintronic applications are discussed.

    • Albert Fert
    • , Nicolas Reyren
    •  & Vincent Cros
  • Review Article |

    Carbon nitrides are potentially cheap and metal-free alternatives for catalysts, semiconductors, battery materials and memory devices. In this Review, we discuss the synthesis, design and morphology of these materials, and reflect on the ability of methods such as templating, etching, dye sensitization, heteroatom doping and co-polymerization, as well as the assembly of various heterojunctions, to improve device performance.

    • Fabian K. Kessler
    • , Yun Zheng
    • , Dana Schwarz
    • , Christoph Merschjann
    • , Wolfgang Schnick
    • , Xinchen Wang
    •  & Michael J. Bojdys
  • Review Article |

    Heterostructuring and mixing of disparate materials provide new degrees of freedom to control carrier mobilities and exciton binding in solution-processed semiconductors. This Review highlights recent examples of heterostructured materials and devices, and examines the future direction of the field.

    • Oleksandr Voznyy
    • , Brandon R. Sutherland
    • , Alexander H. Ip
    • , David Zhitomirsky
    •  & Edward H. Sargent
  • Review Article |

    Nanotheranostics are nanoscale agents with both therapeutic and diagnostic functions. Cancer nanotheranostics that can be used for characterizing individual tumours, understanding and predicting nanoparticle–tumour interactions, and tailoring nanomedicines for optimized treatment hold great potential to revolutionize drug research and development, and clinical oncology.

    • Hongmin Chen
    • , Weizhong Zhang
    • , Guizhi Zhu
    • , Jin Xie
    •  & Xiaoyuan Chen