Table of contents

cover image


Alternative metrics p907


As the old 'publish or perish' adage is brought into question, additional research-impact indices, known as altmetrics, are offering new evaluation alternatives. But such metrics may need to adjust to the evolution of science publishing.



Progress towards an all-renewable electricity supply pp908 - 909

Keith Barnham, Kaspar Knorr & Massimo Mazzer



News and Views

Electron tomography: Seeing atoms in three dimensions pp911 - 912

Ilke Arslan & Eric A. Stach


An algorithm that allows the atomic-scale reconstruction of the three-dimensional structure of nanoparticles from only four individual images provides an important step towards fast, in situ electron tomography.

See also: Letter by Goris et al.

Defect dynamics: Breaking up in a curved plane pp912 - 913

Charles Reichhardt & Cynthia Olson Reichhardt


Interstitials and other localized defects in flat crystals are stable, yet interstitials in curved crystals can instead fractionalize. This observation should lead to a more general understanding of how to tailor defects in both classical and quantum crystalline systems.

See also: Letter by Irvine et al.

Nanoparticle-based sensors: Striped cation-trappers pp913 - 914

Knut Rurack


Toxic metal cations in environmental samples can be detected with ultrahigh sensitivity through measurements of the tunnelling current across crosslinked films of nanoparticles decorated with striped monolayers of organic ligands.

See also: Article by Cho et al.

Material witness: Cell physics p915

Philip Ball


Superhydrophobic surfaces: Leidenfrost becomes a fakir pp915 - 916

David Quéré


When cooled in water from high temperature, superhydrophobic surfaces stabilize the vapour layer on them, thus avoiding the typical vapour explosions associated with the nucleation of bubbles.



From metamaterials to metadevices pp917 - 924

Nikolay I. Zheludev & Yuri S. Kivshar


Metamaterials are man-made structures that allow optical properties to be shaped on length scales far smaller than the wavelength of light. Although metamaterials were initially considered mainly for static applications, this Review summarizes efforts towards an active functionality that enables a much broader range of photonic device applications.

Subject term: Optical, photonic and optoelectronic materials



Hidden polymorphs drive vitrification in B2O3 pp925 - 929

Guillaume Ferlat, Ari Paavo Seitsonen, Michele Lazzeri & Francesco Mauri


Whether a liquid forms a crystal or a glass on solidification depends on many factors. The finding now that a disordered structure is favoured in B2O3 because the system cannot choose between several crystalline polymorphs of similar energy highlights a link between glass formation and crystallization.

Atomic-scale determination of surface facets in gold nanorods pp930 - 935

Bart Goris, Sara Bals, Wouter Van den Broek, Enrique Carbó-Argibay, Sergio Gómez-Graña, Luis M. Liz-Marzán & Gustaaf Van Tendeloo


The atomic structure of nanoparticles considerably influences their properties. A new methodology that is now able to measure the full three-dimensional atomic structure of free-standing nanoparticles will therefore provide a much better connection between their structure and properties.

Subject terms: Nanoscale materials | Characterisation and analytical techniques

See also: News and Views by Arslan & Stach

Switching terahertz waves with gate-controlled active graphene metamaterials pp936 - 941

Seung Hoon Lee, Muhan Choi, Teun-Teun Kim, Seungwoo Lee, Ming Liu, Xiaobo Yin, Hong Kyw Choi, Seung S. Lee, Choon-Gi Choi, Sung-Yool Choi, Xiang Zhang & Bumki Min


The properties of graphene have been widely studied for applications in electronics. Expanding its use in photonics as well, it is now demonstrated that the propagation of terahertz waves can be electronically switched by such a single atomic layer of carbon.

Nanostructured high-energy cathode materials for advanced lithium batteries pp942 - 947

Yang-Kook Sun, Zonghai Chen, Hyung-Joo Noh, Dong-Ju Lee, Hun-Gi Jung, Yang Ren, Steve Wang, Chong Seung Yoon, Seung-Taek Myung & Khalil Amine


Nickel-rich layered lithium transition metal oxides have been investigated as high-energy cathode materials for rechargeable lithium batteries because of their high specific capacity and relatively low cost. Such an oxide with high capacity (215 mA h g-1), where the nickel concentration decreases linearly whereas the manganese concentration increases linearly from the centre to the outer layer of each particle, is now proposed.

Fractionalization of interstitials in curved colloidal crystals pp948 - 951

William T. M. Irvine, Mark J. Bowick & Paul M. Chaikin


Understanding the consequences of the interplay of defects and local curvature in crystals is far from complete despite the considerable influence that a defect has on the crystal’s local properties. It is now found that interstitials inserted in curved crystals at oil/glycerol interfaces can fractionate into two dislocations, which glide through the lattice in opposite directions until they get absorbed into existing dislocations, scars or pleats.

Subject term: Colloids

See also: News and Views by Reichhardt & Reichhardt



Role of vacancies in metal–insulator transitions of crystalline phase-change materials pp952 - 956

W. Zhang, A. Thiess, P. Zalden, R. Zeller, P. H. Dederichs, J-Y. Raty, M. Wuttig, S. Blügel & R. Mazzarello


Phase-change materials show an unusual metal–insulator transition that is induced by disorder in the crystalline state. Numerical computations now show how the transition to the metallic state proceeds from the dissolution of electronic states situated at vacancy clusters to the formation of ordered vacancy layers.

Bulk electronic structure of the dilute magnetic semiconductor Ga1−xMnxAs through hard X-ray angle-resolved photoemission pp957 - 962

A. X. Gray, J. Minár, S. Ueda, P. R. Stone, Y. Yamashita, J. Fujii, J. Braun, L. Plucinski, C. M. Schneider, G. Panaccione, H. Ebert, O. D. Dubon, K. Kobayashi & C. S. Fadley


The origin of the magnetism in manganese-doped gallium arsenide has been the subject of much debate. Now, hard X-ray angle-resolved photoemission has been used to probe the electronic structure of this material and clarify the mechanism through which the magnetism arises.

Engineering the surface structure of MoS2 to preferentially expose active edge sites for electrocatalysis pp963 - 969

Jakob Kibsgaard, Zhebo Chen, Benjamin N. Reinecke & Thomas F. Jaramillo


Controlling surface structure at the atomic scale is paramount to developing effective catalysts. The surface structure of MoS2 is now engineered to preferentially expose edge sites by successfully synthesizing contiguous large-area thin films of a highly ordered double-gyroid MoS2 bicontinuous network with nanoscale pores.

Tuning the catalytic activity of Ag(110)-supported Fe phthalocyanine in the oxygen reduction reaction pp970 - 977

F. Sedona, M. Di Marino, D. Forrer, A. Vittadini, M. Casarin, A. Cossaro, L. Floreano, A. Verdini & M. Sambi


A major obstacle to fully understanding the catalytic mechanisms of oxygen reduction reactions and to designing more efficient catalysts is the lack of detailed information about the active site structure. Molecular local chemisorption sites and the long-range supramolecular arrangement of metallophthalocyanine molecules on a metal surface can now be controlled by the fine tuning of the overlayer coverage.

Subject terms: Catalytic materials | Surface and thin films

Ultrasensitive detection of toxic cations through changes in the tunnelling current across films of striped nanoparticles pp978 - 985

Eun Seon Cho, Jiwon Kim, Baudilio Tejerina, Thomas M. Hermans, Hao Jiang, Hideyuki Nakanishi, Miao Yu, Alexander Z. Patashinski, Sharon C. Glotzer, Francesco Stellacci & Bartosz A. Grzybowski


Solid-state sensors for the detection of heavy-metal cations require for the most part sophisticated chemistry and equipment. It is now shown that toxic cations in environmental samples can be detected with ultrahigh sensitivity and over a broad range of cation concentrations by measuring the tunnelling current across films of nanoparticles decorated with striped monolayers of organic ligands.

Subject terms: Sensors and biosensors | Nanoscale materials | Computation, modelling and theory

See also: News and Views by Rurack

Macroporous nanowire nanoelectronic scaffolds for synthetic tissues pp986 - 994

Bozhi Tian, Jia Liu, Tal Dvir, Lihua Jin, Jonathan H. Tsui, Quan Qing, Zhigang Suo, Robert Langer, Daniel S. Kohane & Charles M. Lieber


Three-dimensional bioactive scaffolds can support tissue growth for studies in cellular biophysics and regenerative medicine. Such scaffolds have now been integrated with semiconductor nanowires to probe their porous interior, allowing for real-time monitoring of signals such as the response of neural and cardiac tissue models to drugs.