Table of contents



The scientific marketplace p259


To ensure that their work gets the funding and the attention it deserves, scientists need to engage with different stakeholders. Concepts from marketing could help them increase the impact of their efforts.



A photoferroelectric material is more than the sum of its parts p260

J. Kreisel, M. Alexe & P. A. Thomas




One-click science marketing pp261 - 263

Martin Fenner


Strong competition and funding squeezes require scientists to look for ways to increase their profile and impact within and beyond the scientific community. Online tools and services can help them communicate and publicize their research more effectively.



The m word pp264 - 265


Marc Kuchner, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and author of a blog and a recent book titled Marketing for Scientists, talked to Nature Materials about his views on the progress of scientific business from Versailles in the 1700s to modern days.


News and Views

Polymer glasses: From gas to nanoglobular glass pp267 - 268

Mark D Ediger & Lian Yu


When quenching a liquid to form a glass, order-of-magnitude changes in cooling speed have small effects on the glass's properties. It is now shown that laser-assisted vapour deposition produces nanostructured glassy polymer films with a higher glass transition temperature and lower density than conventional quenched polymer glasses.

See also: Article by Guo et al.

siRNA delivery: Loaded-up microsponges pp268 - 269

Wade W. Grabow & Luc Jaeger


Self-assembled microsponges of hairpin RNA polymers achieve, with one thousand times lower concentration, the same degree of gene silencing in tumour-carrying mice as conventional nanoparticle-based siRNA delivery vehicles.

See also: Letter by Lee et al.

Phase-change materials: Fast transformers pp270 - 271

Matthias Wuttig & Martin Salinga


The pronounced temperature dependence of crystal-growth speed in phase-change materials not only rationalizes their favourable characteristics for non-volatile memory applications, but also suggests a profound new insight into their fundamental properties.

See also: Letter by Orava et al.

Material witness: Why leaves have stones p271

Philip Ball


Light–matter interactions: Ultrastrong routes to new chemistry pp272 - 273

Anna Fontcuberta i Morral & Francesco Stellacci


The demonstration of strong coupling between electromagnetic fields and excited molecular states represents a powerful new strategy for controlling quantum-mechanical states and chemical reaction dynamics.

Spider webs: Damage control pp273 - 274

Fiorenzo G. Omenetto & David L. Kaplan


A study reveals that spider orb webs fail in a nonlinear fashion, owing to the hierarchical organization of the silk proteins. The discovery may serve as inspiration for engineers for the design of aerial, light-weight, robust architectures.

Metallic glasses: Family traits pp275 - 276

Wei Hua Wang


The finding that metallic glasses inherit their elastic properties from solvent atoms leads to a new understanding of the complex relationship between glassy structure, deformation and mechanical properties.

DNA origami: Nanorobots grab cellular control pp276 - 277

Johann Elbaz & Itamar Willner


Self-assembled barrel-like DNA nanostructures carrying active payloads and pre-programmed with logic operations to reconfigure in response to cell-surface cues can trigger a variety of intracellular functions.



Characterization of supercooled liquid Ge2Sb2Te5 and its crystallization by ultrafast-heating calorimetry pp279 - 283

J. Orava, A. L. Greer, B. Gholipour, D. W. Hewak & C. E. Smith


Even though phase-change materials are used in optical as well as electronic information storage applications, some issues, such as their fast crystallization kinetics, remain poorly understood. The use of ultrafast differential scanning calorimetry now reveals that the fast kinetics is based on properties similar to those of fragile liquids.

Subject term: Electronic materials

See also: News and Views by Wuttig & Salinga

Anisotropic conductance at improper ferroelectric domain walls pp284 - 288

D. Meier, J. Seidel, A. Cano, K. Delaney, Y. Kumagai, M. Mostovoy, N. A. Spaldin, R. Ramesh & M. Fiebig


Oxide materials show a versatile range of phenomena that in many cases can be controlled by growing thin films of oxides next to each other. The observation now that electrical conductance of domain walls in a ferroelectric can be tuned simply through the domain-wall orientation offers a flexible way of controlling functionality in complex oxides.

Subject terms: Ceramics | Electronic materials

Reversible electrical switching of spin polarization in multiferroic tunnel junctions pp289 - 293

D. Pantel, S. Goetze, D. Hesse & M. Alexe


Magnetic tunnel junctions play an important role in controlling electron spin in spintronic devices. The reversible, remanent switching of electron-spin polarization in multiferroic tunnel junctions now enables significant technological possibilities for spin electronics.

Subject terms: Electronic materials | Magnetic materials

The shear mode of multilayer graphene pp294 - 300

P. H. Tan, W. P. Han, W. J. Zhao, Z. H. Wu, K. Chang, H. Wang, Y. F. Wang, N. Bonini, N. Marzari, N. Pugno, G. Savini, A. Lombardo & A. C. Ferrari


Raman spectroscopy has already proved to be a powerful tool for studying the properties of single graphene layers. It is now shown that this technique can also provide information on the interaction between graphene sheets in multilayered graphene structures. In particular, a Raman peak corresponding to the interlayer shear mode, and probably linked to the interlayer coupling, is unveiled.

Subject terms: Electronic materials | Characterisation and analytical techniques

Gated three-terminal device architecture to eliminate persistent photoconductivity in oxide semiconductor photosensor arrays pp301 - 305

Sanghun Jeon, Seung-Eon Ahn, Ihun Song, Chang Jung Kim, U-In Chung, Eunha Lee, Inkyung Yoo, Arokia Nathan, Sungsik Lee, John Robertson & Kinam Kim


The slow decay of photoconductivity in amorphous oxide semiconductors hampers their use in photosensor arrays with viable frame rates. A gated sensor architecture now provides direct control over the Fermi-level position in the semiconductor layer, and eliminates persistent photoconductivity by accelerating electron recombination with ionized oxygen vacancy sites.

Subject terms: Semiconductors | Optical, photonic and optoelectronic materials | Sensors and biosensors

On the molecular origin of supercapacitance in nanoporous carbon electrodes pp306 - 310

Céline Merlet, Benjamin Rotenberg, Paul A. Madden, Pierre-Louis Taberna, Patrice Simon, Yury Gogotsi & Mathieu Salanne


Although the superior electrochemical performance of supercapacitors capable of rapidly storing electrical energy is due to reversible ion adsorption in porous carbon electrodes, the molecular origin of this phenomenon is still poorly understood. A quantitative picture of the structure of an ionic liquid adsorbed inside realistically modelled microporous carbon electrodes is now proposed.

Subject terms: Materials for energy | Computation, modelling and theory

7Li MRI of Li batteries reveals location of microstructural lithium pp311 - 315

S. Chandrashekar, Nicole M. Trease, Hee Jung Chang, Lin-Shu Du, Clare P. Grey & Alexej Jerschow


The development of reliable diagnostic tools to investigate the performance of a battery in situ is required at present. Techniques based on magnetic resonance imaging are now shown to be able to non-invasively visualize and characterize the changes occurring in Li-ion battery electrodes and electrolyte.

Subject terms: Materials for energy | Characterisation and analytical techniques

Self-assembled RNA interference microsponges for efficient siRNA delivery pp316 - 322

Jong Bum Lee, Jinkee Hong, Daniel K. Bonner, Zhiyong Poon & Paula T. Hammond


siRNA delivery has so far been hampered by carriers that inefficiently encapsulate RNA, and by its degradation prior to cellular uptake. Now, self-assembled crystalline microsponges consisting solely of cleavable RNA strands — which are converted to siRNA only after cellular uptake — achieve, with three orders of magnitude lower concentration, the same degree of gene silencing as conventional siRNA nanocarriers.

Subject terms: Biological materials | Biomedical materials | Polymers

See also: News and Views by Grabow & Jaeger



New magnetic phase diagram of (Sr,Ca)2RuO4 pp323 - 328

J. P. Carlo, T. Goko, I. M. Gat-Malureanu, P. L. Russo, A. T. Savici, A. A. Aczel, G. J. MacDougall, J. A. Rodriguez, T. J. Williams, G. M. Luke, C. R. Wiebe, Y. Yoshida, S. Nakatsuji, Y. Maeno, T. Taniguchi & Y. J. Uemura


In most unconventional superconductors, the superconducting phase is adjacent to a phase with some type of magnetic order. However, this is not a universal feature. For example, no magnetic order has so far been observed in Sr2RuO4. Now, low-energy muon relaxation experiments show the presence of a static magnetic order for this material, suggesting that this feature may in fact be universal.

Subject terms: Superconductors | Magnetic materials

Nanoscale strain-induced pair suppression as a vortex-pinning mechanism in high-temperature superconductors pp329 - 336

A. Llordés, A. Palau, J. Gázquez, M. Coll, R. Vlad, A. Pomar, J. Arbiol, R. Guzmán, S. Ye, V. Rouco, F. Sandiumenge, S. Ricart, T. Puig, M. Varela, D. Chateigner, J. Vanacken, J. Gutiérrez, V. Moshchalkov, G. Deutscher, C. Magen & X. Obradors


It is well known that to reduce dissipation in a superconductor it is necessary to introduce artificial pinning centres, that is, small regions in which superconductivity is suppressed. This is usually achieved by introducing small regions of non-superconducting phases. A new concept of pinning centres, the local suppression of superconductivity induced by strain, is now demonstrated.

Subject terms: Superconductors | Electronic materials

Ultrastable nanostructured polymer glasses pp337 - 343

Yunlong Guo, Anatoli Morozov, Dirk Schneider, Jae Woo Chung, Chuan Zhang, Maike Waldmann, Nan Yao, George Fytas, Craig B. Arnold & Rodney D. Priestley


The realization of ultrastable, nanostructured glassy polymer films by pulsed-laser evaporation is reported. Compared with standard poly(methyl methacrylate) glass, these polymer glasses are 40% less dense and have a 40-degree-higher glass transition temperature. Their unique properties, which are a manifestation of their globular nanostructure, should make these glasses attractive for applications where weight and stability are critical.

Subject terms: Glasses | Polymers | Nanoscale materials

See also: News and Views by Ediger & Yu

Mesoporous organohydrogels from thermogelling photocrosslinkable nanoemulsions pp344 - 352

Matthew E. Helgeson, Shannon E. Moran, Harry Z. An & Patrick S. Doyle


Mesoporous colloidal gels with solid-like viscoelasticity formed from oil-in-water nanoemulsions are reported. Gelation is thermoreversible and occurs through interdroplet bridging of an end-functionalized oligomer. The gels can be photocrosslinked to encapsulate lipophilic biomolecules for their subsequent release through ultraviolet photolysis.

Subject terms: Polymers | Porous materials