Table of contents



Troubles ahead p653


The outcome of the UK election leaves science challenged on at least three fronts.


News and Views

Heusler alloys: Tuning exchange bias pp655 - 656

Per Nordblad


Exchange bias is a magnetic phenomenon that has facilitated the ever-increasing storage density of magnetic recording systems. The finding of high tunable exchange bias in certain Heusler alloys indicates new routes for the design of rare-earth-free hard magnetic materials.

See also: Letter by Nayak et al.

Dislocation nucleation: Diffusive origins pp656 - 657

Ju Li


A growing body of evidence suggests that nucleation of a first dislocation in a pristine crystal is associated with a diffusion-controlled process. Understanding this is critical for strain-engineered devices at ultrahigh stresses.

See also: Article by Chen et al.

X-ray microscopy: Beyond ensemble averages pp657 - 658

Gene E. Ice & John D. Budai


Imaging the dynamics of local phenomena in materials with resolution down to the individual grain level is poised to transform our understanding of material behaviour.

See also: Letter by Huang et al.

Epidermal electronics: Skin health monitoring pp659 - 660

Stéphanie P. Lacour


Ultrathin and conformal piezoelectric transducers enable high-resolution mapping of the mechanical properties of human skin.

See also: Article by Dagdeviren et al.

Material witness: The complex costs of faking it p660

Philip Ball


DNA–peptide complexes: Regulation of interferon production pp661 - 662

William M. Gelbart


DNA spacing within hexagonal bundles of DNA and polycationic peptides correlates with interferon production in dendritic cells.

See also: Letter by Schmidt et al.

Wound healing: Enzymatically crosslinked scaffolds pp662 - 663

David W. Grainger


Microgel particle precursors bearing peptide substrates for human enzymes crosslink in wound sites to produce bioactive scaffolds in situ that rapidly recruit cells and promote dermal healing.

See also: Article by Griffin et al.

Silicon photonics: Large-scale dielectric metasurfaces pp664 - 665

Nicolas Bonod


Researchers develop a simple and low-cost fabrication method for the production of large-scale all-dielectric metasurfaces, which exhibit near-perfect reflectivity in the telecommunications spectral window.


Progress Article

Phonon wave interference and thermal bandgap materials pp667 - 674

Martin Maldovan


Thermal vibrations in materials can be controlled via interference (in a similar way to light propagating in layered structures) to produce a thermal bandgap, an approach promising for thermoelectric applications.



Quasiparticle-mediated spin Hall effect in a superconductor pp675 - 678

T. Wakamura, H. Akaike, Y. Omori, Y. Niimi, S. Takahashi, A. Fujimaki, S. Maekawa & Y. Otani


In the superconducting phase of niobium nitride the spin Hall effect is mediated by quasiparticles. Decreasing the spin injection current causes the inverse spin Hall signal to become 2,000 times larger in this phase than in the normal state.

Design of compensated ferrimagnetic Heusler alloys for giant tunable exchange bias pp679 - 684

Ajaya K. Nayak, Michael Nicklas, Stanislav Chadov, Panchanana Khuntia, Chandra Shekhar, Adel Kalache, Michael Baenitz, Yurii Skourski, Veerendra K. Guduru, Alessandro Puri, Uli Zeitler, J. M. D. Coey & Claudia Felser


An approach to design compensated ferrimagnetic Heusler alloys is established. A small lack of compensation produces giant exchange bias and large coercivity. This effect is observed for alloys that have the magnetic transition above room temperature.

See also: News and Views by Nordblad

Stabilizing triplet excited states for ultralong organic phosphorescence pp685 - 690

Zhongfu An, Chao Zheng, Ye Tao, Runfeng Chen, Huifang Shi, Ting Chen, Zhixiang Wang, Huanhuan Li, Renren Deng, Xiaogang Liu & Wei Huang


A design rule to synthesize organic molecules with a phosphorescence lifetime longer than 1 second is presented. The molecules form H aggregates that promote the stabilization of triplet excitons and persistent luminescence under ambient conditions.

Grain rotation and lattice deformation during photoinduced chemical reactions revealed by in situ X-ray nanodiffraction pp691 - 695

Zhifeng Huang, Matthias Bartels, Rui Xu, Markus Osterhoff, Sebastian Kalbfleisch, Michael Sprung, Akihiro Suzuki, Yukio Takahashi, Thomas N. Blanton, Tim Salditt & Jianwei Miao


An in situ X-ray nanodiffraction technique allows for the real-time study of the photoinduced chemical reaction to produce Ag from AgBr, and can spatially resolve structural changes at the submicrometre scale with a time resolution of 5 ms.

See also: News and Views by Ice & Budai

Liquid-crystalline ordering of antimicrobial peptide–DNA complexes controls TLR9 activation pp696 - 700

Nathan W. Schmidt, Fan Jin, Roberto Lande, Tine Curk, Wujing Xian, Calvin Lee, Loredana Frasca, Daan Frenkel, Jure Dobnikar, Michel Gilliet & Gerard C. L. Wong


Liquid-crystalline arrangements of complexes of DNA and antimicrobial peptides can lead to multivalent electrostatic interactions that drastically amplify TLR9-mediated immune responses.

See also: News and Views by Gelbart

In vivo delivery of transcription factors with multifunctional oligonucleotides pp701 - 706

Kunwoo Lee, Mohammad Rafi, Xiaojian Wang, Kiana Aran, Xuli Feng, Carlo Lo Sterzo, Richard Tang, Nithya Lingampalli, Hyun Jin Kim & Niren Murthy


Clinical translation of transcription factor therapeutics is limited by delivery problems. Now, an oligonucleotide that can bind and deliver transcription factors with high in vivo efficiency and treat acetaminophen-induced liver injury is reported.



Measuring surface dislocation nucleation in defect-scarce nanostructures pp707 - 713

Lisa Y. Chen, Mo-rigen He, Jungho Shin, Gunther Richter & Daniel S. Gianola


A detailed study is performed of dislocation nucleation at the surface of defect-free crystalline nanowhiskers, including the effect of sample size, temperature and strain rate, via in situ mechanical testing.

See also: News and Views by Li

Elastic coupling between layers in two-dimensional materials pp714 - 720

Yang Gao, Suenne Kim, Si Zhou, Hsiang-Chih Chiu, Daniel Nélias, Claire Berger, Walt de Heer, Laura Polloni, Roman Sordan, Angelo Bongiorno & Elisa Riedo


Sub-ångström-resolution indentation measurements and semi-analytical methods indicate that, for few-layer-thick films, the elasticity perpendicular to the plane is sensitive to the films structure and the presence of intercalated molecules.

The effect of mechanical twisting on oxygen ionic transport in solid-state energy conversion membranes pp721 - 727

Yanuo Shi, Alexander Hansen Bork, Sebastian Schweiger & Jennifer Lilia Marguerite Rupp


Manipulating strain states to modulate ionic conduction in micro energy devices has proved difficult. Effective net strain is now used to control oxygen ionic transport kinetics in ceria-based electrolyte membranes.

Conformal piezoelectric systems for clinical and experimental characterization of soft tissue biomechanics pp728 - 736

Canan Dagdeviren, Yan Shi, Pauline Joe, Roozbeh Ghaffari, Guive Balooch, Karan Usgaonkar, Onur Gur, Phat L. Tran, Jessi R. Crosby, Marcin Meyer, Yewang Su, R. Chad Webb, Andrew S. Tedesco, Marvin J. Slepian, Yonggang Huang & John A. Rogers


Piezoelectric sensors and actuators are embedded in pliable devices that conform to human skin and organ surfaces. These devices enable rapid characterization of the mechanical properties of soft tissues under various clinical conditions.

See also: News and Views by Lacour

Accelerated wound healing by injectable microporous gel scaffolds assembled from annealed building blocks pp737 - 744

Donald R. Griffin, Westbrook M. Weaver, Philip O. Scumpia, Dino Di Carlo & Tatiana Segura


Injectable microporous scaffolds assembled from annealed microgel building blocks whose properties can be tailored by microfluidic fabrication facilitate rapid wound healing in vivo.

See also: News and Views by Grainger



Erratum: Photochemical transformations on plasmonic metal nanoparticles p744

Suljo Linic, Umar Aslam, Calvin Boerigter & Matthew Morabito