Table of contents




Focusing in on applications p1


What practical applications can the field of plasmonics and metamaterials deliver?



How to deal with the loss in plasmonics and metamaterials pp2 - 6

Jacob B. Khurgin


Metal losses affect the performance of every plasmonic or metamaterial structure; dealing with them will determine the degree to which these structures will find practical applications.

The case for plasmon-derived hot carrier devices pp6 - 8

Martin Moskovits


Plasmons' progeny are invading the territory currently commanded by semiconductors.



From science to policy pp9 - 10

Chris Toumey


A recent conference on the environmental effects of nanoparticles leaves Chris Toumey reflecting on the difficulties of carrying out nanotoxicology research that can be used to develop informed environmental regulation.



Nano-optics gets practical pp11 - 15


Early-career researchers share their thoughts on how to make use of the ability to manipulate light at the nanoscale.

Colouring at the nanoscale pp15 - 16

Nicky Dean


The increasing miniaturization and resolution of consumer electronics poses quandaries for generating colour in imaging devices, which plasmonic nanostructures may be able to overcome.


Research Highlights

Our choice from the recent literature p17



News and Views

Nanomachines: A light-driven molecular pump pp18 - 19

Edie Sevick


A macrocycle can transit unidirectionally along a molecular axle under light irradiation dissipating a constant amount of energy per cycle.

See also: Article by Ragazzon et al.

Photoelectrochemical water splitting: A new use for bandgap engineering pp19 - 20

Jiming Bao


Strontium titanate can act as a transparent protection layer for silicon photocathodes, preventing corrosion without compromising photocatalytic redox activity.

See also: Article by Ji et al.

Spin transistors: Closer to an all-electric device pp21 - 22

Marc Cahay


The use of asymmetrically biased quantum point contacts in semiconductor heterostructures paves the way for the realization of an all-electric spin field-effect transistor.

See also: Letter by Chuang et al.

Spin orbitronics: Charges ride the spin wave pp22 - 24

Timo Kuschel & Günter Reiss


An alternating charge current pumped by the precessing magnetization of a ferromagnet demonstrates the direct conversion of magnons into charge currents via relativistic spin–orbit coupling.

See also: Letter by Ciccarelli et al.



Plasmon-induced hot carrier science and technology pp25 - 34

Mark L. Brongersma, Naomi J. Halas & Peter Nordlander


This Review discusses recent fundamental advances in hot electron and hot hole science and examines potential usefulness in chemistry and for practical optoelectronic devices.



All-electric all-semiconductor spin field-effect transistors pp35 - 39

Pojen Chuang, Sheng-Chin Ho, L. W. Smith, F. Sfigakis, M. Pepper, Chin-Hung Chen, Ju-Chun Fan, J. P. Griffiths, I. Farrer, H. E. Beere, G. A. C. Jones, D. A. Ritchie & Tse-Ming Chen


Two quantum point contacts are used to respectively inject and detect spins by purely electrical means in an all-semiconductor spin transistor.

See also: News and Views by Cahay

Control of quantum magnets by atomic exchange bias pp40 - 45

Shichao Yan, Deung-Jang Choi, Jacob A. J. Burgess, Steffen Rolf-Pissarczyk & Sebastian Loth


The spin dynamics of a nanomagnet assembled from three iron atoms can be tuned by atomic exchange coupling with the magnetic tip of a scanning tunnelling microscope.

Partitioning of on-demand electron pairs pp46 - 49

Niels Ubbelohde, Frank Hohls, Vyacheslavs Kashcheyevs, Timo Wagner, Lukas Fricke, Bernd Kästner, Klaus Pierz, Hans W. Schumacher & Rolf J. Haug


The splitting of electron pairs, which is essential for electron-based quantum information processing, can now be obtained with electron pairs that have been generated on-demand.

Magnonic charge pumping via spin–orbit coupling pp50 - 54

Chiara Ciccarelli, Kjetil M. D. Hals, Andrew Irvine, Vit Novak, Yaroslav Tserkovnyak, Hidekazu Kurebayashi, Arne Brataas & Andrew Ferguson


Magnetic excitations in a ferromagnet known as magnons can be converted into charge currents through a relativistic interaction that couples the spin of an electron with its orbital angular momentum.

See also: News and Views by Kuschel & Reiss

Sympathetic cooling of a membrane oscillator in a hybrid mechanical–atomic system pp55 - 59

Andreas Jöckel, Aline Faber, Tobias Kampschulte, Maria Korppi, Matthew T. Rakher & Philipp Treutlein


Ultracold atoms can be used to sympathetically cool a membrane with a mass ten billion times larger than that of the atoms.

Nanoscale stiffness topography reveals structure and mechanics of the transport barrier in intact nuclear pore complexes pp60 - 64

Aizhan Bestembayeva, Armin Kramer, Aksana A. Labokha, Dino Osmanović, Ivan Liashkovich, Elena V. Orlova, Ian J. Ford, Guillaume Charras, Ariberto Fassati & Bart W. Hoogenboom


Stiffness topography with sharp atomic force microscopy tips can be used to generate nanoscale cross-sections of nuclear pore complexes, and suggests that the selective barrier in the complexes consists of a crosslinked network of nuclear pore proteins.

A multichannel nanosensor for instantaneous readout of cancer drug mechanisms pp65 - 69

Subinoy Rana, Ngoc D. B. Le, Rubul Mout, Krishnendu Saha, Gulen Yesilbag Tonga, Robert E. S. Bain, Oscar R. Miranda, Caren M. Rotello & Vincent M. Rotello


A high-throughput nanosensor based on a gold nanoparticle and fluorescent proteins allows mechanisms of chemotherapeutic drugs to be screened in minutes, offering a tool for expediting research in drug discovery and toxicology.



Light-powered autonomous and directional molecular motion of a dissipative self-assembling system pp70 - 75

Giulio Ragazzon, Massimo Baroncini, Serena Silvi, Margherita Venturi & Alberto Credi


Under continuous illumination, a non-symmetric axle-type molecule transits through a macrocycle only in one direction via a ratchet mechanism that rectifies Brownian motion.

See also: News and Views by Sevick

Continuous observation of the stochastic motion of an individual small-molecule walker pp76 - 83

Gökçe Su Pulcu, Ellina Mikhailova, Lai-Sheung Choi & Hagan Bayley


The stepwise stochastic motion of an individual organoarsenic(III) molecule along a linear track of thiols can be monitored in real time within a protein nanopore.

A silicon-based photocathode for water reduction with an epitaxial SrTiO3 protection layer and a nanostructured catalyst pp84 - 90

Li Ji, Martin D. McDaniel, Shijun Wang, Agham B. Posadas, Xiaohan Li, Haiyu Huang, Jack C. Lee, Alexander A. Demkov, Allen J. Bard, John G. Ekerdt & Edward T. Yu


A silicon-based photocathode with an epitaxial strontium titanate protection layer and a mesh-like nanostructured catalyst can provide an applied bias photon-to-current efficiency of 4.9% for water reduction.

See also: News and Views by Bao

Towards non-invasive diagnostic imaging of early-stage Alzheimer's disease pp91 - 98

Kirsten L. Viola, James Sbarboro, Ruchi Sureka, Mrinmoy De, Maíra A. Bicca, Jane Wang, Shaleen Vasavada, Sreyesh Satpathy, Summer Wu, Hrushikesh Joshi, Pauline T. Velasco, Keith MacRenaris, E. Alex Waters, Chang Lu, Joseph Phan, Pascale Lacor, Pottumarthi Prasad, Vinayak P. Dravid & William L. Klein


A magnetic resonance imaging probe that binds specifically to neurotoxic amyloid-beta oligomers can potentially be used for early detection of Alzheimer's disease.



Erratum: Squalenoyl adenosine nanoparticles provide neuroprotection after stroke and spinal cord injury p99

Alice Gaudin, Müge Yemisci, Hakan Eroglu, Sinda Lepetre-Mouelhi, Omer Faruk Turkoglu, Buket Dönmez-Demir, Seçil Caban, Mustafa Fevzi Sargon, Sébastien Garcia-Argote, Grégory Pieters, Olivier Loreau, Bernard Rousseau, Oya Tagit, Niko Hildebrandt, Yannick Le Dantec, Julie Mougin, Sabrina Valetti, Hélène Chacun, Valérie Nicolas, Didier Desmaële, Karine Andrieux, Yilmaz Capan, Turgay Dalkara & Patrick Couvreur



In The Classroom

A lesson in student chapters p100

Yi-Hsin Lin


By participating in activities organized by professional societies, PhD students can enrich their skills and extend their professional network, beyond what they can achieve in the lab, Yi-Hsin Lin explains.