Current issue



Think bigger p395


With the publication of a method for fast oil spill clean-up we reflect on the importance of addressing scalability from an early stage when reporting techniques aimed at improving the environment.



Emerging technologies and the role of NGOs pp397 - 400

Evan S. Michelson


Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are involved in policy discussions surrounding the societal implications of emerging technologies. But what practices and strategies undertaken by these organizations are most influential in anticipating the longer-term societal implications of nanotechnology?


Research Highlights

Our choice from the recent literature p401



News and Views

Quantum effects: Heat flow in atomic bottlenecks pp402 - 403

Oleg Kolosov


The Wiedemann–Franz law linking electrical and thermal conductance has now been verified experimentally in atomic junctions.

See also: Letter by Mosso et al.

Supramolecular chemistry: Host in translation pp403 - 404

Jonathan Clayden


Length- and chirality-matching between polycarbamate templates and polyamide hosts provide a means of translating structural information from one molecule to another.

See also: Letter by Gan et al.

Biophysics: A toehold in cell surface dynamics pp404 - 406

Paul A. Beales


A combination of standard fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry offers a practical new approach to study encounter rates and preferences during various live cell membrane signalling events.

See also: Article by You et al.

Oil spill recovery: Graphene heaters absorb faster pp406 - 407

Despina Fragouli & Athanassia Athanassiou


Wrapping polymeric sponges in graphene nanoribbons provides an efficient way to separate and absorb heavy crude oil spilled in water.

See also: Letter by Ge et al.

Obituary: Mildred S. Dresselhaus (1930–2017) p408

Jing Kong, Tomás Palacios, Leora Dresselhaus-Cooper & Shoshi Cooper




Transmission of chirality through space and across length scales pp410 - 419

Sarah M. Morrow, Andrew J. Bissette & Stephen P. Fletcher


This Review charts how chiral information can be relayed across length scales in nanomaterials and beyond.



Atomic-scale sensing of the magnetic dipolar field from single atoms pp420 - 424

Taeyoung Choi, William Paul, Steffen Rolf-Pissarczyk, Andrew J. Macdonald, Fabian D. Natterer, Kai Yang, Philip Willke, Christopher P. Lutz & Andreas J. Heinrich


The dipole–dipole magnetic interaction between individual atoms on MgO surfaces is quantified by performing electron spin resonance by means of a scanning tunnelling microscope, opening new paths towards structural imaging with sub-nm resolution.

0–π phase-controllable thermal Josephson junction pp425 - 429

Antonio Fornieri, Giuliano Timossi, Pauli Virtanen, Paolo Solinas & Francesco Giazotto


A superconducting quantum interferometer is exploited to fully control the direction of the coherent component of the electronic heat current flowing through a temperature-biased Josephson junction.

Heat transport through atomic contacts pp430 - 433

Nico Mosso, Ute Drechsler, Fabian Menges, Peter Nirmalraj, Siegfried Karg, Heike Riel & Bernd Gotsmann


Heat transport measurements in single-atom junctions verify the proportionality between thermal and electrical conductance.

See also: News and Views by Kolosov

Joule-heated graphene-wrapped sponge enables fast clean-up of viscous crude-oil spill pp434 - 440

Jin Ge, Lu-An Shi, Yong-Chao Wang, Hao-Yu Zhao, Hong-Bin Yao, Yin-Bo Zhu, Ye Zhang, Hong-Wu Zhu, Heng-An Wu & Shu-Hong Yu


High-speed absorption of vicious crude oil spill into oil sorbent was realized by introducing the Joule heating effect of graphene to the interface between the skeleton surfaces of sorbent and oil.

See also: News and Views by Fragouli & Athanassiou

An efficient and pH-universal ruthenium-based catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction pp441 - 446

Javeed Mahmood, Feng Li, Sun-Min Jung, Mahmut Sait Okyay, Ishfaq Ahmad, Seok-Jin Kim, Noejung Park, Hu Young Jeong & Jong-Beom Baek


Ruthenium nanoparticles homogeneously dispersed in a nitrogenated, two-dimensional carbon matrix show high turnover frequency and small overpotential for hydrogen evolution reaction both in acidic and alkaline media.

Translation of rod-like template sequences into homochiral assemblies of stacked helical oligomers pp447 - 452

Quan Gan, Xiang Wang, Brice Kauffmann, Frédéric Rosu, Yann Ferrand & Ivan Huc


Multiple urethane groups in the same rod-like structure template the assembly of aromatic helices to form artificial folded architectures as large as 20kDa with atomic precision.

See also: News and Views by Clayden



DNA probes for monitoring dynamic and transient molecular encounters on live cell membranes pp453 - 459

Mingxu You, Yifan Lyu, Da Han, Liping Qiu, Qiaoling Liu, Tao Chen, Cuichen Sam Wu, Lu Peng, Liqin Zhang, Gang Bao & Weihong Tan


A DNA probe that translocates from one anchor site to another by toehold-mediated DNA strand displacement is used to monitor transient molecular encounter events on live cell membranes.

See also: News and Views by Beales

CMOS nanoelectrode array for all-electrical intracellular electrophysiological imaging pp460 - 466

Jeffrey Abbott, Tianyang Ye, Ling Qin, Marsela Jorgolli, Rona S. Gertner, Donhee Ham & Hongkun Park


Nanoscale intracellular electrodes and CMOS integrated circuit technology are combined to realize a new intracellular and network-level all-electrical electrophysiological imager.

Real-time visualization of perforin nanopore assembly pp467 - 473

Carl Leung, Adrian W. Hodel, Amelia J. Brennan, Natalya Lukoyanova, Sharon Tran, Colin M. House, Stephanie C. Kondos, James C. Whisstock, Michelle A. Dunstone, Joseph A. Trapani, Ilia Voskoboinik, Helen R. Saibil & Bart W. Hoogenboom


Perforin monomers self-assemble into pre-pores that first insert into the membrane and then recruit additional subunits to grow in size.

Directed assembly of bio-inspired hierarchical materials with controlled nanofibrillar architectures pp474 - 480

Peter Tseng, Bradley Napier, Siwei Zhao, Alexander N. Mitropoulos, Matthew B. Applegate, Benedetto Marelli, David L. Kaplan & Fiorenzo G. Omenetto


A combination of mechanical constraints and directed assembly of silk-fibroin leads to the generation of engineered hierarchical structures with control over multiple length scales from the macro, to the micro and nanoscales.

Triboelectric nanogenerators for sensitive nano-coulomb molecular mass spectrometry pp481 - 487

Anyin Li, Yunlong Zi, Hengyu Guo, Zhong Lin Wang & Facundo M. Fernández


The high output voltage of triboelectric nanogenerators enables well-controlled ion pulses for nanoelectrospray molecular mass spectrometry and surface modification.

Single-molecule electrometry pp488 - 495

Francesca Ruggeri, Franziska Zosel, Natalie Mutter, Mirosława Różycka, Magdalena Wojtas, Andrzej Ożyhar, Benjamin Schuler & Madhavi Krishnan


The electrical charge of biological macromolecules is measured with single-charge precision.


In The Classroom

Reimagining physics p496

Julien Bobroff


Julien Bobroff describes new ways to popularize fundamental and applied condensed-matter physics.


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