Review Articles


  • Review Article |

    Polymer mechanochemistry converts mechanical forces in materials to chemical reactions through the response of functional groups known as mechanophores. This Review discusses the colorimetric, mechanical, chemical and electronic responses of mechanophores that may be useful in materials for strain sensing and strengthening, soft devices and additive manufacturing.

    • Maroun Abi Ghanem
    • , Amrita Basu
    • , Reza Behrou
    • , Nicholas Boechler
    • , Andrew J. Boydston
    • , Stephen L. Craig
    • , Yangju Lin
    • , Brock E. Lynde
    • , Alshakim Nelson
    • , Hang Shen
    •  & Duane W. Storti
  • Review Article |

    Supported isolated metal atoms and subnanometric metal clusters are emerging catalytic materials. This Review discusses the influence of confining subnanometric metal species in zeolites and metal–organic frameworks on their geometric and electronic structures and catalytic performance.

    • Lichen Liu
    •  & Avelino Corma
  • Review Article |

    Metamaterials provide a platform to leverage optical signals for performing specific-purpose computational tasks with ultra-fast speeds. This Review surveys the basic principles, recent advances and promising future directions for wave-based-metamaterial analogue computing systems.

    • Farzad Zangeneh-Nejad
    • , Dimitrios L. Sounas
    • , Andrea Alù
    •  & Romain Fleury
  • Review Article |

    Materials science provides tools and technologies for the protection against viral infections, as well as for the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of viral diseases. This Review discusses present and future directions in antiviral materials-science research, with a focus on COVID-19.

    • Zhongmin Tang
    • , Na Kong
    • , Xingcai Zhang
    • , Yuan Liu
    • , Ping Hu
    • , Shan Mou
    • , Peter Liljeström
    • , Jianlin Shi
    • , Weihong Tan
    • , Jong Seung Kim
    • , Yihai Cao
    • , Robert Langer
    • , Kam W. Leong
    • , Omid C. Farokhzad
    •  & Wei Tao
  • Review Article |

    This Review discusses non-metallic charge carriers for aqueous batteries, investigating fundamental mechanisms of charge storage and electrode interactions, as well as battery design and performance.

    • Guojin Liang
    • , Funian Mo
    • , Xiulei Ji
    •  & Chunyi Zhi
  • Review Article |

    Cellulose nanocrystals are rigid rod-shaped nanoparticles that show promise as additives in composites, emulsions, foams and biomedical devices and as rheological modifiers. In this Review, the authors guide end users towards selecting cellulose sources and production routes that optimize the performance of cellulose nanocrystals in their intended application.

    • Oriana M. Vanderfleet
    •  & Emily D. Cranston
  • Review Article |

    Artificial intelligence can be used to facilitate the 3D printing of functional materials and devices directly on target surfaces, such as human bodies. This Review surveys ex situ and in situ artificial-intelligence-assisted 3D printing of multifunctional materials and its combination with surgical robots to enable autonomous medical care and smart biomanufacturing.

    • Zhijie Zhu
    • , Daniel Wai Hou Ng
    • , Hyun Soo Park
    •  & Michael C. McAlpine
  • Review Article |

    Several key industries routinely use metal printing to make complex parts that are difficult to produce by conventional manufacturing. Here, we show that a synergistic combination of metallurgy, mechanistic models and machine learning is driving the continued growth of metal printing.

    • T. DebRoy
    • , T. Mukherjee
    • , H. L. Wei
    • , J. W. Elmer
    •  & J. O. Milewski
  • Review Article |

    π-Conjugated polymers possess a wide range of useful electronic and optical properties. This Review focuses on the preparation of self-assembled nanoparticles from these materials and their applications in areas such as optoelectronics, biomedical imaging and therapy, photocatalysis and sensing.

    • Liam R. MacFarlane
    • , Huda Shaikh
    • , J. Diego Garcia-Hernandez
    • , Marcus Vespa
    • , Tomoya Fukui
    •  & Ian Manners
  • Review Article |

    The dynamic epigenetic landscape directs gene expression patterns that regulate cellular form and function. Designer cell culture materials have shed light on how materials cues influence cellular plasticity through the epigenome and directed tissue-fabrication approaches that drive biological activities.

    • Stephanie Nemec
    •  & Kristopher A. Kilian
  • Review Article |

    Nanopore sensors enable the solution-based analysis of nucleic acids, proteins and other biomolecules at the single-molecule level. This Review discusses new fabrication and sensing strategies — including field-effect transistors, quantum tunnelling and optical methods — that enhance the sensitivity and selectivity of nanopores.

    • Liang Xue
    • , Hirohito Yamazaki
    • , Ren Ren
    • , Meni Wanunu
    • , Aleksandar P. Ivanov
    •  & Joshua B. Edel
  • Review Article |

    The structure of organic semiconductor thin films influences their performance in optoelectronic devices. This Review highlights how solid-state NMR techniques can be used to investigate the structure, composition and dynamics of organic semiconductors and, thus, establish structure–property relationships.

    • Martin Seifrid
    • , G. N. Manjunatha Reddy
    • , Bradley F. Chmelka
    •  & Guillermo C. Bazan
  • Review Article |

    Synthetic amorphous silica nanoparticles are produced in tonnage quantities for a range of commercial uses. In this Review, the synthesis–structure–property relationships of synthetic amorphous silica nanoparticles are outlined, with an emphasis on biomedical applications and environmental implications.

    • Jonas G. Croissant
    • , Kimberly S. Butler
    • , Jeffrey I. Zink
    •  & C. Jeffrey Brinker
  • Review Article |

    Advances in molecular-structure design and modulation of the aggregation behaviour have enabled much progress in the observation of room-temperature phosphorescence from organic aggregates. This Review analyses key photophysical processes related to triplet excitons, illustrating the intrinsic structure–property relationships and identifying strategies to design efficient and persistent room-temperature-phosphorescent systems.

    • Weijun Zhao
    • , Zikai He
    •  & Ben Zhong Tang
  • Review Article |

    Introducing multiplicity and variation into the components of metal–organic frameworks has emerged as new fascinating directions in reticular chemistry. In this Review, the variances in the framework backbone, functionality and metal, and their leading to sequences of chemical information, are highlighted. Anisotropy in these structures is imposed by the variance and realized along a specific direction.

    • Wentao Xu
    • , Binbin Tu
    • , Qi Liu
    • , Yufei Shu
    • , Cong-Cong Liang
    • , Christian S. Diercks
    • , Omar M. Yaghi
    • , Yue-Biao Zhang
    • , Hexiang Deng
    •  & Qiaowei Li
  • Review Article |

    Natural photosynthetic systems harvest light to perform selective chemistry on atmospheric molecules such as CO2. This Review discusses the implementation of bioinspired concepts in engineered light harvesting and catalysis.

    • Andrew H. Proppe
    • , Yuguang C. Li
    • , Alán Aspuru-Guzik
    • , Curtis P. Berlinguette
    • , Christopher J. Chang
    • , Richard Cogdell
    • , Abigail G. Doyle
    • , Johannes Flick
    • , Nathaniel M. Gabor
    • , Rienk van Grondelle
    • , Sharon Hammes-Schiffer
    • , Shaffiq A. Jaffer
    • , Shana O. Kelley
    • , Mario Leclerc
    • , Karl Leo
    • , Thomas E. Mallouk
    • , Prineha Narang
    • , Gabriela S. Schlau-Cohen
    • , Gregory D. Scholes
    • , Aleksandra Vojvodic
    • , Vivian Wing-Wah Yam
    • , Jenny Y. Yang
    •  & Edward H. Sargent
  • Review Article |

    The surface features of metal halide perovskites have a crucial role in determining their properties. This Review introduces the recent advances in the understanding of perovskite surfaces and surveys the surface strategies towards improving the properties of perovskite materials and the performance of perovskite optoelectronic devices.

    • Jingjing Xue
    • , Rui Wang
    •  & Yang Yang
  • Review Article |

    The development of efficient, high-energy and high-power electrochemical energy-storage devices requires a systems-level holistic approach, rather than focusing on the electrode or electrolyte separately. In this Review, we discuss the interfacial reactions and ion transport in ionic-liquid-based Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors, and summarize their impact on device performance.

    • Xuehang Wang
    • , Maryam Salari
    • , De-en Jiang
    • , Jennifer Chapman Varela
    • , Babak Anasori
    • , David J. Wesolowski
    • , Sheng Dai
    • , Mark W. Grinstaff
    •  & Yury Gogotsi
  • Review Article |

    When single layers of 2D materials are stacked on top of one another with a small twist, the resulting moiré pattern introduces new electronic properties. This Review surveys and compares the modelling techniques used in this emerging field of twistronics.

    • Stephen Carr
    • , Shiang Fang
    •  & Efthimios Kaxiras
  • Review Article |

    Collagen subtypes contribute to the function of many tissues, but most studies on collagen focus on one or two subtypes only. This Review surveys the roles of collagen subtypes and crosslinks, their structure–function relationships and the possibility of using the resulting insight to engineer better neotissues.

    • Benjamin J. Bielajew
    • , Jerry C. Hu
    •  & Kyriacos A. Athanasiou
  • Review Article |

    Gradient nanostructured metals and alloys are an emerging class of materials that exhibit a combination of excellent mechanical properties that are not possessed by their homogeneous counterparts. This Review assesses the fabrication, characterization and deformation behaviour of these materials, as well as the challenges and future directions of the field.

    • Xiaoyan Li
    • , Lei Lu
    • , Jianguo Li
    • , Xuan Zhang
    •  & Huajian Gao
  • Review Article |

    Nonreciprocal acoustic and elastic wave propagation may enable the creation of devices such as acoustic one-way mirrors, isolators and topological insulators. This Review presents advances in the creation of materials that break reciprocity and realize robust, unidirectional acoustic and elastic wave steering.

    • Hussein Nassar
    • , Behrooz Yousefzadeh
    • , Romain Fleury
    • , Massimo Ruzzene
    • , Andrea Alù
    • , Chiara Daraio
    • , Andrew N. Norris
    • , Guoliang Huang
    •  & Michael R. Haberman
  • Review Article |

    In situ tissue regeneration harnesses the body’s regenerative potential for tissue repair using engineered biomaterials. In this Review, we outline various biomaterials approaches to control the body’s regenerative capacity for tissue-specific regeneration by modulating the extracellular microenvironment or driving cellular reprogramming.

    • Akhilesh K. Gaharwar
    • , Irtisha Singh
    •  & Ali Khademhosseini
  • Review Article |

    Weyl fermions in solids exhibit unique features such as spin–momentum locking and a diverging Berry curvature corresponding to a magnetic monopole in momentum space. This Review surveys the transport phenomena, magnetic excitations and nonlinear optical effects observed in these systems.

    • Naoto Nagaosa
    • , Takahiro Morimoto
    •  & Yoshinori Tokura
  • Review Article |

    Flat metasurface optics provides an emerging platform for combining semiconductor foundry methods of manufacturing and assembling with nanophotonics to produce high-end and multifunctional optical elements. This Review highlights the design of metasurfaces, recent advances in the field and initial promising applications.

    • Wei Ting Chen
    • , Alexander Y. Zhu
    •  & Federico Capasso
  • Review Article |

    Design of bone-tissue-engineering materials involves consideration of multiple, often conflicting, requirements. This Review discusses these considerations and highlights scalable technologies that can fabricate natural and synthetic biomaterials (polymers, bioceramics, metals and composites) into forms suitable for bone-tissue-engineering applications in human therapies and disease models.

    • Gerry L. Koons
    • , Mani Diba
    •  & Antonios G. Mikos
  • Review Article |

    Self-healable polymers are materials that recover after physical damage. In this Review, we discuss the physical and chemical approaches to make self-healing polymers, with a focus on similarities with biological systems.

    • Siyang Wang
    •  & Marek W. Urban
  • Review Article |

    Matrigel is widely used for cell culture. However, its ill-defined composition, batch-to-batch variability and animal-derived nature lead to experimental uncertainty and a lack of reproducibility. In this Review, we discuss the limitations of Matrigel and highlight synthetic alternatives for stem-cell culture, regenerative medicine and organoid assembly.

    • Elizabeth A. Aisenbrey
    •  & William L. Murphy
  • Review Article |

    Reducible oxides are tunable, multifunctional materials used in many applications, particularly in catalysis; their attractive properties arise from their interacting charge carriers, complex electronic structure and propensity to form mobile defects. This Review surveys theoretical methods to model and understand reducible oxides, using TiO2 as a prototypical example.

    • Roger Rousseau
    • , Vassiliki-Alexandra Glezakou
    •  & Annabella Selloni
  • Review Article |

    The porous hierarchical structure and anisotropy of wood make it a strong candidate for the design of materials with various functions, including load bearing, multiscale mass transport, and optical and thermal management. In this Review, the composition, structure, characterization methods, modification strategies, properties and applications of natural and modified wood are discussed.

    • Chaoji Chen
    • , Yudi Kuang
    • , Shuze Zhu
    • , Ingo Burgert
    • , Tobias Keplinger
    • , Amy Gong
    • , Teng Li
    • , Lars Berglund
    • , Stephen J. Eichhorn
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • Review Article |

    Unrecycled post-consumer plastic waste is an enormous, growing problem. Chemical recycling to monomer (CRM) delivers recycled material without degradation in properties. This Review assesses the viability of commercial polymer CRM, the flourishing of CRM with new polymers and opportunities for the field.

    • Geoffrey W. Coates
    •  & Yutan D. Y. L. Getzler
  • Review Article |

    Owing to their layered structure, the properties of 2D perovskites can be controlled by tuning their thickness. This Review surveys how fine-tuning the thickness of 2D perovskites from the sub-micrometre to the molecularly thin regime helps to optimize their electrical and optical properties for use in different applications.

    • Kai Leng
    • , Wei Fu
    • , Yanpeng Liu
    • , Manish Chhowalla
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  • Review Article |

    Engineering the phase of metal nanocrystals while simultaneously achieving shape-controlled synthesis can enable new and desirable properties. This Review highlights the synthetic strategies for generating Ru nanocrystals with different crystal phases and surface structures, and outlines their implementation in catalytic applications.

    • Ming Zhao
    •  & Younan Xia
  • Review Article |

    Chiral hybrid organic–inorganic perovskites combine the remarkable optical, electrical and spintronic properties of perovskites with chirality. This Review systematically introduces the latest advances in chiral perovskites, surveys their structure–property relationships and details their chiroptical and ferroelectric applications.

    • Guankui Long
    • , Randy Sabatini
    • , Makhsud I. Saidaminov
    • , Girish Lakhwani
    • , Abdullah Rasmita
    • , Xiaogang Liu
    • , Edward H. Sargent
    •  & Weibo Gao
  • Review Article |

    Materials engineering enables the control of water–material interactions in solar vapour generators, which aim to efficiently utilize solar energy for the cost-effective production of clean water. This Review discusses material-design principles for solar evaporators, spanning from macrostructures to molecular configurations.

    • Fei Zhao
    • , Youhong Guo
    • , Xingyi Zhou
    • , Wen Shi
    •  & Guihua Yu
  • Review Article |

    Over the past five years, advances in materials science, chemistry, engineering and artificial intelligence have yielded a new class of affordable image cytometers for automated single-cell phenotyping of scant samples. In this Review, these technologies are introduced and their potential molecular-diagnostic roles in resource-limited oncology settings are discussed.

    • Ralph Weissleder
    •  & Hakho Lee
  • Review Article |

    To design and construct tissue adhesives tailored for site-specific actions, it is necessary to understand the interaction between the adhesive and the targeted tissue. In this Review, the development of adhesives for soft tissues is outlined, including discussions of in vivo properties and biocompatibility, as well as the key design criteria for accelerating their translation into clinical practice.

    • Gonzalo Munoz Taboada
    • , Kisuk Yang
    • , Maria J. N. Pereira
    • , Sophie S. Liu
    • , Yangshuo Hu
    • , Jeffrey M. Karp
    • , Natalie Artzi
    •  & Yuhan Lee
  • Review Article |

    Molecular clusters can be used as tuneable, superatomic building blocks to create new functional materials. This Review outlines the synthesis and assembly of superatoms into superatomic crystals and the resulting collective material properties.

    • Evan A. Doud
    • , Anastasia Voevodin
    • , Taylor J. Hochuli
    • , Anouck M. Champsaur
    • , Colin Nuckolls
    •  & Xavier Roy
  • Review Article |

    The complexity of biological tissue presents a challenge for engineering of mechanically compatible materials. In this Review, the stiffness of tissue components — from extracellular matrix and single cells to bulk tissue — is outlined, and how this understanding facilitates the engineering of materials with lifelike properties is discussed.

    • Carlos F. Guimarães
    • , Luca Gasperini
    • , Alexandra P. Marques
    •  & Rui L. Reis
  • Review Article |

    The scalable fabrication of perovskite solar cells and solar modules requires the development of new materials and coating methods. In this Review, we discuss solution-based and vapour-phase coating methods for large-area perovskite films and examine the progress in performance and the parameters affecting large-area coatings.

    • Nam-Gyu Park
    •  & Kai Zhu
  • Review Article |

    The valuable combination of disorder and non-metallic bonding gives rise to high-entropy ceramics. This Review explores the structures and chemistries of these versatile materials, and their applications in catalysis, water splitting, energy storage, thermoelectricity and thermal, environmental and wear protection.

    • Corey Oses
    • , Cormac Toher
    •  & Stefano Curtarolo
  • Review Article |

    Increasing demand for energy-storage systems will inevitably stress the Earth’s lithium supply; thus, the research focus is shifting towards other alkali and alkali earth metals. This Review compares and connects strategies to enable different multivalent and monovalent metal-ion battery anodes, including metal anodes and intercalation-based, alloy-based and conversion-reaction-based anodes.

    • Matthew Li
    • , Jun Lu
    • , Xiulei Ji
    • , Yanguang Li
    • , Yuyan Shao
    • , Zhongwei Chen
    • , Cheng Zhong
    •  & Khalil Amine
  • Review Article |

    Solid-state batteries based on electrolytes with low or zero vapour pressure provide a promising path towards safe, energy-dense storage of electrical energy. In this Review, we consider the requirements and design rules for solid-state electrolytes based on inorganics, organic polymers and organic–inorganic hybrids.

    • Qing Zhao
    • , Sanjuna Stalin
    • , Chen-Zi Zhao
    •  & Lynden A. Archer
  • Review Article |

    Fire endangers lives and property worldwide. Significant efforts are underway to develop flame-retardant surface treatments that minimize the weight added to a given object and preserve its intrinsic mechanical properties. This review summarizes the history and latest developments in flame-retardant treatments, as well as outlining the challenges ahead.

    • Simone T. Lazar
    • , Thomas J. Kolibaba
    •  & Jaime C. Grunlan
  • Review Article |

    The preparation of multiphase nanodroplets has enabled the fabrication of emulsions with novel structures and functions for nanomaterials design and formulation. In this Review, the strategies and challenges to produce, stabilize and characterize such multiple nanoemulsions are discussed, as well as the applications they enable.

    • Tanvi Sheth
    • , Serena Seshadri
    • , Tamás Prileszky
    •  & Matthew E. Helgeson
  • Review Article |

    Compounds that adopt the ReO3-type structure, like their perovskite counterparts, are both numerous and wide ranging in their chemistries and their properties. In this Review, the similarities between the subfamilies of this exciting class of materials are illustrated, showing that often the materials are more alike than they are different.

    • Hayden A. Evans
    • , Yue Wu
    • , Ram Seshadri
    •  & Anthony K. Cheetham
  • Review Article |

    Resistive switching materials enable novel, in-memory information processing, which may resolve the von Neumann bottleneck. This Review focuses on how the switching mechanisms and the resultant electrical properties lead to various computing applications.

    • Zhongrui Wang
    • , Huaqiang Wu
    • , Geoffrey W. Burr
    • , Cheol Seong Hwang
    • , Kang L. Wang
    • , Qiangfei Xia
    •  & J. Joshua Yang
  • Review Article |

    Multifunctional materials are critical to enable next-generation implantable and wearable photonic healthcare devices. This Review examines these emerging materials and discusses the path for their clinical translation, along with the future research directions for the field, particularly regarding mobile healthcare and personalized medicine.

    • Geon-Hui Lee
    • , Hanul Moon
    • , Hyemin Kim
    • , Gae Hwang Lee
    • , Woosung Kwon
    • , Seunghyup Yoo
    • , David Myung
    • , Seok Hyun Yun
    • , Zhenan Bao
    •  & Sei Kwang Hahn
  • Review Article |

    New materials, beyond those that have already obtained regulatory approval, are needed to improve the bioavailability of orally administered proteins. In this Review, barriers to the oral delivery of protein-based therapies are discussed, along with the current translational landscape and state of the art of materials for oral protein delivery.

    • Tyler D. Brown
    • , Kathryn A. Whitehead
    •  & Samir Mitragotri