Image: Denys Bilytskyi, Alamy Stock Photo. Cover design: Charlotte Gurr.

In the September issue

Physics for neuromorphic computing, acoustic and optical forces for biomedical research, the Kondo insulator samarium hexaboride, magnetic skyrmions and a Focus on multi-messenger astrophysics.

Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Topological Majorana bound states have potential for encoding, manipulating and protecting quantum information in condensed-matter systems. This Review discusses emergence and characterization of Majorana bound states in realistic devices based on hybrid semiconducting nanowires and their connection to more conventional Andreev bound states.

    • Elsa Prada
    • , Pablo San-Jose
    • , Michiel W. A. de Moor
    • , Attila Geresdi
    • , Eduardo J. H. Lee
    • , Jelena Klinovaja
    • , Daniel Loss
    • , Jesper Nygård
    • , Ramón Aguado
    •  & Leo P. Kouwenhoven
  • Review Article |

    Ferroelectric and ferroelastic domain walls are 2D topological defects with thicknesses approaching the unit cell level and emergent functional properties. This Review discusses the exotic polarization profiles that arise at domain walls and the fundamental mechanisms responsible for domain-wall conduction.

    • G. F. Nataf
    • , M. Guennou
    • , J. M. Gregg
    • , D. Meier
    • , J. Hlinka
    • , E. K. H. Salje
    •  & J. Kreisel
  • Review Article |

    2D materials host various collective excitations, which either mutate or cease to exist in the bulk. In this Review, we select the most striking properties of 2D plasmons, excitons, phonons and magnons, contrasting them with the bulk versions.

    • Aleksandr Rodin
    • , Maxim Trushin
    • , Alexandra Carvalho
    •  & A. H. Castro Neto
  • Review Article |

    Understanding the behaviour of materials at high pressures and temperatures is of great importance to planetary science and the physics of warm dense matter. This Review addresses the close connection between modelling the interiors of gaseous planets and the high-pressure physics of hydrogen and helium.

    • Ravit Helled
    • , Guglielmo Mazzola
    •  & Ronald Redmer
  • Technical Review |

    Acoustic and optical waves can be used to exert non-contact forces on microscopic and mesoscopic objects. In this Technical Review, we compare and contrast the use of these modalities, or combinations thereof, in terms of sample manipulation and suitability for biomedical studies.

    • Kishan Dholakia
    • , Bruce W. Drinkwater
    •  & Monika Ritsch-Marte
  • Review Article |

    The Kondo insulator samarium hexaboride is the first experimentally demonstrated example of a strongly correlated topological insulator. This article reviews the topological theory and experimental evidence, including a mystery as to the origin of quantum oscillations and their relation to possible unconventional bulk in-gap states.

    • Lu Li
    • , Kai Sun
    • , Cagliyan Kurdak
    •  & J. W. Allen

News & Comment

  • Viewpoint |

    Ten African researchers discuss the varied challenges and opportunities faced by physicists across the continent.

    • Rabia Salihu Sa’id
    • , Ibiyinka Fuwape
    • , Alain Moise Dikandé
    • , Jamal Mimouni
    • , Francis Hasford
    • , Delia Haynes
    • , Igle Gledhill
    • , George Amolo
    • , Omololu Akin-Ojo
    •  & Nashwa Eassa
  • Research Highlight |

    A Nature paper shows how vertical oscillations can be used to levitate a fluid and float a boat upside down.

    • Ankita Anirban
  • Editorial |

    The 5 years since the first detection of gravitational waves have witnessed the rise of multi-messenger astronomy, a field that expands our understanding of astrophysical processes and reshapes the way science is done.

  • Comment |

    Faced with an economic crisis as large and rapid as that precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, economists have turned to new ‘fast indicators’ based on big data, as Andy Haldane and Shiv Chowla of the Bank of England explain.

    • Andy Haldane
    •  & Shiv Chowla
  • Comment |

    János Kertész and Johannes Wachs discuss how complexity science and network science are particularly useful for identifying and describing the hidden traces of economic misbehaviour such as fraud and corruption.

    • János Kertész
    •  & Johannes Wachs
  • Comment |

    Caterina La Porta and Stefano Zapperi discuss how a suitable identification of the control and order parameters can shed light on the nature of phase transitions in cell migration.

    • Caterina A. M. La Porta
    •  & Stefano Zapperi


40 years of the quantum Hall effect

Image courtesy of Vidya Madhavan, Illinois University

40 years of the quantum Hall effect

The discovery of the quantum Hall effect in 1980 marked a turning point in condensed matter physics.