Browse Articles

  • Editorial |

    This month we explore the evolution of curated data in physics and ponder on the past and future role of journals.

  • Year in Review |

    Strong experimental evidence for the existence of the simplest type of anyons (particles that are neither bosons nor fermions) has emerged this year. The next step is to uncover more exotic types of anyons, such as Majorana fermions.

    • Jay Sau
    • , Steven Simon
    • , Smitha Vishveshwara
    •  & James R. Williams
  • Down to Business |

    Quantum computing technologies are advancing, and the class of addressable problems is expanding. What market strategies are quantum computing companies and start-ups adopting?

    • Evan R. MacQuarrie
    • , Christoph Simon
    • , Stephanie Simmons
    •  & Elicia Maine
  • Review Article |

    The past decade has witnessed remarkable progress in our understanding of equilibration, thermalization and prethermalization, due in large part to experimental breakthroughs in ultracold atomic gases. This Review discusses theoretical and experimental advances on these topics and the challenges ahead.

    • Masahito Ueda
  • Research Highlight |

    A paper in Physics of Fluids shows that the wedge-shaped cross-section of pine needles enhances their capacity to shed water.

    • Ankita Anirban
  • Research Highlight |

    A report from the UK’s Science Council-supported Technician Commitment highlights the role played by technical staff in minimizing the disruption to research caused by COVID-19.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Research Highlight |

    The first quantum error-correcting code was devised by Peter Shor 25 years ago. Ever since there have been numerous advances on both the theoretical and experimental fronts, and quantum error correction turned out to have unexpected applications.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Editorial |

    Physics in Africa is often overlooked. We explore the challenges facing African physicists and what their needs are as authors and readers.

  • Review Article |

    The charge radius of the proton is controversial because measurements by different methods disagree. Recent results indicate that these measurements might be reconciled. In this Review, we discuss the experimental techniques used to measure the proton radius and describe the current status of the field as well as forthcoming experiments.

    • Jean-Philippe Karr
    • , Dominique Marchand
    •  & Eric Voutier
  • Review Article |

    Axion fields provide a unique way to understand large quantized electromagnetic responses in topological insulators and dynamics in Weyl semimetals. This Review discusses the theory of axion fields in condensed matter, their experimental realization and their application in next-generation devices.

    • Dennis M. Nenno
    • , Christina A. C. Garcia
    • , Johannes Gooth
    • , Claudia Felser
    •  & Prineha Narang
  • Perspective |

    Designing new experiments in physics is a challenge for humans; therefore, computers have become a tool to expand scientists’ capabilities and to provide creative solutions. This Perspective article examines computer-inspired designs in quantum physics that led to laboratory experiments and inspired new scientific insights.

    • Mario Krenn
    • , Manuel Erhard
    •  & Anton Zeilinger
  • Review Article |

    Holographic duality is an equivalence relation between a gravitational system and a quantum many-body system. The Review discusses various insights obtained from the duality into properties of strongly coupled matter, quantum many-body chaos and deep connections between quantum information and geometry.

    • Hong Liu
    •  & Julian Sonner
  • Review Article |

    The coupling of photons to material quasiparticles such as plasmons, phonons and excitons opens new possibilities in light–matter interactions. This Review presents a generalized view of such quasiparticles and the technique that describes their interactions with matter: macroscopic quantum electrodynamics.

    • Nicholas Rivera
    •  & Ido Kaminer
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Comment |

    Mansi M. Kasliwal discusses the Global Relay of Observatories Watching Transients Happen (GROWTH) collaboration and shares her enthusiasm about the future of multi-messenger astrophysics.

    • Mansi M. Kasliwal
  • Research Highlight |

    A paper in Science Advances shows that the classic picture of sperm cells moving via symmetrical side-to-side wiggling is an artefact of 2D imaging — the actual motion is far more complex.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • 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
  • Editorial |

    All articles in Nature Reviews Physics are extensively edited in-house before publication. What do we do, and why?

  • Comment |

    Alec Habig and Kate Scholberg describe the Supernova Early Warning System (SNEWS), an international network of neutrino detectors aimed to alert the astronomical community if supernova neutrinos are detected.

    • Alec Habig
    •  & Kate Scholberg
  • Perspective |

    Magnetic skyrmions, two-dimensional nanometre-scale localized states, are promising candidates for new technological applications. This Perspective surveys the progress in this field and offers a brief, accessible guide to the basic physical principles of magnetic skyrmions.

    • Alexei N. Bogdanov
    •  & Christos Panagopoulos
  • Perspective |

    Neuromorphic computing takes inspiration from the brain to create energy-efficient hardware for information processing, capable of highly sophisticated tasks. Including more physics in the algorithms and nanoscale materials used for computing could have a major impact in this field.

    • Danijela Marković
    • , Alice Mizrahi
    • , Damien Querlioz
    •  & Julie Grollier
  • Comment |

    Sarah Antier describes the Global Rapid Advanced Network Devoted to the Multi-messenger Addicts (GRANDMA), which aims to identify and characterize the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave sources

    • Sarah Antier
  • Viewpoint |

    Over the past 40 years, the quantum Hall effect (QHE) has inspired new theories and led to experimental discoveries in a range of fields going beyond solid-state electronics to photonics and quantum entanglement. In this Viewpoint, physicists reflect on how the QHE has influenced their research.

    • Klaus von Klitzing
    • , Tapash Chakraborty
    • , Philip Kim
    • , Vidya Madhavan
    • , Xi Dai
    • , James McIver
    • , Yoshinori Tokura
    • , Lucile Savary
    • , Daria Smirnova
    • , Ana Maria Rey
    • , Claudia Felser
    • , Johannes Gooth
    •  & Xiaoliang Qi
  • Perspective |

    Droplets in general are multicomponent and experience gradients in concentration, often leading to transport phenomena and phase transitions. This Perspective discusses recent progress on the physicochemical hydrodynamics of such droplet systems and their relevance for many important applications.

    • Detlef Lohse
    •  & Xuehua Zhang
  • Research Highlight |

    A Nature Nanotechnology paper presents evidence of new fractional excitations in monolayer WSe2

    • Ankita Anirban
  • Research Highlight |

    The Solar system is chaotic, making its long-term future hard to predict. A paper in Physical Review Letters shows that help may come in the form of instantons, more commonly used in statistical mechanics and gauge field theories.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Review Article |

    Despite comprising only about 15% of the known molecular inventory of the interstellar medium, molecular ions have an outsized role in driving chemical evolution. This Review examines the advances — and challenges — in laboratory spectroscopy that have enabled the study of ions in space.

    • Brett A. McGuire
    • , Oskar Asvany
    • , Sandra Brünken
    •  & Stephan Schlemmer
  • Editorial |

    This month in a dedicated Focus issue, we look back at the first decade of X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) and forward to the challenges and opportunities lying ahead.

  • Research Highlight |

    Over the past decade, several X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) facilities have been constructed and started operation worldwide. New, high-repetition XFELs are expected to open to users in the next 5 years.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Research Highlight |

    Twenty-five years ago a paper in Science reported the first observation of the exotic state of matter predicted in the 1920s by Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein: a Bose–Einstein condensate.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Comment |

    Why the Hall conductance is quantized was an open problem in condensed matter theory for much of the past 40 years. Spyridon Michalakis who worked on the solution — published in 2015 — gives a personal take on how the field evolved.

    • Spyridon Michalakis
  • Technical Review |

    Quantum simulation with ultracold atomic gases is an established platform for investigating complex quantum processes. Focusing on optical lattice experiments, this Technical Review overviews the available tools and their applications to the simulation of solid-state physics problems.

    • Florian Schäfer
    • , Takeshi Fukuhara
    • , Seiji Sugawa
    • , Yosuke Takasu
    •  & Yoshiro Takahashi
  • Review Article |

    The study of higher-dimensional quantum states has seen numerous conceptual and technological developments. This review discusses various techniques for the generation and processing of qudits, which are stored in the momentum, path, time-/frequency-bins, or the orbital angular momentum of photons.

    • Manuel Erhard
    • , Mario Krenn
    •  & Anton Zeilinger