Browse Articles

  • Technical Review |

    Active matter consists of energy-consuming units, which self-propel, exert forces on their neighbours and act collectively, resulting in emergent non-equilibrium behaviour. This Review surveys computational models that describe a wide range of active systems, from synthetic microswimmers to animal herds.

    • M. Reza Shaebani
    • , Adam Wysocki
    • , Roland G. Winkler
    • , Gerhard Gompper
    •  & Heiko Rieger
  • Editorial |

    As the gravitational wave detector KAGRA goes online and the Hyper-Kamiokande neutrino detector upgrade is approved, we look at a number of upcoming big science projects in Japan.

  • Technical Review |

    Metadynamics is a technique to enhance the probability of observing rare events, such as chemical reactions and phase transitions, in molecular dynamics simulations. This Technical Review surveys the technique, addressing the critical issues that are met in practical applications.

    • Giovanni Bussi
    •  & Alessandro Laio
  • Comment |

    Keeping track of the rapidly improving solar cell performance is not as easy as it seems. Martin Green describes the Solar Cell Efficiency Tables that have been providing regular updates of the record solar cell performance since the 1990s.

    • Martin A. Green
  • Feature |

    Experiments around the world are looking for signs of the charge conjugation and parity (CP) symmetry violation. Some of these searches might also reveal physics beyond the standard model.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Review Article |

    Optical microscopy is limited to shallow in vivo imaging depths owing to the exponential extinction of single-scattered waves by multiple light scattering. In this Review, we survey methodologies for deep optical imaging that maintain microscopic resolution by making deterministic use of multiple-scattered waves.

    • Seokchan Yoon
    • , Moonseok Kim
    • , Mooseok Jang
    • , Youngwoon Choi
    • , Wonjun Choi
    • , Sungsam Kang
    •  & Wonshik Choi
  • Research Highlight |

    A study in Advanced Materials combines ARPES and STM measurements of the same SmB6 crystal to provide a consistent picture of its surface states.

    • Ankita Anirban
  • Perspective |

    Substantial progress has been made towards making fusion a source of commercial energy. One challenge is the damage that filamentary plasma eruptions cause to plasma-facing components. This Perspective summarizes what is understood about these eruptions and strategies for controlling them.

    • Christopher Ham
    • , Andrew Kirk
    • , Stanislas Pamela
    •  & Howard Wilson
  • Research Highlight |

    Although the ultimate fate of the the International Linear Collider, a future 250 GeV linear accelerator based on superconducting radiofrequency technology, is yet to be decided, research and development efforts are proceeding undeterred.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Research Highlight |

    Over the next 5 years the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) will be mapping 35 million galaxies and 2.4 million quasars trying to uncover the mystery of dark energy.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Editorial |

    How can physicists reap the benefits of conferences while reducing their environmental impact? New formats, such as online and multisite conferences, may be part of the solution.

  • Research Highlight |

    A Nature Communications paper reports a new model describing friction in layered materials and explaining previous results that were in apparent contradiction with one another.

    • Giulia Pacchioni
  • Review Article |

    The integration of gate-defined quantum dots with superconducting resonators results in a hybrid architecture that holds promise for quantum information processing. This Review discusses recent experimental results in the field, including the achievement of strong coupling between single microwave photons and the charge and spin degrees of freedom, and examines the underlying physics.

    • Guido Burkard
    • , Michael J. Gullans
    • , Xiao Mi
    •  & Jason R. Petta
  • Research Highlight |

    A PNAS paper presents a neural network of physics publications that can identify trends and provide suggestions for future research directions in quantum physics

    • Ankita Anirban
  • Research Highlight |

    A Nature Physics paper reports a hardware-independent variational quantum algorithm that can be used to verify sampling and characterize unknown physical processes.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Comment |

    The increasing entropy of a black hole that evaporates by emitting Hawking radiation is at odds with the predictions of quantum mechanics. Juan Maldacena discusses the latest advances in solving this puzzle, known as the black hole information paradox.

    • Juan Maldacena
  • Editorial |

    This month we examine the diversity of authors and referees at Nature Reviews Physics and find a lot of room to improve.

  • Technical Review |

    Cosmological computer simulations of galaxy formation emerged as the primary tool to study structure formation in the Universe. This Technical Review describes the main techniques and ingredients of such simulations and their application to develop and constrain galaxy formation theories.

    • Mark Vogelsberger
    • , Federico Marinacci
    • , Paul Torrey
    •  & Ewald Puchwein
  • Review Article |

    Cilia are hair-like organelles that enable cellular locomotion. This Review considers cilia from a dynamical systems perspective, discussing the nonlinear oscillations seen in the single cilia of microorganisms and the emergent topological phenomena seen in the ciliary arrays of animals.

    • William Gilpin
    • , Matthew Storm Bull
    •  & Manu Prakash
  • Technical Review |

    Neutron spectroscopy is a powerful probe to study the dynamics in materials. This Technical Review assesses the state-of-the-art experimental spectroscopic methods, which are optimized to provide high energy resolution and can reveal dynamic processes on the picosecond and nanosecond timescales.

    • Jason S. Gardner
    • , Georg Ehlers
    • , Antonio Faraone
    •  & Victoria García Sakai
  • Research Highlight |

    In December, physicists met in Paris to discuss how to push the limits of what can be measured with quantum sensors and how to keep moving them towards practical applications.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Research Highlight |

    The three-body problem is relevant for astrophysical phenomena such as black hole mergers. It famously lacks a general analytical solution, but a new statistical solution relates the distributions of final and initial states, while requiring fewer assumptions than previous approaches.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Year in Review |

    The Hubble constant can be estimated from measurements of both the early and late Universe, but the two estimates disagree. In 2019 a number of independent measurements using different methods made this discrepancy harder to ignore.

    • Adam G. Riess
  • Feature |

    As the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) celebrates its 10th anniversary, scientists look back on a challenging yet successful decade of research made possible by national and international collaboration.

    • Megan Friend
  • Comment |

    Knowing which atomic, molecular and optical physics computer code to use and how is a challenge. Andrew Brown surveys the available software packages and discusses how code development practices in academia could be improved.

    • Andrew Brown
  • Technical Review |

    Numerical methods such as the close-coupling, R-matrix and Kohn variational methods have been around for decades, but more recently they have been applied to the treatment of the time-dependent interaction of strong electromagnetic fields with atoms and molecules.

    • Barry I. Schneider
    •  & Heman Gharibnejad
  • Year in Review |

    In 2019, new optical phenomena have been revealed in stacks of atomically thin semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides. These effects can be understood in terms of well-known, but also new, exotic, types of exciton.

    • Alexander Tartakovskii
  • Research Highlight |

    Writing in Physical Review Letters the XENON collaboration reports how it is pushing the limits of the XENON1T experiment, further constraining the regions where light dark matter could be lurking.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Research Highlight |

    Scientists benchmark quantum simulations of a textbook condensed matter system on the IBM 20-qubit quantum computer.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Editorial |

    As we close volume 1 this month, we take a look at the first year of Nature Reviews Physics: content, topics, authorship and readership.

  • Research Highlight |

    Topological insulator band theory usually neglects electron correlations as these are overridden by spin–orbit coupling. Now, two papers strongly confine 1D topological edge states in order to study the effect of correlations.

    • Ankita Anirban
  • Review Article |

    Pseudo-electromagnetic fields emerge in inhomogeneous materials. This Review discusses the properties of such fields in the context of 3D topological semimetals, the origin and consequences of pseudo-fields in real materials and their field theory description.

    • Roni Ilan
    • , Adolfo G. Grushin
    •  & Dmitry I. Pikulin
  • Research Highlight |

    Biological tissues are scaffolded by the extracellular matrix, but details of how this network of fibre-like macromolecules is patterned have remained elusive. Two papers demonstrate the role of feedback between cells and matrix, and identify how the mechanism is regulated.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • Research Highlight |

    Two studies published in Phys. Rev. Lett. predict new types of topological insulators that could be observed in places such as twisted bilayer graphene or periodically driven systems.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Review Article |

    Artificial spin ices are metamaterials displaying fascinating phenomena arising from the collective behaviour of nanoscale magnets. We review recent developments in terms of emergent magnetic monopoles, phase transitions, dynamics and geometries, and discuss future directions for research and potential applications.

    • Sandra H. Skjærvø
    • , Christopher H. Marrows
    • , Robert L. Stamps
    •  & Laura J. Heyderman
  • Editorial |

    This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Gabriel Stokes, a physicist and mathematician best known for his contributions to fluid dynamics, but whose work was broader than that.

  • Perspective |

    Quantum sensors based on atom interferometry are moving from fundamental research towards commercial applications in metrology, geophysics, space, civil engineering, oil and minerals exploration, and navigation, but a number of challenges need to be overcome.

    • Kai Bongs
    • , Michael Holynski
    • , Jamie Vovrosh
    • , Philippe Bouyer
    • , Gabriel Condon
    • , Ernst Rasel
    • , Christian Schubert
    • , Wolfgang P. Schleich
    •  & Albert Roura
  • Research Highlight |

    In September, scientists gathered at the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the institute, an event marked by a symposium discussing future prospects in cosmology, large-scale structure and galaxy formation.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • Comment |

    The fluid mechanics of active materials, built around the idea of living systems as condensed matter made of free-energy-consuming particles, gives insight into biology and opens new directions in physics. Sriram Ramaswamy discusses the history and future of the field.

    • Sriram Ramaswamy
  • Research Highlight |

    More than 1,700 planetary scientists from 52 countries gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, in September for the joint meeting of the Europlanet Society’s European Planetary Science Congress and the meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

    • Nilda Oklay-Vincent
  • Research Highlight |

    The Optical Society’s Frontiers in Optics conference held in Washington DC, USA, this September brought together students and Nobel Laureates alike to discuss the wide-ranging fields of optics and photonics.

    • Daniel T. Payne
  • Expert Recommendation |

    Random lasing, which exploits disorder to enhance stimulated emission, challenges the conventional descriptions of lasing. This Expert Recommendation describes experimental methods required to properly assess and demonstrate random lasing action.

    • Riccardo Sapienza
  • Review Article |

    The partonic (quark and gluon) structure of protons and neutrons is modified in heavy nuclei. This Review surveys how studies of photon-induced interactions reveal the density distribution of partons in nuclei, thereby probing quantum chromodynamics in high-density environments.

    • Spencer R. Klein
    •  & Heikki Mäntysaari
  • Year in Review |

    Black holes — from which no light escapes — have now been ‘seen’ by electromagnetic and gravitational-wave observatories. Datasets from these observations, released in the past year, give important hints about the environment, origin and growth of black holes.

    • Vitor Cardoso
  • Review Article |

    Earth and planetary landscapes are composed of soft matter: amorphous materials that deform in response to broad-spectrum excitations, from fluid turbulence to plate tectonics. This Review surveys complex behaviours of earth materials that challenge existing physics frameworks and may inspire new approaches.

    • Douglas J. Jerolmack
    •  & Karen E. Daniels
  • Editorial |

    This month we publish a Review and an Expert Recommendation on multi-messenger astrophysics, a field that inherently involves big collaborations, big instruments and big data.

  • Review Article |

    Multi-messenger astrophysics is an emerging discipline that combines the information from cosmic rays, neutrinos, gravitational waves and photons emitted by cosmic sources. This overview of the field highlights its challenges and exciting opportunities.

    • Péter Mészáros
    • , Derek B. Fox
    • , Chad Hanna
    •  & Kohta Murase