Technical Review

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  • High-resolution images of the local charge distribution in materials often have a key role in establishing structure–property relationships. This Technical Review provides an overview of atomic-resolution charge density imaging techniques in transmission electron microscopy with a focus on recent advances in phase-retrieval methods and applications to heterogeneous materials.

    • Christopher Addiego
    • Wenpei Gao
    • Xiaoqing Pan
    Technical Review
  • The Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interaction is an exchange coupling that appears in magnetic systems with spin–orbit coupling. This Technical Review systematically surveys first-principles-calculations methods for DMI in different material systems and for a range of induced magnetic phenomena.

    • Hongxin Yang
    • Jinghua Liang
    • Qirui Cui
    Technical Review
  • Spin qubits hosted in semiconducting nanostructures controlled and probed electrically are among platforms pursued to serve as quantum computing hardware. This Technical Review surveys experimentally achieved values on coherence, speed, fidelity and multi-qubit array size, reflecting the progress of semiconducting spin qubits over the past two decades.

    • Peter Stano
    • Daniel Loss
    Technical Review
  • Modelling soft-robot deformations induced by actuators and interactions with the surrounding environment can enable full uptake of embodied intelligence. This Technical Review provides a concise guide to modelling approaches and computational strategies that can lead to model-informed design of embodied intelligent robots.

    • Gianmarco Mengaldo
    • Federico Renda
    • Cecilia Laschi
    Technical Review
  • Polaritons enable the precise control of light at an extreme scale. Van der Waals (vdW) materials offer a natural and versatile platform to host and tailor polaritons. This Technical Review summarizes the state of the art in the manipulation of polaritons with vdW materials.

    • Yingjie Wu
    • Jiahua Duan
    • Qiaoliang Bao
    Technical Review
  • Electric-double-layer transistors and ionic field-effect transistors enable continuous tuning of carrier densities in 2D superconductors, which are essential for studying novel quantum phenomena and finding new high-temperature superconductors. This Review summarizes recent advances and future development paths for electric-field-gated superconductivity in various ultrathin superconducting materials, including iron-based superconductors, transition-metal dichalcogenides, honeycomb bilayer superconductors and cuprates.

    • Peng Liu
    • Bin Lei
    • Xiaolin Wang
    Technical Review
  • Topological insulators are unique materials giving rise to unconventional quantum phenomena. This Technical Review discusses how various physics effects can only be observed in devices carefully fabricated to address them, including topological superconductivity, quantum anomalous Hall states, spintronic functionalities and topological mesoscopic physics.

    • Oliver Breunig
    • Yoichi Ando
    Technical Review
  • Microwave impedance microscopy, a scanning probe technique that measures local conductivity and permittivity with minimal sample preparation, has become a mature tool with fundamental and practical applications. This Technical Review describes its working principles, applications and future opportunities.

    • Mark E. Barber
    • Eric Yue Ma
    • Zhi-Xun Shen
    Technical Review
  • The ability to image nanometre-scale magnetization and current density is key to deciphering the physics of correlated states hosted in 2D layered materials. This Technical Review analyses the magnetic imaging techniques most amenable to these systems, compares their capabilities and limitations, and discusses their potential impact.

    • Estefani Marchiori
    • Lorenzo Ceccarelli
    • Martino Poggio
    Technical Review
  • Quantum Hall systems represent an example of topological quantum matter, where quasiparticles with fractional statistics (anyons) may emerge. This Technical Review presents a survey of recent developments in quantum Hall interferometry.

    • Matteo Carrega
    • Luca Chirolli
    • Lucia Sorba
    Technical Review
  • Magnetic molecules have been widely proposed for different quantum technologies due to their bewildering quantum properties. This Review describes techniques of paramount importance for the characterization, understanding and, ultimately, manipulation of the electronic properties of these systems.

    • Eufemio Moreno-Pineda
    • Wolfgang Wernsdorfer
    Technical Review
  • Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and in vivo histology go beyond standard magnetic resonance imaging, aiming at characterizing tissue microstructure of the living brain. This Technical Review discusses advances in concepts, instrumentation, biophysical models and validation approaches facilitating this rapidly developing field.

    • Nikolaus Weiskopf
    • Luke J. Edwards
    • Evgeniya Kirilina
    Technical Review
  • Over the last decade, ionic gate spectroscopy has developed into a powerful technique to measure gaps and band offsets of atomically thin semiconductors. Here, we provide a detailed overview of the technique, discussing results obtained on different 2D semiconducting materials.

    • Ignacio Gutiérrez-Lezama
    • Nicolas Ubrig
    • Alberto F. Morpurgo
    Technical Review
  • The interaction of light with matter probed with a scanning tunnelling microscope reveals dynamics at atomic space-time scales. This Review discusses experimental schemes by which light–matter interaction is explored, taking advantage of light coupled into or extracted from the tunnel junction.

    • Rico Gutzler
    • Manish Garg
    • Klaus Kern
    Technical Review
  • First-principles calculations have been very successful in predicting topological quantum materials. This Technical Review covers topological band theory and provides a guide to the study of topological materials with first-principles methods.

    • Jiewen Xiao
    • Binghai Yan
    Technical Review
  • Fourier ptychography is an imaging approach that addresses the intrinsic trade-off between resolution and field of view in optical systems and provides computational correction of optical aberrations. This Technical Review surveys its implementations and applications.

    • Guoan Zheng
    • Cheng Shen
    • Changhuei Yang
    Technical Review
  • Symmetry breaking plays a significant role in the determination of the fascinating physical phenomena and quantum phase transitions in 2D materials. This Review discusses the state-of-the-art physical and chemical approaches to engineer the symmetry breaking of 2D materials and their heterostructures.

    • Luojun Du
    • Tawfique Hasan
    • Zhipei Sun
    Technical Review
  • Understanding light–matter interactions in layered materials is crucial for applications in photonics and optoelectronics. This Technical Review discusses the optical spectroscopy techniques to access details of the electronic band structure, crystal quality, crystal orientation and spin–valley polarization, including key aspects of practical set-ups to perform experiments for a broad range of applications.

    • Shivangi Shree
    • Ioannis Paradisanos
    • Bernhard Urbaszek
    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
    Technical Review