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The cover depicts a scanning electron microscope image of quantum-well infrared photodetectors created from a metamaterial array of metallic resonators. Technologies for the detection of infrared radiation in the long-wavelength range (8-12 micrometres) exist, but devices that are both very fast and sensitive require low-temperature operation, which limits their applications. In this issue, Daniele Palaferri and his collaborators show how photonic metamaterial ideas combined with the high speed of quantum-well infrared photodetectors leads to an ultrasensitive coherent detection, similar to that developed for radio waves: heterodyne detection. This enhanced sensitivity for the detection of long-wavelength infrared radiation at room temperature potentially opens up a range of applications, from thermal imaging and environmental remote sensing to coherent free-space communications. Cover image: Daniele Palaferri & Stephane Suffit/University Paris-Diderot
How do changes in climate affect forest ecosystems? A study of temperate forests in the United States has assessed alterations in biomass and tree-species composition across a 20-year period of climate variability.
A superlattice consisting of two graphene sheets twisted relative to each other by a specific amount exhibits superconductivity when doped electrostatically, with a relatively high critical temperature.
Quantum-well photodetectors fabricated from photonic metamaterials show enhanced room-temperature sensitivity to long-wavelength infrared radiation and produce gigahertz-frequency heterodyne signals when pumped with quantum cascade lasers.
Cryo-transmission electron microscopy reveals the initiation of glucose isomerase crystals and their growth into different crystalline or gel polymorphs, and shows that mutating specific amino acids controls which polymorph grows.
A suite of river discharge, tree-ring, sedimentary and climate data shows that the Mississippi’s flood magnitude has risen by about twenty per cent over the past half-century, largely owing to engineering works.
Forest inventory data from the 1980s and 2000s show the response of eastern USA forests to climate variability; direct effects of climate on forest biomass are amplified by changes in tree species composition.
WebTreatment of lipopolysaccharide-activated macrophages with the cell-permeable itaconate derivative 4-octyl itaconate activates the anti-inflammatory transcription factor Nrf2 by alkylating key cysteine residues on the KEAP1 protein.
Evolutionary coupling-enabled molecular replacement determination of the structure of Thermus thermophilus RodA reveals a highly conserved cavity in its transmembrane domain, and mutagenesis experiments in Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli show that perturbation of this cavity abolishes RodA function.
Cryo-electron microscopy structures of insulin in a complex with the insulin receptor define the S2 binding site on the receptor and suggest a mechanism for downstream propagation of insulin signalling.
Cryo-electron microscopy structures of multiple states along the assembly pathway of the nucleolar pre-60S ribosomal subunit suggest that folding of the pre-ribosomal RNA and sequential binding of transient assembly factors are regulated by steric hindrance among these factors.
Structures of the voltage-gated and phosphatidylinositol 3,5-bisphosphate-activated mouse two-pore channel TPC1 in apo and ligand-bound states provide insights into the selectivity and gating mechanisms of mammalian two-pore channels.