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Volume 578 Issue 7796, 27 February 2020

Made to order

Chirality is a common property of materials in nature, perhaps most readily recognized in molecules that are left- and right-handed mirror images of one another. In condensed-matter physics, crystalline electronic structures can similarly display geometrical chirality, which tends to be predetermined when the crystal lattice is formed. But in some materials, electrons can spontaneously arrange themselves to impart chirality to a structure that was not chiral. This gyrotropic ordering has been described as the quantum equivalent of cholesteric liquid crystals, but it has proved hard to observe. In this week’s issue, Nuh Gedik and his colleagues report they have induced and observed gyrotropic ordering in a transition-metal dichalcogenide — the semimetal 1T-TiSe2. The cover image offers an artist’s interpretation of the team’s method, by which circularly polarized light shone on 1T-TiSe2 while cooling it below the critical temperature results in preferential formation of one chiral domain.

Cover image: Ella Maru Studio

This Week

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News in Focus

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Books & Arts

  • Book Review

    • Public acclaim escaped one of the twentieth century’s most illustrious astronomers, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin; a new biography sets her in the firmament. By Giuseppina Fabbiano.

      • Giuseppina Fabbiano
      Book Review
    • After a century of digging, archaeologists are still tantalized by the secrets of the 7,000-year-old city of Megiddo. By Andrew Robinson.

      • Andrew Robinson
      Book Review
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  • News & Views

    • Tumours are often stiffer than normal tissues and show abnormally fast metabolism of glucose. It emerges that the link between these two traits involves tension in a network of protein filaments in cells.

      • Nadia M. E. Ayad
      • Valerie M. Weaver
      News & Views
    • Metallic glasses are much stronger than conventional metals, but form certain instabilities under stress that lead to fracture. A process known as rejuvenation has been shown to solve this problem.

      • Frans Spaepen
      News & Views
    • A method for directly converting connective-tissue cells into neurons opened up a new branch of research into cell-based therapies and called into question long-held beliefs about how development affects a cell’s identity.

      • Giacomo Masserdotti
      • Magdalena Götz
      News & Views
  • Reviews

    • This Review examines inflammatory bowel disease in the context of human genetics studies that help to identify pathways that regulate homeostasis of the mucosal immune system and discusses future prospects for disease-subtype classification and therapeutic intervention.

      • Daniel B. Graham
      • Ramnik J. Xavier
      Review Article
  • Articles

    • High-energy electron scattering that can isolate pairs of nucleons in high-momentum configurations reveals a transition to spin-independent scalar forces at small separation distances, supporting the use of point-like nucleon models to describe dense nuclear systems.

      • A. Schmidt
      • J. R. Pybus
      • X. Zheng
    • A new type of energy-harvesting device, based on protein nanowires from the microbe Geobacter sulforreducens, can generate a sustained power output by producing a moisture gradient across the nanowire film using natural humidity.

      • Xiaomeng Liu
      • Hongyan Gao
      • Jun Yao
    • Using lead-absorbing materials to coat the front and back of perovskite solar cells can prevent lead leaching from damaged devices, without affecting the device performance or long-term operation stability.

      • Xun Li
      • Fei Zhang
      • Tao Xu
    • The synthesis of uranium- and thorium-containing metallabiphenylenes demonstrates the ability of the actinides to stabilize aromatic/antiaromatic structures where transition metals have failed.

      • Justin K. Pagano
      • Jing Xie
      • Jaqueline L. Kiplinger
    • Phenotypic selection analysis is used to estimate the type and strength of selection that acts on more than 15,000 transcripts in rice (Oryza sativa), which provides insight into the adaptive evolutionary role of selection on gene expression.

      • Simon C. Groen
      • Irina Ćalić
      • Michael D. Purugganan
    • In mixed bacterial populations that colonize nutrient patches, a growth–migration trade-off can lead to spatial exclusion that provides an advantage to populations that become rare, thereby stabilizing the community.

      • Sebastian Gude
      • Erçağ Pinçe
      • Sander J. Tans
    • Single-cell RNA sequencing of cells from humans with multiple sclerosis and mice with a model of the disease identifies a population of disease-promoting astrocytes in which anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory proteins are suppressed.

      • Michael A. Wheeler
      • Iain C. Clark
      • Francisco J. Quintana
    • An HLA- and gluten-dependent mouse model of coeliac disease with villous atrophy provides evidence for the cooperative role of IL-15 and gluten-specific CD4+ T cells in licensing the full activation of cytotoxic T cells that are necessary for inducing epithelial damage.

      • Valérie Abadie
      • Sangman M. Kim
      • Bana Jabri

      Nature Outlook:

    • A single-cell, spatially resolved analysis of breast cancer demonstrates the heterogeneity of tumour and stroma tissue and provides a more-detailed method of patient classification than the current histology-based system.

      • Hartland W. Jackson
      • Jana R. Fischer
      • Bernd Bodenmiller
    • Glycolysis in normal epithelial cells responds to microenvironmental mechanics via the modulation of actin bundles that sequester the phosphofructokinase-targeting ubiquitin ligase TRIM21, a process superseded by persistent actin bundles in cancer cells.

      • Jin Suk Park
      • Christoph J. Burckhardt
      • Gaudenz Danuser
    • The cryo-electron microscopy structure of human thyroglobulin reveals that proximity, flexibility and solvent exposure are key characteristics of its hormonogenic tyrosine pairs, and provides a framework for understanding the formation of thyroid hormones.

      • Francesca Coscia
      • Ajda Taler-Verčič
      • Jan Löwe
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