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    On 31 December 2018, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft began to orbit the asteroid (101955) Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid believed to harbour organic molecules and hydrated minerals.

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    Fire and ice: this collection explores volcanism and the presence of water (-ice) across our Solar System and what it can tell us about planetary geologic processes.

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    Metals, alloys, ceramics, and composites are the backbone of the automotive, construction, and aerospace industries, and are also extensively used in complex biomedical and biomimetic applications. Game-changing advances in these fields rely on innovative material design based on new principles, and require better understanding of how to predict and optimise material properties. This collection highlights some of the experimental and theoretical work published in Nature Communications on the science and engineering of load-bearing materials, and on how microstructure and operating environment can affect performance. It showcases the latest research dealing with material behaviour, defects, and phase transitions at the macro, micro, and nano-scale.

    Image: P. Barriobero-Vila / doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05819-9
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    In this collection, we showcase recent articles published in Nature Communications on FEL generation and characterization and their application in fundamental studies of light-matter interaction. These research papers include FEL instrumentation and techniques, investigations on photoionization and ultrafast processes in atomic and molecular physics, chemical and physical properties of condensed matter systems, and probing of structure and dynamics of biological samples. This collection highlights the increasingly significant role FELs are having on research across a diverse range of subject areas and Nature Communications’ role as a suitable platform in publishing such multidisciplinary works.

    Image: Max O. Wiedorn et al.
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    Early Earth research is an exciting, yet particularly difficult field of research. This collection highlights the different opinions on how to investigate the early formation of genetic material, honours the difficulties of early Earth research, and showcases some advances in origin-of-life research that have been published in Nature Communications.

    Image: Pobytov/Getty
  • Collection |

    In this collection, we highlight a selection of recent experimental and theoretical studies published in Nature Communications that reflect the breadth of supramolecular chemistry as a discipline.

    Image: Ariane Vartanian / doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04325-2
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    This cross-disciplinary collection brings together Nature Communications articles from biotechnology, optics, neuroscience, cell biology, and medicine that develop or apply light-controlled technologies.

    Image: courtneyk/Getty
  • Collection |

    Synthetic and medicinal chemists are at the forefront of drug discovery and development. This collection showcases some of the most recent advances in organic synthesis, biocatalysis and -chemistry geared towards discovery and improvement of bioactive compounds, which have been published in Nature Communications.

    Image: fotohunter/Getty
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    This interdisciplinary collection showcases recent Nature Communications articles that provide new insights into microbial interactions, competition and coexistence dynamics, community assembly, and contributions to ecosystem function.

  • Collection |

    In this collection we highlight recent plasma research from Nature Communications, including fundamental processes relevant to astrophysical events, energy transfer from lasers to particles during acceleration, material development for plasma confinement and nuclear reactions in plasma fusion devices, plus much more.

    Image: Caval/Getty Images
  • Focus |

    Editors' Highlights: Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.