Commentary

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  • Mobility is an important charge-transport parameter in organic, inorganic and hybrid semiconductors. We outline some of the common pitfalls of mobility extraction from field-effect transistor (FET) measurements and propose practical recommendations to avoid reporting erroneous mobilities in publications.

    • Hyun Ho Choi
    • Kilwon Cho
    • Vitaly Podzorov
    Commentary
  • Biomaterials engineered with specific bioactive ligands, tunable mechanical properties and complex architecture have emerged as powerful tools to probe cell sensing and response to physical properties of their material surroundings, and ultimately provide designer approaches to control cell function.

    • Linqing Li
    • Jeroen Eyckmans
    • Christopher S. Chen
    Commentary
  • Specialized imaging methods are now available to measure the quantum properties of materials with high sensitivity and resolution. These techniques are key to the design, synthesis and understanding of materials with exotic functionalities.

    • Kathryn Ann Moler
    Commentary
  • The properties of semiconducting solids are determined by the imperfections they contain. Established physical phenomena can be converted into practical design principles for optimizing defects and doping in a broad range of technology-enabling materials.

    • Aron Walsh
    • Alex Zunger
    Commentary
  • Concerns about the planet's health call for a careful evaluation of the environmental impact of materials choices. Life-cycle assessment is a tool that can help identify sustainable materials pathways by considering the burdens of materials both during production and as a product.

    • Randolph E. Kirchain Jr
    • Jeremy R. Gregory
    • Elsa A. Olivetti
    Commentary
  • Membrane materials provide economical means to achieve various separation processes — and their capabilities for processing organic fluids look set to expand significantly.

    • Ryan P. Lively
    • David S. Sholl
    Commentary
  • Topological semimetals and metals have emerged as a new frontier in the field of quantum materials. Novel macroscopic quantum phenomena they exhibit are not only of fundamental interest, but may hold some potential for technological applications.

    • A. A. Burkov
    Commentary
  • Physicists have discovered a new topological phase of matter, the Weyl semimetal, whose surface features a non-closed Fermi surface whereas the low-energy quasiparticles in the bulk emerge as Weyl fermions. A brief review of these developments and perspectives on the next steps forward are presented.

    • Shuang Jia
    • Su-Yang Xu
    • M. Zahid Hasan
    Commentary
  • Although exciton–polariton lasers have been experimentally demonstrated in a variety of material systems, robust practical implementations are still challenging. Similarities with atomic Bose–Einstein condensates make the system suitable for chip-based quantum simulators for non-trivial many-body physics.

    • Michael D. Fraser
    • Sven Höfling
    • Yoshihisa Yamamoto
    Commentary
  • Tactile sensors provide robots with the ability to interact with humans and the environment with great accuracy, yet technical challenges remain for electronic-skin systems to reach human-level performance.

    • Chiara Bartolozzi
    • Lorenzo Natale
    • Giorgio Metta
    Commentary
  • The successful adoption of metallic additive manufacturing in aviation will require investment in basic scientific understanding of the process, defining of standards and adaptive regulation.

    • Jaime Bonnín Roca
    • Parth Vaishnav
    • M. Granger Morgan
    Commentary
  • Metallic materials are fundamental to advanced aircraft engines. While perceived as mature, emerging computational, experimental and processing innovations are expanding the scope for discovery and implementation of new metallic materials for future generations of advanced propulsion systems.

    • Tresa M. Pollock
    Commentary
  • Humankind's aerospace aspirations are placing unprecedented demands on vehicle propulsion systems. Advanced structural ceramics are playing a key role in addressing these challenges.

    • Nitin P. Padture
    Commentary
  • Long commercialization times, high capital costs and sustained uncertainty deter investment in innovation for advanced materials. With appropriate strategies, technology and market uncertainties can be reduced, and the commercialization of advanced materials accelerated.

    • Elicia Maine
    • Purnesh Seegopaul
    Commentary
  • Nucleic acid memory has a retention time far exceeding electronic memory. As an alternative storage media, DNA surpasses the information density and energy of operation offered by flash memory.

    • Victor Zhirnov
    • Reza M. Zadegan
    • William L. Hughes
    Commentary
  • In the last few years, the advent of metal halide perovskite solar cells has revolutionized the prospects of next-generation photovoltaics. As this technology is maturing at an exceptional rate, research on its environmental impact is becoming increasingly relevant.

    • Aslihan Babayigit
    • Anitha Ethirajan
    • Bert Conings
    Commentary
  • The Paris agreement on climate change represents an important step in the design of a new global framework for the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency and renewable energy are keys for the success of this ambitious agreement.

    • Dolf Gielen
    • Francisco Boshell
    • Deger Saygin
    Commentary
  • Twenty years ago, the 'phonon-glass, electron-crystal' concept changed thinking in thermoelectric materials research, resulting in new high-performance materials and an increased focus on controlling structure and chemical bonding to minimize irreversible heat transport in crystals.

    • Matt Beekman
    • Donald T. Morelli
    • George S. Nolas
    Commentary