Progress Article

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  • Advanced microscopy techniques provide unique insight into a material's structure. This Progress Article discusses how the application of big, deep and smart data to image analysis might permit the design of materials with advanced functionality.

    • Sergei V. Kalinin
    • Bobby G. Sumpter
    • Richard K. Archibald
    Progress Article
  • Thermal vibrations in materials can be controlled via interference (in a similar way to light propagating in layered structures) to produce a thermal bandgap, an approach promising for thermoelectric applications.

    • Martin Maldovan
    Progress Article
  • Graphene is potentially attractive for electrochemical energy storage devices but whether it will lead to real technological progress is still unclear. Recent applications of graphene in battery technology and electrochemical capacitors are now assessed critically.

    • Rinaldo Raccichini
    • Alberto Varzi
    • Bruno Scrosati
    Progress Article
  • Microimaging techniques, such as interference and infrared microscopy, can be used as a tool to directly monitor guest profiles within nanoporous materials. Observation of the variation in these profiles leads to unprecedented insight into transport phenomena, including intracrystalline diffusion and surface permeation.

    • Jörg Kärger
    • Tomas Binder
    • Jens Weitkamp
    Progress Article
  • Solar cells based on colloidal quantum dots require specific charge-extraction strategies that take full advantage of the size-tunable absorption properties of the nanoparticles. This Progress Article reviews the recent engineering efforts aimed at maximizing the power-conversion efficiency of these devices by developing novel architectures as well as by optimizing the morphological and electronic properties of both the electrodes and quantum dot layers.

    • Xinzheng Lan
    • Silvia Masala
    • Edward H. Sargent
    Progress Article
  • Memory devices based on the spin-transfer-torque effect offer a range of attractive properties, such as speed of operation and low energy cost. This Progress Article outlines a strategy for assembling different nanodevices based on the spin-torque effect to achieve qualitatively different computing architectures.

    • N. Locatelli
    • V. Cros
    • J. Grollier
    Progress Article
  • Graphene and topological insulator two-dimensional electron systems are described by massless Dirac equations. Although the two systems have similar Hamiltonians, they are polar opposites in terms of spin–orbit coupling strength. The status of efforts to achieve long spin-relaxation times in weakly spin–orbit-coupled graphene, and large current-induced spin-polarizations in strongly spin–orbit-coupled topological insulator surface states are reviewed in this Progress Article.

    • Dmytro Pesin
    • Allan H. MacDonald
    Progress Article
  • The resolution of conventional optical instruments is limited to length scales of roughly the wavelength of the light used. Nanoscale superlenses offer a solution for achieving much higher resolutions that may find appllications in many imaging areas.

    • Xiang Zhang
    • Zhaowei Liu
    Progress Article
  • Theoretical work has highlighted the potential of using devices in which spin-polarized carries are injected in single molecular magnets, and a few experiments have shown promising results. The challenges are great, but the advantages compared with more conventional strategies may be considerable, and future research promises to be intriguing and rewarding.

    • Lapo Bogani
    • Wolfgang Wernsdorfer
    Progress Article