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  • Nanoscale objects provide opportunities to revolutionize the conversion of solar energy by enabling highly efficient and low-cost devices. Challenges associated with demonstrating high efficiency and stability are now being addressed in the research community.

    • Matthew C. Beard
    • Joseph M. Luther
    • Arthur J. Nozik
  • The large-scale production of graphene aimed at industrial applications has grown significantly in the past few years, especially since many companies in China have entered the market.

    • Wencai Ren
    • Hui-Ming Cheng
  • Research in nanotechnology in India is on an upswing given the substantial investments in the past two decades. Making an impact globally will now require investing in education, entrepreneurship, translational science, infrastructure for manufacturing, and changing the administrative mindset.

    • Arindam Ghosh
    • Yamuna Krishnan
  • The spin–orbit interaction can generate torques that act on the magnetization of a ferromagnet. Here we examine recent experimental insights into spin–orbit torques, which have generated competing explanations and differing opinions over their potential application in memory devices.

    • Arne Brataas
    • Kjetil M. D. Hals
  • The confluence of nanotechnology and biotechnology provides significant commercial opportunities. By identifying, classifying and tracking firms with capabilities in both biotechnology and nanotechnology over time, we analyse the emergence and evolution of the global nanobiotechnology industry.

    • Elicia Maine
    • V. J. Thomas
    • James Utterback
  • Research and teaching in nanoscience can, and should, be thought as one joint endeavour. nanoHUB, a cyberinfrastructure that aims to use interactive cloud-based software to meet the needs of both code developers and end-users, is redefining research and education in nanoscience and engineering.

    • Krishna Madhavan
    • Michael Zentner
    • Gerhard Klimeck
  • In recent years, South Africa has, like other countries, increased investment in nanotechnology research, which in turn has had an effect on the curricula of its higher-education institutions. However, the focus of these changes, and the approach taken to achieve them, are unique to the circumstances of the country.

    • Tebello Nyokong
    • Janice Limson
  • Mentoring undergraduates in a research laboratory requires a different set of skills and approaches than for other lab members. However, if a mentor — be it a faculty member, postdoc or graduate student — can adopt these methods, it can lead to a significantly improved lab experience for everyone involved.

    • Philip S. Lukeman
  • In recent years, education in nanotechnology has evolved to reflect the new skill set required to perform multidisciplinary research. As the field further develops, it will need to evolve again.

    • Roberto Cingolani
  • Negative and null results are routinely produced across all scientific disciplines, but rarely get reported. The key to combat the biases arising from this mismatch lies in disseminating all details about a work, rather than just positive results.

    • Leonie Mueck
  • In recent years, there has been a proliferation of models for spin-dependent electronic processes in organic semiconductors. Researchers aiming to utilize these processes for new organic spintronics devices should focus more on scrutinizing these models experimentally by embracing spectroscopy.

    • Christoph Boehme
    • John M. Lupton
  • The theoretical work done by Lyndon Hicks and Mildred Dresselhaus 20 years ago on the effect of reduced dimensionality on thermoelectric efficiency has had deep implications beyond the initial expectations.

    • Joseph P. Heremans
    • Mildred S. Dresselhaus
    • Donald T. Morelli
  • Inexpensive, functional and atomically precise molecules could be the basis of future electronic devices, but integrating them into circuits will require the development of new ways to control the interface between molecules and electrodes.

    • Emanuel Lörtscher
  • The field of molecular electronics has been around for more than 40 years, but only recently have some fundamental problems been overcome. It is now time for researchers to move beyond simple descriptions of charge transport and explore the numerous intrinsic features of molecules.

    • Mark Ratner
  • Without insurance the long-term sustainability of nanotechnology is questionable, but insurance companies are encumbered by their institutional memory of losses from the asbestos crisis and the absence of suitable actuarial models to measure the potential risks of nanotechnology. Here we propose a framework that supports the transfer of nanomaterial production risk to the insurance sector.

    • Martin Mullins
    • Finbarr Murphy
    • Syed A. M. Tofail
  • Magnetic skyrmions are nanoscale spin configurations that hold promise as information carriers in ultradense memory and logic devices owing to the extremely low spin-polarized currents needed to move them.

    • Albert Fert
    • Vincent Cros
    • João Sampaio
  • Experiments on nanowires have shown evidence of solid-state analogues of the particles predicted by Ettore Majorana more than 70 years ago. Although stronger confirmation is still to come, these first observations have already fuelled expectations of fundamental results and potential applications in quantum information technology.

    • Marcel Franz
  • Biological motors and pumps are equilibrium devices that couple chemical, electrical and mechanical processes in an environment that is far from equilibrium. Recognition of the key role played by microscopic reversibility in their operation is a first step towards rational design of artificial molecular devices.

    • R. Dean Astumian