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Volume 16 Issue 12, December 2021

The quantum side of nanotechnology

The cover art illustrates the vision of a photonic quantum network. Optical fibres connect network links, which could be based on deterministic single-photon quantum hardware. The communication between nodes proceeds via entangled photons acting as flying qubits.

See Lodahl

IMAGE: Image courtesy of Center for Hybrid Quantum Networks (Hy-Q), University of Copenhagen. COVER DESIGN: David Johnston


  • Nanoscale systems are ideally suited to study quantum mechanical effects and explore these as resources for emerging quantum technology such as quantum sensing, communication or computing.



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  • Silicon spin qubits have demonstrated some promising properties at the individual level, but the technology is beleaguered by a late start and high barriers to entry. To overcome these challenges, the quantum computing and electrical engineering communities will need to find novel ways to work together.

    • Maud Vinet
  • Molecules have the potential to act as sharp energy filters for electrical currents and could thereby outperform other materials considered for thermoelectric energy conversion. Yet, there is a gap between theoretical predictions and practical implementations in molecular thermoelectricity, and this research roadmap may guide the transition from academic research to valuable technology.

    • Andrea Gemma
    • Bernd Gotsmann
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Research Highlights

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News & Views

  • A DNA nanodevice that selectively modulates the lysosomal protease activity in tumour-associated macrophages, increasing their antigen presentation ability, attenuates tumour growth in vivo.

    • Jiang Li
    • Chunhai Fan
    News & Views
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Review Articles

  • Although quantum physics underpins the behaviour of nanoscale objects, its role in nanoscience has been mostly limited to determining the static, equilibrium properties of small systems. This Review describes seminal developments and new directions for the explicit exploitation of quantum coherence in nanoscale systems, a research area termed quantum-coherent nanoscience.

    • Andreas J. Heinrich
    • William D. Oliver
    • Andrea Morello
    Review Article
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Matters Arising

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  • Engineering the energy dispersion of polaritons in microcavities can yield intriguing effects such as the anomalous quantum Hall and Rashba effects. Now, different Berry curvature distributions of polariton bands are obtained in a strongly coupled organic–inorganic two-dimensional perovskite single-crystal microcavity and can be modified via temperature and magnetic field variation.

    • Laura Polimeno
    • Giovanni Lerario
    • Daniele Sanvitto
  • DNA nanoswitch calipers can measure distances within single molecules with atomic resolution. Applied to single-molecule proteomics, they can enable the identification and quantification of molecules in trace samples via mechanical fingerprinting.

    • Prakash Shrestha
    • Darren Yang
    • Wesley P. Wong
  • The effective absorption spectrum of metal-bound molecules and a rich plasmon-driven chemistry landscape are constructed by monitoring the interfacial environment of a thousand single nanocavities with slightly varied resonance energies.

    • Eitan Oksenberg
    • Ilan Shlesinger
    • Erik C. Garnett
  • Innate immune cells such as dendritic cells and macrophages can activate the adaptive immune system against cancer by presenting cancer-specific antigens, although this activity is severely limited in macrophages due to their intrinsic lysosomal cysteine protease activity. Here the authors show that a DNA nanodevice specifically targeted to macrophage lysosomes can inhibit cysteine proteases in these cells, restoring their antigen-presenting capability.

    • Chang Cui
    • Kasturi Chakraborty
    • Lev Becker
  • Gas vesicles are air-filled protein nanostructures naturally expressed by certain bacteria and archaea to achieve cellular buoyancy. Here the authors show that, under the stimulation of pulsed ultrasound, targeted gas vesicles and gas vesicles expressed in genetically modified bacteria and mammalian cells release nanobubbles that, collapsing, lead to controlled mechanical damage of the surrounding biological milieu, demonstrating that, under focused ultrasound actuation, gas vesicles have potential applications as therapeutic agents.

    • Avinoam Bar-Zion
    • Atousa Nourmahnad
    • Mikhail G. Shapiro
  • Trivalent arsenic (AsIII) is a clinically approved treatment agent for patients with promyelocytic leukaemia, but cannot be used for other types of leukaemia due to its toxicity. Here the authors show that different patient-derived leukaemia cells express CD71 and design a ferritin-based nanoparticle for specific delivery of AsIII to these cells, demonstrating substantially improved efficacy towards different leukaemia types in animal models, with reduced side effects.

    • Changlong Wang
    • Wei Zhang
    • Ding Ma
  • While chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell-based therapy has been approved for clinical use for certain types of blood cancers, it remains difficult to achieve precise spatiotemporal control of the elicited anti-tumour response. Here, the authors propose light-switchable CAR T cells that can be remotely activated by a nano-optogenetic approach, reducing unwanted side effects.

    • Nhung Thi Nguyen
    • Kai Huang
    • Yubin Zhou
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Amendments & Corrections

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