Materials science articles within Nature Materials

  • News & Views |

    Controlling the vapour transport mode with sustained release of precursor species allows for the growth of single-crystalline black phosphorus and black phosphorus–arsenic thin films on the millimetre scale.

    • Matthieu Fortin-Deschênes
    •  & Fengnian Xia
  • News & Views |

    The direct observation of enhanced dislocation mobility in iron by in situ electron microscopy offers key insights and adds to the ongoing debate on the mechanisms of hydrogen embrittlement.

    • Vasily Bulatov
    •  & Wei Cai
  • News & Views |

    Current-inducing switching of magnetization is crucial for future magnetic data processing technologies, but switching it with speed and energy efficiency remains challenging. Using femtosecond optical pulses, instead of conventional charge currents, is found to make spintronics not only ultrafast but also counterintuitive.

    • Dmytro Afanasiev
    •  & Alexey V. Kimel
  • News & Views |

    Above-bandgap, nanosecond laser pulses enable the localized in situ writing of spin defects in prefabricated nanophotonic cavities. The approach preserves defect and cavity mode properties, key requirements towards cavity–emitter coupling in quantum networks.

    • Sridhar Majety
    •  & Marina Radulaski
  • Research Briefing |

    The output mechanical energy densities of ferroelectric polymers remain orders of magnitude smaller than those of piezoelectric ceramics and crystals, limiting their applications in soft actuators. But polymer composites subject to an electro-thermally driven ferroelectric phase transition under low electric fields are now shown to have giant actuation strains and large energy densities.

  • Article |

    Piezoelectric actuators play a critical role in precision positioning devices; however, materials with high actuation strain and mechanical energy density are rare. Here a composite of poly(vinylidene fluoride) and TiO2 demonstrates superior performance in these metrics, with the ferroelectric transition driven by Joule heating.

    • Yang Liu
    • , Yao Zhou
    •  & Qing Wang
  • Article |

    Superionic materials are of interest for solid-state batteries or thermoelectrics, yet a clear understanding of the atomistic mechanisms is lacking. Here it is shown that transverse acoustic phonons persist above the superionic transition in argyrodite Ag8SnSe6, and that the free-Se sublattice controls fast Ag cation diffusion.

    • Qingyong Ren
    • , Mayanak K. Gupta
    •  & Jie Ma
  • News & Views |

    An ultra-microporous metal–organic framework glass foam shows outstanding gas sieving properties for challenging gas mixtures.

    • Chinmoy Das
    •  & Sebastian Henke
  • News & Views |

    A strategy of using a high ligand/metal ion concentration ratio eliminates lattice defects in polycrystalline zirconium metal–organic framework membranes, enhancing their molecular sieving performance.

    • Jun Lu
    •  & Huanting Wang
  • Article |

    MOF membranes can present exceptional molecular-sieving properties, but lattice defects arising from incomplete cluster coordination can hinder this. Here a strategy for the elimination of lattice defects by increasing the ligand to secondary building unit ratio is proposed and demonstrated.

    • Guozhen Liu
    • , Yanan Guo
    •  & Nanping Xu
  • News & Views |

    A low-valence carbon-doped ruthenium oxide-based catalytic material achieved a catalytic trinity of superior activity, selectivity and stability during the conversion of carbon dioxide into methane at low temperatures.

    • Xin Zhang
    •  & Abhishek Dutta Chowdhury
  • News & Views |

    In heavily hole-doped cuprates, superconductivity does not die by simply dissolving into a uniform metal due to the lack of pairing, but rather survives by shattering into nanoscale superconducting puddles.

    • Yu He
  • News & Views |

    Antiferromagnetism has a vanishing total magnetization and thus is extremely challenging to manipulate. Now, circularly polarized light is shown to efficiently detect, induce and switch a unique class of antiferromagnets.

    • Youngjun Ahn
    •  & Liuyan Zhao
  • Editorial |

    Ferroelectrics have already impacted scientific research and commercial applications, but they still show plenty of potential to surprise.

  • News & Views |

    Local vibrational modes at substitutional impurities in monolayer graphene are resolved with a sensitivity at the chemical bonding level, revealing the impacts of different chemical configurations and mass of impurity atoms on the defect-perturbed vibrational properties.

    • Xingxu Yan
  • Perspective |

    Nanoscale ferroelectric topological solitons, such as polar bubbles, polar bubble skyrmions and hopfions, have garnered immense interest due to their emergent properties. This Perspective discusses how these structures form, advances in their study and how they can enable new devices and physics.

    • Vivasha Govinden
    • , Sergei Prokhorenko
    •  & Nagarajan Valanoor
  • Perspective |

    The discovery of ferroelectric switching in ultrathin layers of hafnium dioxide has aroused significant interest for low-power non-volatile memory technologies. This Perspective discusses how lessons learned from hafnium dioxide-based ferroelectrics can be applied to other applications, and other binary oxides.

    • Beatriz Noheda
    • , Pavan Nukala
    •  & Mónica Acuautla
  • Letter
    | Open Access

    Understanding lithium dynamics in solid-state electrolytes used for Li-ion batteries can be challenging. Using nonlinear extreme-ultraviolet spectroscopies, a direct spectral signature of surface lithium ions showing a distinct blueshift relative to the bulk absorption spectra is observed in a prototypical solid-state electrolyte.

    • Clarisse Woodahl
    • , Sasawat Jamnuch
    •  & Michael Zuerch
  • Letter |

    Using direct laser writing with a nanosecond pulsed laser operating at above-bandgap photon energies, we demonstrate the selective formation of spin defects in photonic crystal cavities in 4H-silicon carbide and their in situ characterization.

    • Aaron M. Day
    • , Jonathan R. Dietz
    •  & Evelyn L. Hu
  • Article |

    Surface strain can be used in gas phase catalysis and electrocatalysis to control the binding energies of adsorbates on active sites, but in situ or operando strain measurements can be challenging. Coherent diffraction now allows strain inside individual Pt nanoparticles to be mapped and quantified under electrochemical control.

    • Clément Atlan
    • , Corentin Chatelier
    •  & Marie-Ingrid Richard
  • Letter |

    We report compact spin-valley-locked perovskite emitting metasurfaces where spin-dependent geometric phases are imparted into bound states in the continuum via Brillouin zone folding, simultaneously enabling chiral purity, directionality and large emission angles.

    • Yang Chen
    • , Jiangang Feng
    •  & Cheng-Wei Qiu
  • Article |

    The authors demonstrate electrical on/off switching of interlayer interactions in tungsten diselenide/molybdenum disulfide heterobilayers, the phase diagram of which contains layer-dependent correlated regions that reveal the role of strong correlations in interlayer exciton dynamics.

    • Qinghai Tan
    • , Abdullah Rasmita
    •  & Weibo Gao
  • Article |

    Alternative solid electrolytes with enhanced thermal and chemical stability are key for advancing lithium batteries. A soft solid electrolyte with improved stability and ionic conductivity, overcoming several limitations of conventional materials, is now reported.

    • Prabhat Prakash
    • , Birane Fall
    •  & Michael J. Zdilla
  • News & Views |

    Epitaxial topological heterostructures of (Bi,Sb)2Te3/graphene/gallium have been achieved using molecular-beam epitaxy, providing the opportunity to access Majorana zero modes in electrical transport when combined with van der Waals tunnel junctions.

    • Faxian Xiu
  • News & Views |

    The arrangement of magnetic ions between layers of NbS2 affects it as though a giant magnetic field is applied in different directions for electrons moving with opposite velocities. This discovery goes beyond the reach of conventional magnets, and opens up the way to custom-made effective fields engineered to guide materials into new territory.

    • Jasper van Wezel
  • Research Briefing |

    Spectroscopic and structural measurements often give conflicting results about the role of disorder in determining the properties of energy materials. A hybrid neutron scattering technique is used to measure atomic correlations in time and space for cubic GeTe, revealing that anisotropic elastic interactions mimic disorder but the time-averaged structure is crystalline.

  • News & Views |

    A second-harmonic generation approach enables the direct measurement of the potential of zero charge at electrochemical interfaces.

    • Jan Rossmeisl
  • News & Views |

    An artificial neuron architecture based on antiambipolar organic electrochemical transistors shows responses to biological ions and neurotransmitters akin to real neurons with comparable speed. The soft and more biocompatible nature of organic semiconductors could enable applications in brain–machine interfaces and in vivo sensing.

    • Shinya E. Chen
    • , Rajiv Giridharagopal
    •  & David S. Ginger
  • News & Views |

    Using low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy on a MoSe2/few-layer graphene heterostructure enables localized exciton generation and mapping with atomic-scale spatial resolution.

    • Libai Huang
  • Letter |

    Employing an oxidation-activated charge transfer strategy to oxidize transition-metal dichalcogenides into transition-metal oxides, the authors imprint plasmonic cavities with laterally abrupt doping profiles and nanoscale precision demonstrating plasmonic whispering-gallery resonators.

    • Brian S. Y. Kim
    • , Aaron J. Sternbach
    •  & D. N. Basov
  • Article |

    Nickelate superconductivity has so far been limited to thin films, raising questions about the role of the polar substrate–film interface. Here the authors utilize advanced characterization techniques to reveal the interfacial atomic structure and its relevance for superconductivity.

    • Berit H. Goodge
    • , Benjamin Geisler
    •  & Lena F. Kourkoutis
  • Article |

    Optically detected magnetic resonance of nitrogen vacancy centres in diamond enables the detection of pressure-induced phase transitions, but interpreting their magnetic resonance spectra remains challenging. Here the authors propose implanted silicon vacancy defects in 4H-SiC for in situ magnetic phase detection at high pressures.

    • Jun-Feng Wang
    • , Lin Liu
    •  & Guang-Can Guo
  • Review Article |

    RNA-based therapeutics hold promise for the treatment of several diseases. This Review provides an overview of hydrogels for RNA delivery, discussing how the chemical nature and physical properties of hydrogels can be explored for tailored RNA loading and release, and highlighting the use of these materials in biomedical applications.

    • Ruibo Zhong
    • , Sepehr Talebian
    •  & Jinjun Shi
  • Review Article |

    This Review discusses the field of antiferromagnetic spintronics with a focus on coherent effects.

    • Jiahao Han
    • , Ran Cheng
    •  & Shunsuke Fukami
  • Article |

    Vibrational spectroscopy now allows for the exploration of lattice vibrational properties at the chemical-bond level, revealing the impact of chemical-bonding configurations and atomic mass on local phonon modes in graphene with a new level of sensitivity.

    • Mingquan Xu
    • , De-Liang Bao
    •  & Wu Zhou
  • Letter |

    We report the observation of narrowband terahertz emission from a quasi-one-dimensional charge-density-wave insulator, (TaSe4)2I. The origin of the emitted radiation is interpreted as a phason that obtains mass due to the long-range Coulomb interaction.

    • Soyeun Kim
    • , Yinchuan Lv
    •  & Fahad Mahmood