Physical sciences

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Photosynthetic Complex I (PS-CI) is proposed to couple ferredoxin oxidation and plastoquinone reduction to proton pumping across thylakoid membranes. Here the authors determine the reduction potentials of the iron-sulphur clusters of PS-CI and thus the bioenergetics of the electron transfer relay.

    • Katherine H. Richardson
    • , John J. Wright
    •  & Maxie M. Roessler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The inverse design of the material for given target property is challenging for glasses due to their disordered non-prototypical structure. Wang and Zhang propose a data-driven property oriented inverse approach for design of glassy materials with desired functionalities.

    • Qi Wang
    •  & Longfei Zhang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Van der Waals structures provide a new platform to explore novel physics of superconductor/ferromagnet interfaces. Here, NbSe2 Josephson junction with Cr2Ge2Te6 enables non-trivial Josephson phase by spin-dependent interaction, boosting the study of superconducting states with spin-orbit coupling and phase-controlled quantum electronic device.

    • H. Idzuchi
    • , F. Pientka
    •  & P. Kim
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Toroidal moments arise from vortex like spin arrangements. These moments can then interact, giving rise to ferri- or ferro-toroidal order, though controlling such order is difficult. Here, the authors demonstrate a ferri-toroidal state in BaCoSiO4, which under an applied magnetic field exhibits multiple toroidal and metamagnetic transitions.

    • Lei Ding
    • , Xianghan Xu
    •  & Huibo Cao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Wong et al. demonstrate the efficacy of super-amphiphobic surfaces for in situ defoaming and inhibition of foam growth while handling aqueous solutions. Without the use of chemical additives, their passive approach suggests a facile alternative route to froth management in industrial processes.

    • William S. Y. Wong
    • , Abhinav Naga
    •  & Doris Vollmer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anisotropic spin S >1/2 quantum magnets can have multiple low energy modes. In this manuscript, the authors study the interaction of such low energy modes in the S = 1 antiferromagnet Ba2FeSi2O7 by combining neutron scattering measurements with an SU(3) generalization of the 1/S expansion.

    • Seung-Hwan Do
    • , Hao Zhang
    •  & Andrew D. Christianson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Conventional quantum particles can break up into fractionalized excitations under the right conditions; however, their direct experimental observation is challenging. Here, the authors predict strong optical conductivity signatures of such excitations in the vicinity of a topological phase transition.

    • Yan-Cheng Wang
    • , Meng Cheng
    •  & Zi Yang Meng
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Light-driven micromotors can convert energy to motion in sub-millimeter dimensions. Here, the authors extend this concept and introduce reconfigurable micromachines with multiple components, driven by optoelectronic tweezers, and demonstrate new functionalities.

    • Shuailong Zhang
    • , Mohamed Elsayed
    •  & Aaron R. Wheeler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Borosins are ribosomally encoded and posttranslationally modified peptide (RiPP) natural products featuring amide-backbone α-N-methylation. Here, the authors report the discovery and characterization of type IV borosin ‘split’ pathways encoding distinct, separate α-N-methyltransferases and precursor peptide substrates.

    • Fredarla S. Miller
    • , Kathryn K. Crone
    •  & Michael F. Freeman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The concentration of a biomarker in solution can be determined by counting single molecules. Here the authors report a digital immunoassay scheme with solid-state nanopore readout to quantify a target protein and use this to measure thyroid-stimulating hormone from human serum.

    • Liqun He
    • , Daniel R. Tessier
    •  & Vincent Tabard-Cossa
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Previous work has shown that helical domain walls can form between states of different spin-polarization during a ferromagnetic spin transition in the fractional quantum Hall regime. Here, the authors study the transport through a single helical domain wall and find strong deviations from a simplified theory of weakly interacting edge channels.

    • Ying Wang
    • , Vadim Ponomarenko
    •  & Leonid P. Rokhinson
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Phase transition brings a plethora of exotic phenomena and intriguing effects such as spin and charge frustration. However, the phase transition order is not always explicit. Here, the authors discover phase transition frustration near a tricritical composition point in ferroelectric Pb(Zr,Ti)O3.

    • Xian-Kui Wei
    • , Sergei Prokhorenko
    •  & Zuo-Guang Ye
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Skyrmions are topological two-dimensional spin textures that in three-dimensional systems resemble strings or tubes. Here, using transmission electron microscopy Zheng et al observe the braiding of skyrmion strings in FeGe and predict this phenomenon for a large family of magnets.

    • Fengshan Zheng
    • , Filipp N. Rybakov
    •  & Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Implantation-caused foreign-body response is a commonly encountered issue and can result in failure of implants. Here, the authors demonstrate that a highly water soluble, biocompatible, and easily accessible poly-DL-serine hydrogel can mitigate foreign-body response.

    • Donghui Zhang
    • , Qi Chen
    •  & Runhui Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The limit of X-ray detection is an important figure of merit for X-ray detectors, yet the suitability of method adopted from Currie’s 1968 paper and the following international standard is in doubt. Here, the authors propose a statistical model that correlates dark current and photo-current, show how it can be used to determine detection limit.

    • Lei Pan
    • , Shreetu Shrestha
    •  & Lei R. Cao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Multistep nucleation phenomena are of considerable fundamental interest. Here the authors combine molecular dynamics, machine learning and molecular cluster analysis to investigate the multistep nucleation of smectic clusters from a nematic fluid that cannot be accounted for by the classical nucleation theory.

    • Kazuaki Z. Takahashi
    • , Takeshi Aoyagi
    •  & Jun-ichi Fukuda
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The nonequilibrium regime provides an exciting frontier in the search for novel quantum phases of matter. Here, the authors show that optically driving a lightly-doped semiconductor can lead to the spontaneous formation of a dynamical quantum liquid crystalline phase with a rotating magnetization.

    • Iliya Esin
    • , Gaurav Kumar Gupta
    •  & Netanel H. Lindner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Unlike other halogen atoms, the ability for fluorine to exist in a [C–X–C]+ connectivity pattern has only been shown in spectroscopic studies. Here the authors present a single crystal structure of a fluoronium cation, characterized by X-ray diffraction.

    • Kurt F. Hoffmann
    • , Anja Wiesner
    •  & Sebastian Riedel
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Enantiomeric bridged [2,2,1] bicyclic lactone skeletons and their ring-opening products are important scaffolds widely occurring in both pharmaceutics and biology active compounds. Here the authors show an efficient method for enantioselective construction of these compounds bearing a quaternary stereocenter via Rh-catalyzed asymmetric hydroformylation/intramolecular cyclization/ pyridinium chlorochromate oxidation.

    • Shuailong Li
    • , Zhuangxing Li
    •  & Hui Lv
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to fuels is a promising strategy to reduce the ever-increasing CO2 emission. Here, the authors developed graphene quantum dots (GQDs) catalysts to efficiently convert CO2 to CH4 and revealed the significance of electron-donating functional groups in regulating the reactivity of GQDs.

    • Tianyu Zhang
    • , Weitao Li
    •  & Jingjie Wu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Free carriers and electrical polarization coexist in ferroelectric metals. Here, the authors use a capacitive method to probe the electronic compressibility of free carriers in a tunable semimetal, extract the polarized contribution, and study the carrier dependence of the ferroelectric state.

    • Sergio C. de la Barrera
    • , Qingrui Cao
    •  & Benjamin M. Hunt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mn3Sn is an anti-ferromagnetic material which displays a large magneto-optical Kerr effect, despite lacking a ferromagnetic moment. Here, the authors show that likewise, Mn3Sn, also presents a particularly large magneto-optical Voigt signal, with a negligible change in the quench time over a wide temperature range.

    • H. C. Zhao
    • , H. Xia
    •  & H. B. Zhao
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Quantized response has so far eluded classical system beyond linear response theory. Here, the authors predict that a quantized classical response, arising from fundamental mathematical properties of the Green’s function, shows up in steady-state response of a non-Hermitian system without invoking a linear response theory.

    • Linhu Li
    • , Sen Mu
    •  & Jiangbin Gong
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Through development of non-fullerene acceptors, OPVs have reached efficiencies of 18%, yet the inadequate operational lifetime still poses a challenge for the commercialisation. Here, the authors investigate the origin of instability of NFA solar cells, and propose some strategies to mitigate this issue.

    • Jiaqi Du
    • , Ke Hu
    •  & Yongfang Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, the authors use solid-state NMR and EPR measurements to characterise the ATP hydrolysis transition state of the oligomeric bacterial DnaB helicase from Helicobacter pylori, which was trapped by using aluminium fluoride as a chemical mimic. They identify protein protons that coordinate to the phosphate groups of ADP and DNA and observe that the aluminium fluoride unit is highly mobile and fast-rotating.

    • Alexander A. Malär
    • , Nino Wili
    •  & Thomas Wiegand
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Machine learning faces challenges in catalyst design due to its black-box nature. Here, the authors develop a theory-infused neural network approach that integrates deep learning algorithms with the well-established d-band theory of chemisorption for reactivity prediction of transition-metal surfaces.

    • Shih-Han Wang
    • , Hemanth Somarajan Pillai
    •  & Hongliang Xin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Moisture-induced energy generation is a potential green energy power source. Here, the authors report a moisture-induced autonomous surface potential oscillation phenomenon and apply it to the demonstration of energy harvesters with long persistence time and good energy density

    • Yu Long
    • , Peisheng He
    •  & Liwei Lin
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It was predicted that in the regime of strong electron-phonon interactions, electrons and phonons can form a coupled non-equilibrium state, characterized by the conservation of the total momentum and by hydrodynamic transport. Here, the authors report experimental evidence for such a coupled electron-phonon liquid in NbGe2.

    • Hung-Yu Yang
    • , Xiaohan Yao
    •  & Fazel Tafti
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is still challenging to engineer single-atom catalysts for electrocatalytic methanol oxidation. Here, the authors design Pt single atom supported on RuO2 for highly active methanol oxidation in contrast to the inert Pt single atom supported on carbon.

    • Zhiqi Zhang
    • , Jiapeng Liu
    •  & Francesco Ciucci
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The control of reactive oxygen species in cancer cells is an attractive approach for anticancer applications. Here, the authors create a peroxisome inspired lactate oxidase and catalase loaded hydrogel with iron nanoparticles and NIR photosensitizer for glutathione activated chemodynamic and photodynamic therapy.

    • Xing Qin
    • , Chu Wu
    •  & Yongsheng Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sulfinyl radicals are an underexplored synthon in organic chemistry due to the fact that they reversibly add to pi systems and undergo homodimerization. Here the authors synthesize sulfonyl sulfones, previously thought to be unstable, and demonstrate their broad use as sulfinyl radical precursors in disulfurizations of alkenes and alkynes.

    • Zikun Wang
    • , Zhansong Zhang
    •  & Xihe Bi
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding the interaction between spin and valley degrees of freedom in graphene-based quantum dots underpins their applications in electronics and quantum information. Here, the authors study the low-energy spectrum and resolve the spin-valley coupling in single-electron quantum dots in bilayer graphene.

    • L. Banszerus
    • , S. Möller
    •  & C. Stampfer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    N00N states are a key resource in quantum metrology, but the use of their multi-mode extension for multiparameter estimation has been elusive so far. Here, the authors use multi-mode N00N states - with N=2 photons in 4 modes - for multiple-phase estimation saturating the quantum Cramer-Rao bound.

    • Seongjin Hong
    • , Junaid ur Rehman
    •  & Hyang-Tag Lim
  • Article
    | Open Access

    By now a plethora of ultrathin hydrophobic coatings are available but their durability are not well developed. Here, the authors present a thin, durable and fluorine-free PDMS-based vitrimer coating that implements many desirable aspects like energy efficiency, durability and sustainability.

    • Jingcheng Ma
    • , Laura E. Porath
    •  & Christopher M. Evans
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Artificial sodium channels open up the way to new separation technologies but remains highly challenging. In this work, the authors report an artificial sodium-selective ionic device, built on porous crown-ether crystals with a sodium ion selectivity against calcium ions exceeding that one of biological ion channel counterparts.

    • Tingyan Ye
    • , Gaolei Hou
    •  & Jun Gao