Techniques and instrumentation articles within Nature Materials


  • News & Views |

    Quantum dots couple to form artificial molecules that allow for variable colour emission in response to an electric field.

    • James Cassidy
    • , Justin Ondry
    •  & Dmitri V. Talapin
  • News & Views |

    By tracking the electrochromic doping front, a hole-limited electrochemical doping mechanism is discovered in organic mixed ionic–electronic conductors.

    • Ruiheng Wu
    • , Dilara Meli
    •  & Jonathan Rivnay
  • Article |

    Nanoparticle retention inside tumours has been associated with lymphatic vessel collapse. It is now shown that nanoparticles exit from solid tumours through lymphatic vessels in or surrounding the tumour by a nanoparticle-size-dependent mechanism.

    • Luan N. M. Nguyen
    • , Zachary P. Lin
    •  & Warren C. W. Chan
  • Article |

    In situ tests show that all-inorganic lead halide perovskite micropillars can morph into distinct shapes without affecting their optoelectronic properties and bandgap, which provides insights into the plastic deformation of semiconductors and also shows their potential for manufacturing relevant devices.

    • Xiaocui Li
    • , You Meng
    •  & Yang Lu
  • Comment |

    In many concentrated alloys of current interest, the observation of diffuse superlattice intensities by transmission electron microscopy has been attributed to chemical short-range order. We briefly review these findings and comment on the plausibility of widespread interpretations, noting the absence of expected peaks, conflicts with theoretical predictions, and the possibility of alternative explanations.

    • Flynn Walsh
    • , Mingwei Zhang
    •  & Mark Asta
  • Perspective |

    The commercialization of electronic textile (e-textile) products requires balanced sustainability considerations. Here the authors propose an e-textile design framework involving repair, recycle, replacement and reduction that can unify environmental friendliness, market viability, supply-chain resilience and user experience quality.

    • HaoTian Harvey Shi
    • , Yifei Pan
    •  & Yan Yan Shery Huang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Electrochemical doping is assumed to be limited by ion motion due to large mass in mixed ionic-electronic conductors. Here, the authors reveal in a typical polythiophene that electrochemical doping speeds are limited by poor hole transport at low doping levels, leading to much slower switching speeds than expected.

    • Scott T. Keene
    • , Joonatan E. M. Laulainen
    •  & George G. Malliaras
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors report the emergence of a transient hexatic state during laser-induced transformation between two charge-density wave (CDW) phases in a thin film of the CDW material 1T-TaS2.

    • Till Domröse
    • , Thomas Danz
    •  & Claus Ropers
  • Letter
    | Open Access

    The authors report subatomic precision in measuring the displacement of a nanowire. Such precision is achieved by employing deep-learning enabled analysis of single-shot scattering of topologically structured superoscillatory illumination.

    • Tongjun Liu
    • , Cheng-Hung Chi
    •  & Nikolay I. Zheludev
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • News & Views |

    By exploiting optical phase-modulation at complex surface plasmon polariton patterns, as well as energy-filtered imaging, femtosecond electron pulses are dynamically shaped in phase and amplitude.

    • Armin Feist
  • Article |

    On-demand electron wavefront shaping is desirable for applications from nanolithography to imaging. Here, the authors present tunable photon-induced spatial modulation of electrons through their interaction with externally controlled surface plasmon polaritons.

    • Shai Tsesses
    • , Raphael Dahan
    •  & Ido Kaminer
  • News & Views |

    Spectral shifts in transient photoluminescence measurements performed with a confocal microscope allow tracking of charge carrier mobilities in polycrystalline halide perovskites.

    • Thomas Kirchartz
  • Article |

    A discrepancy exists between the low diffusion coefficients and near-unity charge collection efficiencies achieved in practical halide perovskite solar cells. Here, the authors explain this through the discovery of strong heterogeneity in vertical charge diffusivities in a 3D perovskite film.

    • Changsoon Cho
    • , Sascha Feldmann
    •  & Neil C. Greenham
  • Article |

    Laser additive manufacturing can be exploited to generate unique internally twinned nanoprecipitates in commercial titanium alloys, paving the way to fabricate ultrastrong metallic materials with intricate shapes for broad applications.

    • Yuman Zhu
    • , Kun Zhang
    •  & Aijun Huang
  • Article |

    Understanding the ion intercalation and degradation mechanisms occurring during realistic battery operation is crucial to developing high-rate battery electrodes. Operando optical scattering microscopy is now used to study single-particle kinetic state-of-charge heterogeneities and cracking in high-rate Li-ion anode materials.

    • Alice J. Merryweather
    • , Quentin Jacquet
    •  & Clare P. Grey
  • Letter |

    Desired for optical sensing or visual communications, structural colour-changing materials are hindered by the lack of scalable manufacturing. Here, by adapting Lippmann photography, large-area manufacturing of colour patterns in photosensitive elastomers is realized.

    • Benjamin Harvey Miller
    • , Helen Liu
    •  & Mathias Kolle
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Distinct electronic and optical properties emerge from quantum confinement in low-dimensional materials. Here, combining optical characterization and ab initio calculations, the authors report an unconventional excitonic state and bound phonon sideband in layered silicon diphosphide.

    • Ling Zhou
    • , Junwei Huang
    •  & Hongtao Yuan
  • News & Views |

    Twisted monolayer–multilayer graphene superlattices present bi-stable reconstruction states, with reversible switch in-between and long-distance propagation triggered by local mechanical perturbation. This provides additional degrees of freedom for moiré engineering.

    • Augusto Ghiotto
  • News & Views |

    Early time transient absorption microscopy in quantum dot solids reveals anomalous exciton transport with multiple different temporal regimes within hundreds of femtoseconds after photoexcitation.

    • Naomi S. Ginsberg
    •  & William A. Tisdale
  • News & Views |

    Coupling between nanoscale self-assembly and capillary pattern formation leads to ordered thin films with multiscale structure spanning six orders of magnitude.

    • Kyle J. M. Bishop
  • Article |

    Precise manipulation of colloids and cells is desired for material and life sciences. However, such control remains challenging without material modifications. Here, the authors achieve reversible single-particle manipulation with subwavelength resolution and high throughput using harmonic acoustics.

    • Shujie Yang
    • , Zhenhua Tian
    •  & Tony Jun Huang
  • News & Views |

    Imaging the magnetic structure in non-centrosymmetric nanoparticles reveals the emergence of a new spin texture, the skyrmionic vortex, stabilized through a chiral geometric frustration.

    • Shawn David Pollard
  • Article |

    Measuring three-dimensional dielectric tensors is desired for applications in material and soft matter physics. Here, the authors use a tomographic approach and inversely solve the vectorial wave equation to directly reconstruct dielectric tensors of anisotropic structures.

    • Seungwoo Shin
    • , Jonghee Eun
    •  & YongKeun Park
  • Article |

    In anisotropically shaped photocatalyst particles different constituent facets may form inter-facet junctions at their adjoining edges. Using multimodal functional imaging, inter-facet junction effects on anisotropically shaped bismuth vanadate particles are revealed.

    • Xianwen Mao
    •  & Peng Chen
  • Comment |

    Automated experiments can accelerate research and development. ‘Flexible automation’ enables the cost- and time-effective design, construction and reconfiguration of automated experiments. Flexible automation is empowering researchers to deploy new science and technology faster than ever before.

    • Benjamin P. MacLeod
    • , Fraser G. L. Parlane
    •  & Curtis P. Berlinguette
  • Article |

    Non-classical crystallization may proceed through formation of intermediate phases, but it is not known whether these are linked to the final crystallization. Here, using an atomic force microscope at 90 bar, brucite carbonation is directly observed, with an amorphous intermediate acting as the seed for crystalline nesquehonite.

    • Xin Zhang
    • , Alan S. Lea
    •  & Kevin M. Rosso
  • Article |

    A 3D-printing technique has been developed to create high-quality pure silica nanostructures with sub-200 nm resolution and the flexible capability of rare-earth element doping. It shows excellent application potential in three-dimensional micro- and nanophotonics.

    • Xiewen Wen
    • , Boyu Zhang
    •  & Jun Lou
  • News & Views |

    Using atomic-resolution electron microscopy to observe ion-exchange processes in atomically thin layered and restacked clays, substantially larger ion diffusion constants and moiré effects on ion dynamics are seen.

    • Hui Zhang
    •  & Benjamin Gilbert
  • Article |

    Layered clays are of interest for membranes and many other applications but their ion-exchange dynamics remain unexplored in atomically thin materials. Here, using electron microscopy, it is found that the ion diffusion for few-layer two-dimensional clays approaches that of free water and that superlattice cation islands can form in twisted and restacked materials.

    • Yi-Chao Zou
    • , Lucas Mogg
    •  & Sarah J. Haigh
  • News & Views |

    Four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy is demonstrated to be a powerful technique for interrogating local strain of twisted graphene bilayers, revealing a two-regime lattice reconstruction process below the ‘magic’ angle.

    • S. J. Haigh
    •  & R. Gorbachev
  • News & Views |

    Direct experimental observations reveal that grain boundaries in aluminium oxide migrate by a chain of structural phase transformations within the boundary core.

    • Y. Mishin