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Light release

Letter by Yavuz et al.

Heat-responsive polymers grafted onto gold nanocages serve as a nanoscale delivery system for biologically important compounds. Laser irradiation of the nanocages heats the polymers by means of the photothermal effect; the polymers then change conformation and compounds are released. The polymers return to their original configuration when the laser is switched off, stopping further release.

Advanced online publication

Molecular sieves

Article by Espinal et al.

Molecular sieves made out of cryptomelane-type manganese oxide (OMS-2) have been widely studied, but synthesizing them with a hierarchical nanostructure and precise crystal orientation is very challenging. It is now demonstrated that pulsed-laser deposition of OMS-2 on SrTiO3 leads to the spontaneous formation of three-dimensional arrays of parallel and inclined fibres. The results open the way for lattice-engineered synthesis of multilayer materials.

Advanced online publication

Acoustic hyperlens

Letter by Li et al.

Like their optical counterparts, acoustic metamaterials are capable of manipulating sound waves in unusual ways. An acoustic hyperlens is now demonstrated that is capable of magnifying subwavelength acoustic waves, and could therefore find applications in medical imaging or underwater sonar.

Advanced online publication

Organic cages

Article by Tozawa et al.

Porous materials are technologically important for a wide range of applications, such as catalysis and separation. Covalently bonded organic cages can now be assembled into crystalline microporous materials, and their porosity is found to be intrinsic to their molecular cage structure.

Advanced online publication

Nitride coating

Article by Rivadulla et al.

Chromium nitride is very incompressible, making it ideal for industrial coatings. However, it is now shown that the material softens at high pressure and low temperature in connection with a phase transition from cubic to orthorhombic structure. The results could be fundamental in designing ways to improve the mechanical properties of superhard CrN.

Advanced online publication

Biological laminates

Article by Nerurkar et al.

Designing load-bearing tissues that match the mechanical performance of native ones adds extra challenges to tissue engineering. Electrospinning of biodegradable polymer fibres into oriented sheets enables the production of laminate scaffolds; when seeded with mesenchymal stem cells and cultured for 10 weeks, these scaffolds replicate the mechanical properties of native annulus fibrosus.

Current issue

Gate dielectrics

Article by Pal et al.

Sodium beta-alumina (SBA) compositions are well known as ionic conductors. Nevertheless, ionic and electron conductivities perpendicular to the lattice planes in the material are very low. It is now shown that by exploiting this property, SBAs can be used as transistor gate dielectrics in solution-processed devices using oxide-based and polymer electrodes.

Current issue

Plasmonic biosensors

Letter by Kabashin et al.

Plasmonic biosensors are either based on freely propagating surface plasmons or plasmons localized at nanostructures. Despite advantages such as quantitative detection, localized surface-plasmon sensors have shown lower overall sensitivities. A nanorod metamaterial supporting new plasmonic modes is now shown to considerably outperform earlier plasmonic biosensors by combining and expanding on their respective advantages.

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  • Biocide Formulation

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    A formulation for enhanced binding of biocides to surfaces exposed to an aqueous environment is desi...