Reviews & Analysis

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  • Microplastic is a complex contaminant causing great concern in society. This Review examines the properties of microplastic particles compared with natural particles in the environment and discusses methods of assessing the risks to humans and the environment.

    • Albert A. Koelmans
    • Paula E. Redondo-Hasselerharm
    • Merel Kooi
    Review Article
  • Plastics support modern life but are also associated with environmental pollution. This Review discusses technologies for the production and recycling of bioplastics as part of a more sustainable and circular economy.

    • Jan-Georg Rosenboom
    • Robert Langer
    • Giovanni Traverso
    Review Article
  • The design of superionic conductors necessitates a fundamental understanding of how to invoke fast ion transport in the solid state. This Review discusses the role of framework anion rotational dynamics in enhancing cation diffusion through the paddle-wheel mechanism and its exploitation at room temperature.

    • Zhizhen Zhang
    • Linda F. Nazar
    Review Article
  • Nanoreactors that isolate chemical precursors within a confined space are promising tools for synthesizing nanoparticles. This Review unifies the many classes of solution-based and substrate-confined nanoreactors, evaluating their current synthetic capabilities and their potential for solving future challenges in nanoparticle synthesis.

    • Jordan H. Swisher
    • Liban Jibril
    • Chad A. Mirkin
    Review Article
  • Centrifugal and/or shear forces induced by rotary motion can drastically alter outcomes of chemical experiments and processes. This Review surveys rotary systems in which such forces control self-organization phenomena, materials synthesis or even chemical reactivity at molecular and macromolecular scales.

    • Bartosz A. Grzybowski
    • Yaroslav I. Sobolev
    • Barbara Mikulak-Klucznik
    Review Article
  • Cold chain requirements, distribution challenges and high costs limit the global rollout of many vaccines. This Review discusses plant molecular farming in combination with advanced materials strategies as a new platform for the local production of thermostable vaccines and other biologics.

    • Young Hun Chung
    • Derek Church
    • Nicole F. Steinmetz
    Review Article
  • The central nervous system is protected by tightly regulated physiological barriers, which make drug delivery into the brain and spinal cord very challenging. This Review discusses the pathophysiological changes that complicate drug delivery into the central nervous system and examines materials-based strategies to bypass or overcome these barriers for drug delivery.

    • Elizabeth Nance
    • Suzie H. Pun
    • Drew L. Sellers
    Review Article
  • Organelles are compartments inside cells that play important parts in intercellular and intracellular communication, reflecting the metabolic state of the cell. This Review discusses biological pathways that can be exploited to target cargo to specific organelles in vivo, highlighting nucleic acids as suitable delivery vehicles for organelle-level imaging, diagnosis and therapy.

    • Anand Saminathan
    • Matthew Zajac
    • Yamuna Krishnan
    Review Article
  • Soft actuators are flexible and compliant and thus perfectly suited to interact with the human body. This Review discusses tethered, untethered and biohybrid soft actuation strategies, highlights promising real-world applications of soft robots and identifies key future challenges, such as implementing physical intelligence and end-of-life strategies.

    • Meng Li
    • Aniket Pal
    • Metin Sitti
    Review Article
  • Solution-processed networks of 2D materials are promising for applications in printed electronics. This Review examines how these networks are often electrically limited by the junctions between nanosheets, a phenomenon rarely reported and poorly understood, and surveys the macroscopic electrical properties of printed 2D networks, with a focus on inter-sheet junctions.

    • Adam G. Kelly
    • Domhnall O’Suilleabhain
    • Jonathan N. Coleman
    Review Article
  • Solid-state materials have emerged as a platform for probing and manipulating topological phases of matter. This Review surveys topological materials discovery in nonmagnetic crystalline solids, focusing on the role of crystal symmetry and geometry in topological material predictions.

    • Benjamin J. Wieder
    • Barry Bradlyn
    • B. Andrei Bernevig
    Review Article
  • Sex-related differences in health and disease are often overlooked in tissue engineering. This Review discusses sex-based differences in the (patho)physiology of the cardiovascular system, providing a design framework for sex-specific cardiac tissue models and an outlook to developing sex-specific in vitro models in general.

    • Roberta Lock
    • Hadel Al Asafen
    • Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic
    Review Article
  • The materials community must address the greenhouse gas emissions burden of materials production. This Review assesses the potential for decarbonization of the cement, metals and petrochemical industries, revealing opportunities to strengthen the connections across industries and length scales — from the atomic scale through to materials markets — to meet climate targets.

    • Katrin Daehn
    • R. Basuhi
    • Elsa A. Olivetti
    Review Article
  • Ferroelectric domain walls hold great potential as multifunctional 2D systems for next-generation nanotechnology. This Review discusses recent advances in the field and new strategies for developing the domain walls into ultra-small electronic components.

    • Dennis Meier
    • Sverre M. Selbach
    Review Article
  • The immune response to a vaccine is characterized by a complex time-dependent interplay between various cell types and molecules in different tissues in our body. This Review explores materials-based strategies for the spatial and temporal control of the mechanisms that underlie vaccine immune responses.

    • Gillie A. Roth
    • Vittoria C. T. M. Picece
    • Eric A. Appel
    Review Article
  • The integration and function of implanted biomaterials and devices depend on the responses of the host tissue, such as macrophage activation and neovascularization. This Review discusses how intravital microscopy can be applied to assess the mechanisms underlying regenerative and pathological responses to implants.

    • Eleonora Dondossola
    • Peter Friedl
    Review Article
  • Bio-based polymers that exhibit superior performance relative to petroleum-based incumbents can encourage industry adoption and offset fossil carbon use. This Review introduces performance-advantaged, bio-based polymers and highlights examples wherein superior performance is facilitated by the inherent chemical functionality of bio-based feedstocks.

    • Robin M. Cywar
    • Nicholas A. Rorrer
    • Eugene Y.-X. Chen
    Review Article
  • Superconducting qubits hold great promise for quantum computing, and recently there have been dramatic improvements in both coherence times and the power of quantum processors. This Review explores how the path forward involves balancing circuit complexity and materials perfection, eliminating defects while designing qubits with engineered noise resilience.

    • Irfan Siddiqi
    Review Article