Heterostructure puzzle pieces

Van der Waals heterostructures

Material integration can be achieved by stacking 2D layers with van der Waals forces to form complex, 3D structures.


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  • Sustainability

    Our sustainable chemistry collection, produced in collaboration with Nature Reviews Chemistry, highlights articles on how to improve sustainability in the chemical sciences.


  • Trace quantities of metal cations, inorganic anions, organic compounds and biomolecules can be measured using electrochemical stripping analysis (ESA). This Primer describes the principles of ESA, including methods of performing the pre-concentration and stripping steps, instrumentation and technique optimization.

    • Cristina Ariño
    • Craig E. Banks
    • Joseph Wang
  • Serial femtosecond crystallography is a high-throughput, serial crystallography technique for studying macromolecular crystals at an X-ray free-electron laser. This Primer gives an overview of microcrystallization methods, sample delivery and data analysis for applications including membrane proteins, radiation damage-prone systems and time-resolved experiments.

    • Thomas R. M. Barends
    • Benjamin Stauch
    • Ilme Schlichting
  • Van der Waals epitaxy provides numerous opportunities for materials integration in heterostructures. This Primer provides an overview of methodologies for producing van der Waals heterostructures, focusing on top-down assembly and bottom-up synthesis, and discusses future opportunities for their continued development.

    • Andres Castellanos-Gomez
    • Xiangfeng Duan
    • Peter Sutter
  • Optogenetic techniques involve the introduction of photoreceptors into selected cells to allow control over their activity using light. In this Primer, Emiliani et al. discuss the most commonly used optogenetic tools, illumination approaches and applications in medicine, cardiovascular science and plants, among many other uses.

    • Valentina Emiliani
    • Emilia Entcheva
    • Ofer Yizhar
  • The physical properties of a solid-state material depends on its electronic structure, which can be studied using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES). This Primer introduces the ARPES technique and describes how different variants can be used for applications including superconductors, topological materials and two-dimensional materials.

    • Hongyun Zhang
    • Tommaso Pincelli
    • Shuyun Zhou
  • Volume electron microscopy techniques are high-resolution imaging approaches that reveal the 3D structure of cells, tissues and small model organisms at nanometre resolution. This Primer introduces the different imaging modalities, specialized sample processing and key applications in biosciences.

    • Christopher J. Peddie
    • Christel Genoud
    • Lucy M. Collinson
  • Addressing current and future global problems requires sustainable practices in chemistry. We discuss ways to incorporate sustainability in laboratory practice, processes and beyond.

  • Laboratories have a large environmental impact, with high levels of resource consumption and waste generation. In this article, the author discusses some of the actionable strategies that can bring real and impactful improvements, encompassing education, community engagement and the adoption of best practices by researchers. Building a global culture of sustainability in science will be crucial to reducing the carbon footprint of laboratories.

    • Namrata Jain
  • The scaling up of a chemical reaction is a complex process. Chemists should pay special attention to a number of key factors, including the choice of route, reagents and solvents; health and safety considerations; the isolation and purification of the desired product; and the development of robust supporting analytical methodology.

    • James R. Hitchin
  • X-ray induced structural damage is well known, but the potential for changes in the kinetics of physical and chemical processes is rarely recognized or considered. These can happen over a wide intensity range, are difficult to predict and often escape detection. The problem deserves more attention from experimentalists.

    • Wim Bras
    • Mark A. Newton
    • Roberto Felici
  • COVID-19 has resulted in long-term effects on science and research. The way in which we carry out research has had to rapidly adapt as a result of the pressures placed on scientists, leading to the development of innovative approaches to research.

    • Stephen T. Hilton
  • A large sample size, or N, increases the sensitivity of an experiment to detect differences between treatment groups. However, the biological entity that N refers to may not be obvious. Defining the wrong entity can inflate the sample size and increase both false-positive and false-negative results.

    • Stanley E. Lazic