Physical sciences

  • Article |

    A combination of multiview imaging, structured illumination, reconstruction algorithms and deep-learning predictions realizes spatial- and temporal-resolution improvements in fluorescence microscopy to produce super-resolution images from diffraction-limited input images.

    • Yicong Wu
    • , Xiaofei Han
    •  & Hari Shroff
  • Article |

    A study demonstrates the synthesis and characterization of a two-dimensional van der Waals heterostructure hosting artificial heavy fermions, providing a tunable platform for investigations of heavy-fermion physics.

    • Viliam Vaňo
    • , Mohammad Amini
    •  & Peter Liljeroth
  • Article |

    Preparing amorphous phases of carbon with mostly sp3 bonding in bulk is challenging, but macroscopic samples that are nearly pure sp3 are synthesized here by heating fullerenes at high pressure.

    • Yuchen Shang
    • , Zhaodong Liu
    •  & Bingbing Liu
  • Article |

    Engineering of the coupling between optical modes in a lithium niobate chip enables the realization of tunable, bi-directional and low-loss electro-optic frequency shifters controlled using only continuous and single-tone microwaves.

    • Yaowen Hu
    • , Mengjie Yu
    •  & Marko Lončar
  • Article |

    Electron scattering measurements are shown to reproduce only qualitatively state-of-the-art lepton–nucleus energy reconstruction models, indicating that improvements to these particle-interaction models are required to ensure the accuracy of future high-precision neutrino oscillation experiments.

    • M. Khachatryan
    • , A. Papadopoulou
    •  & S. Gardiner
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Existing techniques for high-resolution imaging of trapped quantum gases are limited to two-dimensional systems, but the approach described here works in three dimensions by magnifying the quantum gas with matter wave optics.

    • Luca Asteria
    • , Henrik P. Zahn
    •  & Christof Weitenberg
  • Article |

    A study describes the synthesis, structural characterization and formation mechanism of a paracrystalline state of diamond, adding an unusual form of diamond to the family of carbon-based materials.

    • Hu Tang
    • , Xiaohong Yuan
    •  & Huiyang Gou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The successful in-orbit operation of an electric space propulsion system based on iodine, rather than the more expensive and difficult-to-store xenon, is demonstrated.

    • Dmytro Rafalskyi
    • , Javier Martínez Martínez
    •  & Ane Aanesland
  • Article |

    Chemical experiments on californium are stymied by isotope availability and radioactivity considerations, but are advanced here with synthesis and characterization of an organometallic complex.

    • Conrad A. P. Goodwin
    • , Jing Su
    •  & Joseph W. Ziller
  • Article |

    A study demonstrates that a range of different behaviours—from reversible, through weeping, to explosive—can be exhibited by a chemically homogeneous ceramic system by manipulating conditions of compatibility in unusual ways.

    • Hanlin Gu
    • , Jascha Rohmer
    •  & Richard D. James
  • Article |

    Four-dimensional electron energy-loss spectroscopy measurements of the vibrational spectra and the phonon dispersion at a heterointerface show localized modes that are predicted to affect the thermal conductance and electron mobility.

    • Ruishi Qi
    • , Ruochen Shi
    •  & Peng Gao
  • Article |

    An all-in-one methodology for fabricating soft robotics reported here uses interfacial flows in elastomers that cure to produce actuators that can be tailored to suit applications from artificial muscles to grippers.

    • Trevor J. Jones
    • , Etienne Jambon-Puillet
    •  & P.-T. Brun
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Propene is obtained through propane dehydrogenation using catalysts that are toxic, expensive or demanding to regenerate with ecologically harmful compounds, but the ZnO-based alternative reported here is cheap, clean and scalable.

    • Dan Zhao
    • , Xinxin Tian
    •  & Evgenii V. Kondratenko
  • Article |

    An optical lattice for trapping a Bose–Einstein condensate reported here includes photon-mediated atom–atom interactions that replicate acoustic modes in real crystals.

    • Yudan Guo
    • , Ronen M. Kroeze
    •  & Benjamin L. Lev
  • Article |

    Bloch wavefunctions of two types of hole in gallium arsenide are reconstructed by measuring the polarization of light emitted by collisions of electrons and holes accelerated by a terahertz laser.

    • J. B. Costello
    • , S. D. O’Hara
    •  & M. S. Sherwin
  • Article |

    Amorphous–amorphous phase transitions in silicon dioxide are shown to proceed through a sequence of percolation transitions, a process that has relevance to a range of important liquid and glassy systems.

    • A. Hasmy
    • , S. Ispas
    •  & B. Hehlen
  • Article |

    A zero-knowledge proof, which can be used to verify secret information, is reported here with security that is enforced by the laws of special relativity.

    • Pouriya Alikhani
    • , Nicolas Brunner
    •  & Hugo Zbinden
  • Article |

    Serial femtosecond crystallography (SFX) has provided significant understanding of time-resolved processes of various systems in biology, for example, rhodopsin, which underlies our vision. The approach involves femtosecond-length X-ray pulses directed at protein crystals and has been used to study various photoactive proteins. However, the function of proteins such as rhodopsin requires transcis isomerization of a chromophore, which involves crossing of a conical intersection—a funnel separating potential energy surfaces—at timescales faster than what can be achieved experimentally. Here, Ourmazd and colleagues report a machine learning analysis of SFX data of photoactive yellow protein, which resolves the protein passing through a conical intersection, providing information about the potential energy surfaces involved and achieving time resolution of less than 10 fs. This approach offers an opportunity to understand some of the fastest processes in biology by extracting even more information from SFX datasets.

    • A. Hosseinizadeh
    • , N. Breckwoldt
    •  & A. Ourmazd
  • Article |

    Through an idealized set of simulations, with a model that incorporates key physics, research reveals dramatic swings between massive rainfall events and extended dry periods in hothouse climates.

    • Jacob T. Seeley
    •  & Robin D. Wordsworth
  • Article |

    So far only signatures of excitonic insulators have been reported, but here direct thermodynamic evidence is provided for a strongly correlated excitonic insulating state in transition metal dichalcogenide semiconductor double layers.

    • Liguo Ma
    • , Phuong X. Nguyen
    •  & Jie Shan
  • Article |

    A global inventory of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generating units, produced by combining remote sensing imagery with machine learning, has identified 68,661 facilities — an increase of over 400% on previously available asset-level data —  the majority of which were sited on cropland.

    • L. Kruitwagen
    • , K. T. Story
    •  & C. Hepburn
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Modelling highlights international travel as the main driver of the introduction of SARS-CoV-2 to Europe and the USA, and suggests that introductions and local transmission may have begun in January 2020.

    • Jessica T. Davis
    • , Matteo Chinazzi
    •  & Alessandro Vespignani
  • Article |

    By coordinating copper ions with the oxygen-containing groups of cellulose nanofibrils, the molecular spacing in the nanofibrils is increased, allowing fast transport of lithium ions and offering hopes for solid-state batteries.

    • Chunpeng Yang
    • , Qisheng Wu
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • Article |

    Preliminary modelling of airborne microplastics suggests that they may be exerting a minor cooling influence on the present-day atmosphere, and continued production could have increasing effects on the climate system in future.

    • Laura E. Revell
    • , Peter Kuma
    •  & Sally Gaw
  • Article |

    Using scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy, fractional edge excitations are observed in nanographene spin chains, enabling the potential to study strongly correlated phases in purely organic materials.

    • Shantanu Mishra
    • , Gonçalo Catarina
    •  & Roman Fasel
  • Article |

    The authors show not only that planetary bodies around white dwarfs can survive but also that more than half of white dwarfs might have Jovian planetary companions.

    • J. W. Blackman
    • , J. P. Beaulieu
    •  & J. B. Marquette
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The physics of oriented topological graphs produces anomalous non-reciprocal topological edge states that have greater robustness to disorder and defects than the best performers at present: namely, Chern states.

    • Zhe Zhang
    • , Pierre Delplace
    •  & Romain Fleury
  • Perspective |

    Computing approaches based on mechanical mechanisms are discussed, with a view towards a framework in which adaptable materials and structures act as a distributed information processing network.

    • Hiromi Yasuda
    • , Philip R. Buskohl
    •  & Jordan R. Raney
  • Article |

    Experiments using two coupled optical ring resonators and based on the concept of synthetic dimension reveal non-Hermitian energy band structures exhibiting topologically non-trivial knots and links.

    • Kai Wang
    • , Avik Dutt
    •  & Shanhui Fan