Soft materials

  • Article |

    Knowledge of band structure aids in understanding charge transport behaviour, yet it has proved impossible to measure the conduction (LUMO) band of organic semiconductors, in particular due to sample degradation by the electron beam. To address this, the authors developed and used AR-LEIPS to reveal the LUMO band dispersion of pentacene.

    • Haruki Sato
    • , Syed A. Abd. Rahman
    •  & Hiroyuki Yoshida
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here the authors investigate lipid nanodiscs as drug carriers for antitumour immunotherapy. They demonstrate that flexible lipid nanodiscs functionalized with STING-activating cyclic dinucleotides exhibit superior tumour penetration and tumour cell uptake compared with spherical liposomes, resulting in improved antitumour T-cell priming and tumour regression.

    • Eric L. Dane
    • , Alexis Belessiotis-Richards
    •  & Darrell J. Irvine
  • Article |

    Two monomers with distinct solubility of their corresponding polymers in an ionic liquid enable tuning of the microstructure of the copolymers during their polymerization. Thus, energy dissipative and elastic molecular domains are created, resulting in highly tough and stretchable ionogels.

    • Meixiang Wang
    • , Pengyao Zhang
    •  & Michael D. Dickey
  • Perspective |

    Molecular weaving is the entanglement of one-dimensional flexible molecules into higher-dimensional networks. This Perspective provides an overview of the progress so far, and discusses the future challenges and potentials of this field.

    • Zhi-Hui Zhang
    • , Björn J. Andreassen
    •  & Liang Zhang
  • Article |

    The liquid nature of hard glasses is demonstrated by broadband stress relaxation experiments. The rheology and dynamic transition of various glass systems can be unified by a universal scaling law in the time–stress–temperature–volume domain.

    • Shuangxi Song
    • , Fan Zhu
    •  & Mingwei Chen
  • Article |

    Symmetry breaking in colloidal crystals is achieved with DNA-grafted programmable atom equivalents and complementary electron equivalents, whose interactions are tuned to create anisotropic crystalline precursors with well-defined coordination geometries that assemble into distinct low-symmetry crystals.

    • Shunzhi Wang
    • , Sangmin Lee
    •  & Chad A. Mirkin
  • Article |

    The large-scale fabrication of cellulose nanocrystal photonic films in a roll-to-roll device is achieved by careful optimization of the cellulose nanocrystal formulation and its controlled deposition and drying on a substrate. Once dry, these photonic films can be peeled and milled into effect pigments, highlighting the potential of cellulose nanocrystals as a sustainable material for industrial photonic applications.

    • Benjamin E. Droguet
    • , Hsin-Ling Liang
    •  & Silvia Vignolini
  • Article |

    The solvent-free conversion of phthalonitrile derivatives into phthalocyanines in the bulk is described, involving a reductive cyclotetramerization step and the formation of one-dimensional single-crystalline fibres. This solvent-free autocatalytic supramolecular polymerization may enable for a sustainable fabrication of multi-block supramolecular copolymers.

    • Zhen Chen
    • , Yukinaga Suzuki
    •  & Takuzo Aida
  • Article |

    Micromagnets dispersed in a polymer matrix are used to realize a soft magnetoelastic generator with high magnetomechanical coupling factor, used for wearable and implantable power generation and sensing applications.

    • Yihao Zhou
    • , Xun Zhao
    •  & Jun Chen
  • Article |

    A two-dimensional hole gas with high carrier density is confined at the interface between a solution-processed, single-crystalline organic semiconducting film and the electric double layer formed by an ion gel on top of the film.

    • Naotaka Kasuya
    • , Junto Tsurumi
    •  & Jun Takeya
  • Article |

    Programmable triangular DNA blocks self-assemble into distinct icosahedral shells with specific geometry and apertures that can encapsulate viruses and decrease viral infection.

    • Christian Sigl
    • , Elena M. Willner
    •  & Hendrik Dietz
  • Article |

    Charged colloidal systems undergo fast crystallization under deep supercooling due to a coupled mechanism involving the discrete advancement of the crystal growth front and defect repair inside the recently formed solid phase.

    • Qiong Gao
    • , Jingdong Ai
    •  & Peng Tan
  • Article |

    Stacked elastomeric arrays containing plasmonic nanoparticles show efficient chiral responses that can be fully controlled by mechanical compression and stack rotation. These simple layered materials may be useful modulators for photonic applications.

    • Patrick T. Probst
    • , Martin Mayer
    •  & Andreas Fery
  • Perspective |

    Highly ordered crystalline porous solids are useful for many applications. This Perspective explores the evolution of these systems from the ordered state to the glassy and liquid states, discusses the different types of porous liquid and considers possible applications of these disordered systems.

    • Thomas D. Bennett
    • , François-Xavier Coudert
    •  & Andrew I. Cooper
  • Article |

    Conductors made of a mixture of liquid and solid domains of Ga–In alloy can be stretched over 1,000%, keeping almost constant conductivity, and used to connect commercial electronic components and realize stretchable multilayer printed circuit boards.

    • Shanliangzi Liu
    • , Dylan S. Shah
    •  & Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio
  • Article |

    Upon light stimulation, two jointed liquid crystalline network oscillators affect the movement of each other, achieving synchronized in-phase and anti-phase oscillations that can be explored to generate soft actuators with collective responses.

    • Ghislaine Vantomme
    • , Lars C. M. Elands
    •  & Dirk J. Broer
  • Article |

    Elastomers swollen with solvent repeatedly snap back and forward as the solvent evaporates, which is harnessed to fabricate polymeric devices that jump autonomously.

    • Yongjin Kim
    • , Jay van den Berg
    •  & Alfred J. Crosby
  • Article |

    Hierarchically structured 3D materials made of distinct colloidal particles spontaneously assemble by combining the electrostatic modulation of particle interactions to form supracolloids that are organized into 3D structures on solvent drying in an entropy-driven process.

    • Mohammad-Amin Moradi
    • , E. Deniz Eren
    •  & Joseph P. Patterson
  • Article |

    A graphene nanocomposite hydrogel showing anisotropic swelling is used to realize an electrically conducting and removable bioadhesive that improves the mechanical and electrical integration of bioelectronics devices with wet dynamic tissues.

    • Jue Deng
    • , Hyunwoo Yuk
    •  & Xuanhe Zhao
  • Article |

    Experiments and molecular dynamics simulations show that the dehydration-induced actuation of nanoporous tripeptide crystals is a result of pore contraction caused by the strengthening of the water hydrogen-bonding network inside the pore, which creates mechanical stress that deforms the crystal lattice.

    • Roxana Piotrowska
    • , Travis Hesketh
    •  & Xi Chen
  • Article |

    The physical vapour deposition of ultrastable monodispersed polymer glasses is reported. This technique allows for the high tunability of glass transition temperatures of the deposited polymers, which could be useful for technological applications.

    • Adam N. Raegen
    • , Junjie Yin
    •  & James A. Forrest
  • Letter |

    Relaxor ferroelectric polymers are a material of choice for applications such as electrostrictive actuators or electrocaloric cooling. Here, the origin of relaxor behaviour at the molecular level is investigated and found to arise from conformational disorder.

    • Yang Liu
    • , Bing Zhang
    •  & Qing Wang
  • Letter |

    A cell culture interfacing an organic neuromorphic device in a microfluidic system reversibly modifies the device synaptic weight through chemical reactions mediated by the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter used in biological synapses.

    • Scott T. Keene
    • , Claudia Lubrano
    •  & Francesca Santoro
  • Article |

    The progressive stiffening of the solid–solid contacts that freeze dense colloidal suspensions are shown to cause the macroscopic ageing of such materials.

    • Francesco Bonacci
    • , Xavier Chateau
    •  & Anaël Lemaître
  • Article |

    Low-dose liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy, particle tracking and numerical simulations are used to characterize the crystallization kinetics and pathways of gold nanoprisms at the single-particle level.

    • Zihao Ou
    • , Ziwei Wang
    •  & Qian Chen
  • Letter |

    The kinetics and thermodynamics of the nucleation of magnetite crystals from primary particles are shown to be described by colloidal assembly theory, allowing for predictions of crystal sizes to be made.

    • Giulia Mirabello
    • , Alessandro Ianiro
    •  & Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk