What Does Analysis of Nanotechnology Hot Papers of 2018 Tell Us?

What Does Analysis of Nanotechnology Hot Papers of 2018 Tell Us?

As reported by StatNano, a total of 222 nanotechnology-related hot papers were published in 2018, in whose publication Chinese and American universities have the largest shares. Environmental and energy-related issues are among the most important subjects investigated in these articles; graphene and its derivatives also account for the highest proportion of the nanomaterials used for these studies.

Hot papers are the papers that have been published in the past two years and ranked in the top 0.1% of all papers in a scientific field due to their outstandingly large number of citations received during the past two months; therefore, the list of these papers is not fixed and may change over time.

According to StatNano, of all the nanotechnology papers published in 2018, 222 are considered as hot papers in the last two months. These papers have been cited more than 8,000 times altogether – i.e. each paper has received 36 citations on average over this one-year period. The most frequently cited paper, “Unconventional superconductivity in magic-angle graphene superlattices”, has been published in Nature by the researchers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard in the field of physics, and it has so far been cited 170 times since its publication in April 2018. The second most frequently cited paper of 2018 has also been published by the same group on graphene superconductors in the same journal, which has so far received 103 citations.

Nearly more than half of the 100 universities and research centers involved in the publication of these articles are from China, among which the Chinese Academy of Sciences with 27, and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China with 13 hot papers have the greatest shares. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, having 114 institutes throughout China, is the largest academic organization in the natural sciences, technology, and research and development of this country, ranked above MIT and the Max Planck Society in the annual Nature Index ranking. After China, the United States with more than 20 universities takes the second place on the list, among which the University of Tennessee, MIT, and Harvard University have the largest shares. The list also includes universities from other countries such as Japan, Canada, Singapore, France, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

Of these 222 hot papers, 98 are in the field of chemistry, which have sent the Chemical Engineering Journal with 14 hot papers to the first spot on the list of the publishers of these papers. The second and third places of the list are held by Science with 10 and Nature with 9 hot papers. Table 1 lists the statistics for some of these journals.


Table 1. Journals having published most of the nanotechnology hot papers of 2018


Number of Hot Papers Published in 2018

Chemical Engineering Journal


International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer


Advanced Materials


Applied Catalysis B Environmental




ACS Sustainable Chemistry Engineering




Journal of Molecular Liquids


Advanced Energy Materials


Nature Nanotechnology


Energy Environmental Science


Journal of the American Chemical Society


Biosensors Bioelectronics


Journal of Materials Chemistry A


Nature Communications



Graphene and its derivatives have the highest proportion of the nanomaterials used in these hot papers. Since 2006 the number of articles on graphene has exponentially grown, in so far as it has increased from 3,200 articles in 2010 to more than 27,000 articles in 2017 [i]. Hence, graphene and its derivatives can be considered among the most important fundamental materials in nanotechnology, to which a significant amount of research has recently been dedicated. In addition to graphene, nanomaterials such as nanowires, nanofluids, nanopores, quantum dots, and the nanoparticles of BN, NaBiF4, TiO2, ZnO, and Ag are seen among the materials widely used in the hot papers.

The nanotechnology hot papers of 2018 cover a wide range of subjects such as cancer detection, light-emitting diodes, quantum computing, gas sensors, optoelectronics, neuroscience, genomic sequencing, and aerospace; the elimination of environmental pollutants as well as energy especially in the field of solar cell, however, comprise the largest proportion of the hot papers, which underscores the globally crucial importance of environmental and energy-related issues. Table 2 shows the most frequently cited hot paper of each scientific field in 2018.


Table 2. The most frequently cited hot papers in different scientific fields in 2018






Title: Unconventional superconductivity in magic-angle graphene superlattices






Title: Metal-organic framework-based materials: superior adsorbents for the capture of toxic and radioactive metal ions


Environmental pollution management

Graphene oxide

Chemical Society Reviews


Title: Significantly enhanced and precisely modeled thermal conductivity in polyimide nanocomposites with chemically modified graphene via in situ polymerization and electrospinning-hot press technology

Materials Science


Graphene nanocomposite

Journal Of Materials Chemistry C


Title: Boron nitride-based materials for the removal of pollutants from aqueous solutions: A review


Environmental pollution management

Boron nitride nanoparticles

Chemical Engineering Journal


Title: Nanopore sequencing and assembly of a human genome with ultra-long reads

Biology & Biochemistry

Genome sequencing


Nature Biotechnology


Title: Near-Infrared-to-Ultraviolet Light-Mediated Photoelectrochemical Aptasensing Platform for Cancer Biomarker Based on Core Shell NaYF4:Yb,Tm@TiO2 Upconversion Microrods

Chemistry / Medicine

Cancer detection

Upconversion nanoparticles

Analytical Chemistry


Title: Near-infrared deep brain stimulation via upconversion nanoparticle-mediated optogenetics

Neuroscience & Behavior


Upconversion nanoparticles



Title: 3D-2D-0D Interface Profiling for Record Efficiency All-Inorganic CsPbBrI2 Perovskite Solar Cells with Superior Stability

Energy Fuel

Perovskite solar cell

Quantum dots

Advanced Energy Materials