Welcome to another issue of Materials Today. Before I introduce the articles featured in this issue, I’d like to also introduce some of the upcoming webinars we’ll be running throughout March and April, as they fit in surprisingly well with this issue's review articles. I’d like to take credit for such an occurrence, but as can be the way in science, sometimes we just get lucky – which indeed may make a good subject for my next Editorial!

In our first webinar in March, we’ll be looking at the Design and characterization of functional biomaterials made of natural building blocks. Ulyana Shimanovich, from the University of Cambridge, will be will discussing the use of non-invasive optical techniques to characterize the structural aspects of biomaterials. Just over a week later, Tobias Salge will be discussing Advancing feature analysis and spectrum imaging in scanning electron microscopy. In April, Ryan Kershner will be Rethinking Raman imaging for advanced materials characterization, and demonstrating how to accelerate your Raman imagining research and produce expert results for all users, from basic to advanced.

Remember, all the webinars can be accessed simply by logging in with your free Materials Today member account. Just head over to www.materialstoday.com/webinars to get started. If you miss the live events, you can always watch the recordings on demand.

And so, moving on from Raman spectroscopy, functional biomaterials and advanced feature analysis to some related review articles: In the first of three reviews in this issue, Jürgen Popp and colleagues summarize the state of the art in the application of Raman spectroscopy to study self-healing polymer and biopolymer materials, in Monitoring the chemistry of self-healing by vibrational spectroscopy. Next Markus J. Buehler and Shu-Wei Chang consider the biomechanics of collagen molecules, using a bottom-up approach that begins with the mechanics of collagen molecules. Thirdly, Gaoquan Shi and co-workers take a look at nanoporous graphene materials; including their synthesis and applications in field effect transistors (FETs), sensors, electrochemical capacitors, nucleic acid analysis and molecular sieving. Our final full length article is a primary research paper on using slime mold in microfluidic logical gates, by Andrew Adamatzky and Theresa Schubert. Adamatzky and Schubert demonstrate how logical operations can be implemented by the slime mold P. polycephalum: a novel alternative to more traditional silicon based computing techniques.

This issue's cover image shows the “blossom-like” microstructure of bioceramic scaffolds for tissue engineering, composed of calcium phosphate. You can read more about the image from Vladimir Popov and colleagues in this issue's Uncovered article; and if you’re interested in calcium phosphates cements and putties, you’ll find a virtual special issue of Acta Biomaterialia devoted to the subject, online now. Just follow the links on www.materialstoday.com.

Until next time enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.02.002