Welcome once again to another issue of the Materials Today journal. Over the last month we’ve been making great progress on working towards the return of the Materials Today Asia conference – last held in 2007, the next event is now set to take place in Hong Kong in December 2014. I’m delighted to announce that Prof. C. T. Liu from the City University of Hong Kong will be chairing the meeting, with a fantastic line up of keynote and plenary presenters taking part in the event. The conference will be focusing on the high impact topics of biomaterials, nanoscience and technology, materials for energy and advanced materials and processing.

In keeping with the Materials Today mission to aid the creation and sharing of materials science knowledge and experience; the conference will bring together hundreds of leading researchers to share and discuss cutting edge research and engage in high level debate. No doubt that by the time you’re reading this you will be able to register and submit your abstracts – just visit www.materialstodayasia.com for more information. And so I hope to meet many of you in December: but of course you are welcome to get in touch before then by visiting http://www.materialstoday.com/the-team.

On the subject of conferences and presentations, we have some more webinars on the way in April, so head online to register for Rethinking Raman imaging for advanced materials characterization on 17th April, and to step into A new frontier in coatings analysis on the 29th April. If you missed the live events, then you can always catch-up with the recordings available on the website.

And so to begin this issue of Materials Today, Mihaela Girtan looks at how materials science is changing technology, and asks, are photonics the new electronics? This issue's review articles discuss ‘storage’ in one form or another. Doron Aurbach and colleagues review research on batteries with an emphasis on Li-ion battery technology, in ‘On the challenge of developing advanced technologies for electrochemical energy storage and conversion’. Next Torben R. Jensen et al. cover the topic of hydrogen storage over the course of two reviews. In the first, the authors consider new perspectives on storage via complex hydrides, involving ionic, metallic and covalent bonds. In the second, the emphasis is on new boron and nitrogen based hydrides and how the release and uptake of hydrogen can be improved in these fascinating materials. In the final review, Imteaz Ahmed and Sung Hwa Jhung look at composites of metal-organic frameworks, and discuss various methods and paths for the preparation of composites which have been successfully applied to gas and liquid phase adsorption. Finally, in our Uncovered feature, Sukrit Tantrawong discusses liquid crystals and the smectic B phase of the example shown on this issue's cover.

Until next time enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2014.03.004