Regular readers may remember that back in the second half of last year we announced the launch of a new lecture series in conjunction with the Elsevier Materials Science Council headed by Prof Subra Suresh. The Materials Today – Materials in Society lecture series aims to reveal how materials science is ‘tackling some of the world's biggest issues, and explore the huge improvements the applications of research make to the way we live and work’.

And so now I am happy to announce that following a call for topic nominations, the inaugural lectures will be presented by Molly Stevens (Imperial College London), Jay Whitacre (Carnegie Mellon), and Bin Liu, (National University Singapore), and will explore biomaterial scaffolds for medicine, scientific entrepreneurship, and the applications of fluorescent nanomaterials. The first lectures will be presented at the International Conference on Materials for Advanced Technologies (ICMAT), the major biennial event organized by The Materials Research Society of Singapore, and will be made freely available online after the conference.

We will be announcing future lectures in the series soon, so keep an eye on for more information.

But looking towards this issue, opening and closing the journal we have our regular cover feature; in this edition, Andrea Falqui and colleagues look at ordered nanometric bundles, in From single molecule to suspended DNA nanowires. In this month's Comment, Mehdi Kazemzadeh-Narbat, Nasim Annabi, and Ali Khademhosseini discuss recent work in Surgical sealants and high strength adhesives; to find out more about Prof Khademhosseini's work, visit to view his recent Materials Today webinar.

Over to the reviews, we look at some fascinating applications, beginning with a look at Colloidal self-assembly concepts for light management in photovoltaics, by Andreas Fery and colleagues, providing an overview of recent developments in colloid synthesis, functionalization and assembly with a focus on light management structures in photovoltaics. Next, Ankit Jain and Subi J. George take a critical look at supramolecular aspects of domain control, monodispersity and control of dynamics of π-conjugated molecular assemblies in New directions in supramolecular electronics. Peng Chen et al. review the preparation and applications of carbon-microfiber devices on energy conversion and storage, electronics, sensors and actuators, in their paper on Microfiber devices based on carbon materials. Finally, Alexandra Boltasseva and co-workers discuss alternative plasmonic materials for localized surface plasmon applications, paying particular attention to titanium nitride and its potential to replace gold in plasmonic devices, in Nanoparticle plasmonics: Going practical with transition metal nitrides.

And so, as always, we hope you enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2015.04.006