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Nano-Imaging Feud Sets Online Sites Sizzling

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Science  24 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6169, pp. 358
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6169.358

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Researchers on both sides of a nanoscience dispute are claiming that recently published papers settle the debate in their favor, and one is charging his opponents with electronic bullying. The dispute dates back to a 2004 Nature Materials paper in which researchers led by Francesco Stellacci reported that they had created gold nanoparticles with stripes of two different organic compounds, which the team imaged using a scanning tunneling microscope. Stellacci says such stripes could be useful for helping nanoparticles enter cells, but critics argued that the stripes were artifacts. Four pro-stripe papers by Stellacci and other researchers have stoked the debate, but Stellacci’s critics have been quick to respond. Stellacci, meanwhile, castigates them for mounting their antistripe campaign in electronic forums instead of restricting it to traditional peer-reviewed journals.