How to format your references using the Applied Physics Letters citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Applied Physics Letters. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
1 M. Sheil, “Perspective: on the verge of a new ERA,” Nature 511(7510), S67 (2014).
A journal article with 2 authors
1 D.A. Stapel, and S. Lindenberg, “Coping with chaos: how disordered contexts promote stereotyping and discrimination,” Science 332(6026), 251–253 (2011).
A journal article with 3 authors
1 W. Runguphan, X. Qu, and S.E. O’Connor, “Integrating carbon-halogen bond formation into medicinal plant metabolism,” Nature 468(7322), 461–464 (2010).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1 P.J. Cook, B.G. Ju, F. Telese, X. Wang, C.K. Glass, and M.G. Rosenfeld, “Tyrosine dephosphorylation of H2AX modulates apoptosis and survival decisions,” Nature 458(7238), 591–596 (2009).

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
1 Institute of Management and Administration (IOMA), Cost Reduction and Control Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2012).
An edited book
1 P. Healy, and N.S. Nikolov, editors , Graph Drawing: 13th International Symposium, GD 2005, Limerick, Ireland, September 12-14, 2005. Revised Papers (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2006).
A chapter in an edited book
1 M. Khader, A.B. Hamza, and P. Bhattacharya, in Image Analysis and Recognition: 7th International Conference, ICIAR 2010, Póvoa de Varzin, Portugal, June 21-23, 2010, Proceedings, Part II, edited by A. Campilho and M. Kamel (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2010), pp. 30–39.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Applied Physics Letters.

Blog post
1 E. Andrew, “Imagining Strange New Lifeforms Could Help Us Discover Our Own Origins,” IFLScience, (2015).


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
1 Government Accountability Office, Space Acquisitions: Challenges in Commercializing Technologies Developed under the Small Business Innovation Research Program (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2010).

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
1 W. Best, Beneath the Silence, Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, 2009.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
1 E. St. John Kelly, “F.Y.I,” New York Times, 142 (1999).

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in superscript:

This sentence cites one reference 1.
This sentence cites two references 1,2.
This sentence cites four references 1–4.

About the journal

Full journal titleApplied Physics Letters
AbbreviationAppl. Phys. Lett.
ISSN (print)0003-6951
ISSN (online)1077-3118
ScopePhysics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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