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 R. Jaenicke, Science 308, 73 (2005).
A journal article with 2 authors
1 C.A. Cowan and M. Henkemeyer, Nature 413, 174 (2001).
A journal article with 3 authors
1 B. Bylicka, D. Chruściński, and S. Maniscalco, Sci. Rep. 4, 5720 (2014).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1 Z. Lei, X. Liu, Y. Wu, H. Wang, S. Jiang, S. Wang, X. Hui, Y. Wu, B. Gault, P. Kontis, D. Raabe, L. Gu, Q. Zhang, H. Chen, H. Wang, J. Liu, K. An, Q. Zeng, T.-G. Nieh, and Z. Lu, Nature 563, 546 (2018).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1 F. Adams and K. Aizawa, The Bounds of Cognition (Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK, 2010).
An edited book
1 P. Lokuciejewski, Worst-Case Execution Time Aware Compilation Techniques for Real-Time Systems (Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2011).
A chapter in an edited book
1 F.L. Bauer, in Alcune Questioni Di Analisi Numerica, edited by A. Ghizzetti (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2011), pp. 352–419.

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 D. Andrew, IFLScience (2016).


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, Transportation Security Research: Coordination Needed in Selecting and Implementing Infrastructure Vulnerability Assessments (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2003).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1 J.R. Parsons, Throwing a Wrench in the Translational Machinery: Discovery of RNA Ligands by Fluorescence Techniques, Doctoral dissertation, University of California San Diego, 2010.

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 G.G. Gustines, New York Times F3 (2015).

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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