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 W. McCarthy, “Programmable matter,” Nature 407(6804), 569 (2000).
A journal article with 2 authors
1 H. Moine, and J.L. Mandel, “Biomedicine. Do G quartets orchestrate fragile X pathology?,” Science 294(5551), 2487–2488 (2001).
A journal article with 3 authors
1 P. Pavlov, J.I. Svendsen, and S. Indrelid, “Human presence in the European Arctic nearly 40,000 years ago,” Nature 413(6851), 64–67 (2001).
A journal article with 4 or more authors
1 T.S. Tran, M.E. Rubio, R.L. Clem, D. Johnson, L. Case, M. Tessier-Lavigne, R.L. Huganir, D.D. Ginty, and A.L. Kolodkin, “Secreted semaphorins control spine distribution and morphogenesis in the postnatal CNS,” Nature 462(7276), 1065–1069 (2009).

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
1 G.A. Johansen, and P. Jackson, Radioisotope Gauges for Industrial Process Measurements (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK, 2005).
An edited book
1 Z. Pan, A.D. Cheok, W. Mueller, and M. Zhang, editors , Transactions on Edutainment XI, 1st ed. 2015 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015).
A chapter in an edited book
1 E. Tilley, C. Zurbrügg, and C. Lüthi, in Social Perspectives on the Sanitation Challenge, edited by B. van Vliet, G. Spaargaren, and P. Oosterveer (Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 2010), pp. 69–86.

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 A. Carpineti, “Physicists Take Particle Accelerator On 5,000-Kilometer Trip To Understand The Nature Of Muons,” IFLScience, (2017).


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, Relocation of the Western Executive Seminar Center (U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1985).

Theses and dissertations

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

Doctoral dissertation
1 R.L. Rahschulte, An Examination of the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Detect, Practice, and Repair versus Traditional Cover, Copy, and Compare Procedures: A Component Analysis, Doctoral dissertation, University of Cincinnati, 2014.

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 M.W. Walsh, “Cracks Starting to Appear in Public Pensions’ Armor,” New York Times, B1 (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)

Other styles