Skip to main content

Cite Your Sources: Physical Review Letters

What is Physical Review Letters style?

Physical Review Letters style uses a number in square brackets as the in-text citation.
References are listed at the end of the paper in order of first appearance.
Physical Review Letters style is used by authors in physics. It is the house style of the journal Physical Review Letters.
The information in this guide is based on the Physical Review Style and Notation Guide. 

How do I format my in-text citations?

Uses a number in square brackets as the in-text citation. The number corresponds to the entry in the reference list at the end.

  • To cite a single source, use a single number:
    • Our devices were fabricated using standard techniques [7].
  • To cite two sources, or multiple sources that are not listed consecutively in the reference list, use each number separated by a comma. Do not put spaces between the numbers.
    • The obtained value is in agreement with the value that we obtained from independent measurements [17,18].
    • The effect we have observed has been shown to be dependent on multiple factors [12,14,23].
  • To cite three or more sources listed consecutively in the reference list, use the first and last number with a dash in between:
    • There are ongoing efforts to characterize this effect [2-6].
  • Superscript numbers should appear before punctuation, such as periods, commas, semi-colons, and colons. 
    • We have also developed a more detailed model [15], in which we take other factors into account.

How do I format my reference list?

The references come at the end of your paper and provide the full bibliographic information for your sources.
Sources you have cited within your paper should be listed in the references in order of first appearance.
List all authors, no matter how many there are, unless the source is the result of a large collaboration. List the authors in the order in which they appear on the source itself.
The journal title must be in abbreviated form. See the Appendix of the Physical Review Style and Notation Guide for a list of standard journal abbreviations.
For examples of additional source formats, please see pages 7 and 8 of the Physical Review Style and Notation Guide

Article in a Journal or Periodical, One Author

A. A. Author, Abbreviated Title of Journal volume, first page number (year).

H. Kawarada, Appl. Phys. Lett. 105, 13510 (2014).

Book, One or More Authors

A. A. Author, Title of Book, (Publisher, City of Publication, year), Volume if applicable, relevant page number(s) if applicable.

J. M. Smith, Molecular Dynamics (Academic, New York, 1980), Vol. 2, p. 20.

Note: Follow the same author format as for articles.

Chapter in an Edited Book

A. A. Author in Title of Book, edited by B. B. Editor (Publisher, City of Publication, year).

J. M. Smith in Molecular Dynamics, edited by C. Brown (Academic, New York, 1980)

Note: Follow the same author format as for articles.

Resources to Help with Writing Your Essay

Use these resources to help you write your essay.

Guide: Write a University EssayGuide: Cite Your SourcesVideo: From Passage to Paraphrase

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.