This paper reviews recent progress made in identifying electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) reduction to produce low-carbon fuels, including CO, HCOOH/HCOO − , CH 2 O, CH 4 , H 2 C 2 O 4 /HC 2 O 4 − , C 2 H 4 , CH 3 OH, CH 3 CH 2 OH and others. The electrocatalysts are classified into several categories, including metals, metal alloys, metal oxides, metal complexes, polymers/clusters, enzymes and organic molecules. The catalyts' activity, product selectivity, Faradaic efficiency, catalytic stability and reduction mechanisms during CO 2 electroreduction have received detailed treatment. In particular, we review the effects of electrode potential, solution-electrolyte type and composition, temperature, pressure, and other conditions on these catalyst properties. The challenges in achieving highly active and stable CO 2 reduction electrocatalysts are analyzed, and several research directions for practical applications are proposed, with the aim of mitigating performance degradation, overcoming additional challenges, and facilitating research and development in this area. This paper reviews recent progress made in identifying electrocatalysts for carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) reduction to produce low-carbon fuels, including CO, HCOOH/HCOO − , CH 2 O, CH 4 , H 2 C 2 O 4 /HC 2 O 4 − , C 2 H 4 , CH 3 OH, CH 3 CH 2 OH and others.
Two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials have received much attention in recent years, because of their unusual properties associated with their ultra-thin thickness and 2D morphology. Besides graphene which has aroused tremendous research interest, other types of 2D nanomaterials such as metal dichalcogenides have also been studied and applied in various applications including electronics, optoelectronics, energy storage devices, and so on. In this tutorial review, we will take MoS 2 as a typical example to introduce the latest research development of 2D inorganic nanomaterials with emphasis on their preparation methods, properties and applications. Taking MoS 2 as a typical example, this review discusses the preparation methods, properties and applications of two-dimensional nanomaterials.
The chemical reduction of graphene oxide is a promising route towards the large scale production of graphene for commercial applications. The current state-of-the-art in graphene oxide reduction, consisting of more than 50 types of reducing agent, will be reviewed from a synthetic chemistry point of view. Emphasis is placed on the techniques, reaction mechanisms and the quality of the produced graphene. The reducing agents are reviewed under two major categories: (i) those which function according to well-supported mechanisms and (ii) those which function according to proposed mechanisms based on knowledge of organic chemistry. This review will serve as a valuable platform to understand the efficiency of these reducing agents for the reduction of graphene oxide. Current state-of-the-art in graphene oxide reduction, consisting of more than 50 types of reducing agent, is reviewed from a synthetic chemistry viewpoint.
The increasing human need for clean and renewable energy has stimulated research in artificial photosynthesis, and in particular water photoelectrolysis as a pathway to hydrogen fuel. Nanostructured devices are widely regarded as an opportunity to improve efficiency and lower costs, but as a detailed analysis shows, they also have considerably disadvantages. This article reviews the current state of research on nanoscale-enhanced photoelectrodes and photocatalysts for the water splitting reaction. The focus is on transition metal oxides with special emphasis of Fe(2)O(3), but nitrides and chalcogenides, and main group element compounds, including carbon nitride and silicon, are also covered. The effects of nanostructuring on carrier generation and collection, multiple exciton generation, and quantum confinement are also discussed, as well as implications of particle size on surface recombination, on the size of space charge layers and on the possibility of controlling nanostructure energetics via potential determining ions. After a summary of electrocatalytic and plasmonic nanostructures, the review concludes with an outlook on the challenges in solar fuel generation with nanoscale inorganic materials.
The increasing human need for clean and renewable energy has stimulated research in artificial photosynthesis, and in particular water photoelectrolysis as a pathway to hydrogen fuel. Nanostructured devices are widely regarded as an opportunity to improve efficiency and lower costs, but as a detailed analysis shows, they also have considerably disadvantages. This article reviews the current state of research on nanoscale-enhanced photoelectrodes and photocatalysts for the water splitting reaction. The focus is on transition metal oxides with special emphasis of Fe2O3, but nitrides and chalcogenides, and main group element compounds, including carbon nitride and silicon, are also covered. The effects of nanostructuring on carrier generation and collection, multiple exciton generation, and quantum confinement are also discussed, as well as implications of particle size on surface recombination, on the size of space charge layers and on the possibility of controlling nanostructure energetics via potential determining ions. After a summary of electrocatalytic and plasmonic nanostructures, the review concludes with an outlook on the challenges in solar fuel generation with nanoscale inorganic materials.
Rechargeable Li/S batteries have attracted significant attention lately due to their high specific energy and low cost. They are promising candidates for applications, including portable electronics, electric vehicles and grid-level energy storage. However, poor cycle life and low power capability are major technical obstacles. Various nanostructured sulfur cathodes have been developed to address these issues, as they provide greater resistance to pulverization, faster reaction kinetics and better trapping of soluble polysulfides. In this review, recent developments on nanostructured sulfur cathodes and mechanisms behind their operation are presented and discussed. Moreover, progress on novel characterization of sulfur cathodes is also summarized, as it has deepened the understanding of sulfur cathodes and will guide further rational design of sulfur electrodes.
Conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) are a class of organic porous polymers that combine π-conjugated skeletons with permanent nanopores, in sharp contrast to other porous materials that are not π-conjugated and with conventional conjugated polymers that are nonporous. As an emerging material platform, CMPs offer a high flexibility for the molecular design of conjugated skeletons and nanopores. Various chemical reactions, building blocks and synthetic methods have been developed and a broad variety of CMPs with different structures and specific properties have been synthesized, driving the rapid growth of the field. CMPs are unique in that they allow the complementary utilization of π-conjugated skeletons and nanopores for functional exploration; they have shown great potential for challenging energy and environmental issues, as exemplified by their excellent performance in gas adsorption, heterogeneous catalysis, light emitting, light harvesting and electrical energy storage. This review describes the molecular design principles of CMPs, advancements in synthetic and structural studies and the frontiers of functional exploration and potential applications. The basic design principle, recent synthetic advancement, and frontiers of functional exploration of conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) are described.
Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) represent an exciting new type of porous organic materials, which are ingeniously constructed with organic building units via strong covalent bonds. The well-defined crystalline porous structures together with tailored functionalities have offered the COF materials superior potential in diverse applications, such as gas storage, adsorption, optoelectricity, and catalysis. Since the seminal work of Yaghi and co-workers in 2005, the rapid development in this research area has attracted intensive interest from researchers with diverse expertise. This critical review describes the state-of-the-art development in the design, synthesis, characterisation, and application of the crystalline porous COF materials. Our own opinions on further development of the COF materials are also presented for discussion (155 references).
Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) represent an exciting new type of porous organic materials, which are ingeniously constructed with organic building units via strong covalent bonds. The well-defined crystalline porous structures together with tailored functionalities have offered the COF materials superior potential in diverse applications, such as gas storage, adsorption, optoelectricity, and catalysis. Since the seminal work of Yaghi and co-workers in 2005, the rapid development in this research area has attracted intensive interest from researchers with diverse expertise. This critical review describes the state-of-the-art development in the design, synthesis, characterisation, and application of the crystalline porous COF materials. Our own opinions on further development of the COF materials are also presented for discussion (155 references). This critical review describes the state-of-the-art development in the design, synthesis, characterisation, and application of the crystalline porous COF materials.
The future development of chemistry entails environmentally friendly and energy sustainable alternatives for organic transformations. Visible light photocatalysis can address these challenges, as reflected by recent intensive scientific endeavours to this end. This review covers state-of-the-art accomplishments in visible-light-induced selective organic transformations by heterogeneous photocatalysis. The discussion comprises three sections based on the photocatalyst type: metal oxides such as TiO 2 , Nb 2 O 5 and ZnO; plasmonic photocatalysts like nanostructured Au, Ag or Cu supported on metal oxides; and polymeric graphitic carbon nitride. Finally, recent strides in bridging the gap between photocatalysis and other areas of catalysis will be highlighted with the aim of overcoming the existing limitations of photocatalysis by developing more creative synthetic methodologies. Recent progress in the visible-light-induced redox organic transformations by heterogeneous photocatalysis is comprehensively summarized.
In the past few years, spiropyran has emerged as the molecule-of-choice for the construction of novel dynamic materials. This unique molecular switch undergoes structural isomerisation in response to a variety of orthogonal stimuli, e.g. light, temperature, metal ions, redox potential, and mechanical stress. Incorporation of this switch onto macromolecular supports or inorganic scaffolds allows for the creation of robust dynamic materials. This review discusses the synthesis, switching conditions, and use of dynamic materials in which spiropyran has been attached to the surfaces of polymers, biomacromolecules, inorganic nanoparticles, as well as solid surfaces. The resulting materials show fascinating properties whereby the state of the switch intimately affects a multitude of useful properties of the support. The utility of the spiropyran switch will undoubtedly endow these materials with far-reaching applications in the near future. Covalent immobilisation of the spiropyran moiety onto macromolecular supports or inorganic scaffolds allows for the creation of robust dynamic materials.
Gold nanorods have been receiving extensive attention owing to their extremely attractive applications in biomedical technologies, plasmon-enhanced spectroscopies, and optical and optoelectronic devices. The growth methods and plasmonic properties of Au nanorods have therefore been intensively studied. In this review, we present a comprehensive overview of the flourishing field of Au nanorods in the past five years. We will focus mainly on the approaches for the growth, shape and size tuning, functionalization, and assembly of Au nanorods, as well as the methods for the preparation of their hybrid structures. The plasmonic properties and the associated applications of Au nanorods will also be discussed in detail.
Photovoltaic (PV) technologies for solar energy conversion represent promising routes to green and renewable energy generation. Despite relevant PV technologies being available for more than half a century, the production of solar energy remains costly, largely owing to low power conversion efficiencies of solar cells. The main difficulty in improving the efficiency of PV energy conversion lies in the spectral mismatch between the energy distribution of photons in the incident solar spectrum and the bandgap of a semiconductor material. In recent years, luminescent materials, which are capable of converting a broad spectrum of light into photons of a particular wavelength, have been synthesized and used to minimize the losses in the solar-cell-based energy conversion process. In this review, we will survey recent progress in the development of spectral converters, with a particular emphasis on lanthanide-based upconversion, quantum-cutting and down-shifting materials, for PV applications. In addition, we will also present technical challenges that arise in developing cost-effective high-performance solar cells based on these luminescent materials. This review highlights the recent advances in the field of luminescent materials as spectral converters for photovoltaic applications.
Advanced energy conversion and storage (ECS) devices (including fuel cells, photoelectrochemical water splitting cells, solar cells, Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors) are expected to play a major role in the development of sustainable technologies that alleviate the energy and environmental challenges we are currently facing. The successful utilization of ECS devices depends critically on synthesizing new nanomaterials with merits of low cost, high efficiency, and outstanding properties. Recent progress has demonstrated that nanostructured metal chalcogenides (MCs) are very promising candidates for efficient ECS systems based on their unique physical and chemical properties, such as conductivity, mechanical and thermal stability and cyclability. In this review, we aim to provide a summary on the liquid-phase synthesis, modifications, and energy-related applications of nanostructured metal chalcogenide (MC) materials. The liquid-phase syntheses of various MC nanomaterials are primarily categorized with the preparation method (mainly 15 kinds of methods). To obtain optimized, enhanced or even new properties, the nanostructured MC materials can be modified by other functional nanomaterials such as carbon-based materials, noble metals, metal oxides, or MCs themselves. Thus, this review will then be focused on the recent strategies used to realize the modifications of MC nanomaterials. After that, the ECS applications of the MC/modified-MC nanomaterials have been systematically summarized based on a great number of successful cases. Moreover, remarks on the challenges and perspectives for future MC research are proposed (403 references).MC/modified-MC
Nanostructured materials are advantageous in offering huge surface to volume ratios, favorable transport properties, altered physical properties, and confinement effects resulting from the nanoscale dimensions, and have been extensively studied for energy-related applications such as solar cells, catalysts, thermoelectrics, lithium ion batteries, supercapacitors, and hydrogen storage systems. This review focuses on a few select aspects regarding these topics, demonstrating that nanostructured materials benefit these applications by (1) providing a large surface area to boost the electrochemical reaction or molecular adsorption occurring at the solid-liquid or solid-gas interface, (2) generating optical effects to improve optical absorption in solar cells, and (3) giving rise to high crystallinity and/or porous structure to facilitate the electron or ion transport and electrolyte diffusion, so as to ensure the electrochemical process occurs with high efficiency. It is emphasized that, to further enhance the capability of nanostructured materials for energy conversion and storage, new mechanisms and structures are anticipated. In addition to highlighting the obvious advantages of nanostructured materials, the limitations and challenges of nanostructured materials while being used for solar cells, lithium ion batteries, supercapacitors, and hydrogen storage systems have also been addressed in this review.
Nature has chosen chlorophylls in plants as antennae to harvest light for the conversion of solar energy in complicated photosynthetic processes. Inspired by natural photosynthesis, scientists utilized artificial chlorophylls - the porphyrins - as efficient centres to harvest light for solar cells sensitized with a porphyrin (PSSC). After the first example appeared in 1993 of a porphyrin of type copper chlorophyll as a photosensitizer for PSSC that achieved a power conversion efficiency of 2.6%, no significant advance of PSSC was reported until 2005; beta-linked zinc porphyrins were then reported to show promising device performances with a benchmark efficiency of 7.1% reported in 2007. Meso -linked zinc porphyrin sensitizers in the first series with a push-pull framework appeared in 2009; the best cell performed comparably to that of a N3-based device, and a benchmark 11% was reported for a porphyrin sensitizer of this type in 2010. With a structural design involving long alkoxyl chains to envelop the porphyrin core to suppress the dye aggregation for a push-pull zinc porphyrin, the PSSC achieved a record 12.3% in 2011 with co-sensitization of an organic dye and a cobalt-based electrolyte. The best PSSC system exhibited a panchromatic feature for light harvesting covering the visible spectral region to 700 nm, giving opportunities to many other porphyrins, such as fused and dimeric porphyrins, with near-infrared absorption spectral features, together with the approach of molecular co-sensitization, to enhance the device performance of PSSC. According to this historical trend for the development of prospective porphyrin sensitizers used in PSSC, we review systematically the progress of porphyrins of varied kinds, and their derivatives, applied in PSSC with a focus on reports during 2007-2012 from the point of view of molecular design correlated with photovoltaic performance. The progress of porphyrin-sensitized solar cells (PSSC) is reviewed based on a historical development with a focus on reports during 2007-2012 from the point of view of molecular design and co-sensitization correlated with photovoltaic performance.
Arylamine organic dyes with donor (D), π-bridge (π) and acceptor (A) moieties for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) have received great attention in the last decade because of their high molar absorption coefficient, low cost and structural variety. In the early stages, the efficiency of DSCs with arylamine organic dyes with D-π-A character was far behind that of DSCs with ruthenium( ii ) complexes partly due to the lack of information about the relationship between the chemical structures and the photovoltaic performance. However, exciting progress has been recently made, and power conversion efficiencies over 10% were obtained for DSCs with arylamine organic dyes. It is thus that the recent research and development in the field of arylamine organic dyes employing an iodide/triiodide redox couple or polypyridyl cobalt redox shuttles as the electrolytes for either DSCs or solid-state DSCs has been summarized. The cell performance of the arylamine organic dyes are compared, providing a comprehensive overview of arylamine organic dyes, demonstrating the advantages/disadvantages of each class, and pointing out the field that needs to reinforce the research direction in the further application of DSCs. This review presents recent progress in understanding the arylamine organic dyes for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs).
Surface functionalization of nano-magnetic nanoparticles is a well-designed way to bridge the gap between heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis. The introduction of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in a variety of solid matrices allows the combination of well-known procedures for catalyst heterogenization with techniques for magnetic separation. Magnetite is a well-known material, also known as ferrite (Fe 3 O 4 ), and can be used as a versatile support for functionalization of metals, organocatalysts, N-heterocyclic carbenes, and chiral catalysts. It is used as a support for important homogeneous catalytically active metals such as Pd, Pt, Cu, Ni, Co, Ir, etc. to obtain stable and magnetically recyclable heterogeneous catalysts. Homogeneous organocatalysts can be successfully decorated with linkers/ligands on the surface of magnetite or alternatively the organocatalysts can be directly immobilized on the surface of magnetite. The functionalized magnetically retrievable catalysts or nanocatalysts that are increasingly being used in catalysis, green chemistry and pharmaceutically significant reactions are summarized in this review. This review summarizes the immobilization of homogeneous metals, organocatalysts, ligands, N-heterocyclic carbenes on the magnetite (Fe 3 O 4 ) support and their applications in significant sustainable chemistry protocols.
The rapidly growing number of luminescent coordination polymers (CPs) and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) illustrates high interest as well as accessibility of such materials. The interplay between inorganic and organic components in these materials offers a large number of viable luminescence processes. The enormous variability of available ligand-metal combinations opens the possibility of creating luminescence "by design", based on a proper understanding of the processes involved. Together with the multifunctionality of MOFs ( e.g. porosity) further options like sensing become accessible. This tutorial review covers the main luminescence processes and focuses especially on metal-based luminescence of coordination polymers and MOFs. This introduction to metal-based luminescence in coordination polymers and MOFs explains basic principles and gives guidelines for construction and optimization.
There is increasing interest in developing artificial systems that can mimic natural photosynthesis to directly harvest and convert solar energy into usable or storable energy resources. Photocatalysis, in which solar photons are used to drive redox reactions to produce chemical fuel, is the central process to achieve this goal. Despite significant efforts to date, a practically viable photocatalyst with sufficient efficiency, stability and low cost is yet to be demonstrated. It is often difficult to simultaneously achieve these different performance metrics with a single material component. The heterogeneous photocatalysts with multiple integrated functional components could combine the advantages of different components to overcome the drawbacks of single component photocatalysts. A wide range of heterostructures, including metal/semiconductor, semiconductor/semiconductor, molecule/semiconductor and multi-heteronanostructures, have been explored for improved photocatalysts by increasing the light absorption, promoting the charge separation and transportation, enhancing the redox catalytic activity and prolonging the functional life-time. The present review gives a concise overview of heterogeneous photocatalysts with a focus on the relationship between the structural architecture and the photocatalytic activity and stability.