Organic solar cells (OSCs) have been dominated by donor: acceptor blends based on fullerene acceptors for over two decades. This situation has changed recently, with non-fullerene (NF) OSCs developing very quickly. The power conversion efficiencies of NF OSCs have now reached a value of over 13%, which is higher than the best fullerene-based OSCs. NF acceptors show great tunability in absorption spectra and electron energy levels, providing a wide range of new opportunities. The coexistence of low voltage losses and high current generation indicates that new regimes of device physics and photophysics are reached in these systems. This Review highlights these opportunities made possible by NF acceptors, and also discuss the challenges facing the development of NF OSCs for practical applications.
Civilization continues to be transformed by our ability to harness energy beyond human and animal power. A series of industrial and agricultural revolutions have allowed an increasing fraction of the world population to heat and light their homes, fertilize and irrigate their crops, connect to one another and travel around the world. All of this progress is fuelled by our ability to find, extract and use energy with ever increasing dexterity. Research in materials science is contributing to progress towards a sustainable future based on clean energy generation, transmission and distribution, the storage of electrical and chemical energy, energy efficiency, and better energy management systems.
Garnet-type solid-state electrolytes have attracted extensive attention due to their high ionic conductivity, approaching 1mS cm(-1), excellent environmental stability, and wide electrochemical stability window, from lithium metal to similar to 6V. However, to date, there has been little success in the development of high-performance solid-state batteries using these exceptional materials, the major challenge being the high solid-solid interfacial impedance between the garnet electrolyte and electrode materials. In this work, we effectively address the large interfacial impedance between a lithium metal anode and the garnet electrolyte using ultrathin aluminium oxide (Al2O3) by atomic layer deposition. Li7La2.75Ca0.25Zr1.75Nb0.25O12 (LLCZN) is the garnet composition of choice in this work due to its reduced sintering temperature and increased lithium ion conductivity. A significant decrease of interfacial impedance, from 1,710 Omega cm(2) to 1 Omega cm(2), was observed at room temperature, effectively negating the lithium metal/garnet interfacial impedance. Experimental and computational results reveal that the oxide coating enables wetting of metallic lithium in contact with the garnet electrolyte surface and the lithiated-alumina interface allows effective lithium ion transport between the lithium metal anode and garnet electrolyte. We also demonstrate a working cell with a lithium metal anode, garnet electrolyte and a high-voltage cathode by applying the newly developed interface chemistry.
Owing to their high power density and superior cyclability relative to batteries, electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) have emerged as an important electrical energy storage technology that will play a critical role in the large-scale deployment of intermittent renewable energy sources, smart power grids, and electrical vehicles'. Because the capacitance and charge-discharge rates of EDLCs scale with surface area and electrical conductivity, respectively, porous carbons such as activated carbon, carbon nanotubes and crosslinked or holey graphenes are used exclusively as the active electrode materials in EDLCs4-9. One class of materials whose surface area far exceeds that of activated carbons, potentially allowing them to challenge the dominance of carbon electrodes in EDLCs, is metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)(10). The high porosity of MOFs, however, is conventionally coupled to very poor electrical conductivity, which has thus far prevented the use of these materials as active electrodes in EDLCs. Here, we show that Ni-3(2,3,6,7,10,11-hexaiminotriphenylene)(2) (Ni-3(HITP)(2)), a MOF with high electrical conductivity(11), can serve as the sole electrode material in an EDLC. This is the first example of a supercapacitor made entirely from neat MOFs as active materials, without conductive additives or other binders. The MOF-based device shows an areal capacitance that exceeds those of most carbon-based materials and capacity retention greater than 90% over 10,000 cycles, in line with commercial devices. Given the established structural and compositional tunability of MOFs, these results herald the advent of a new generation of supercapacitors whose active electrode materials can be tuned rationally, at the molecular level.
The short charging times and high power capabilities associated with capacitive energy storage make this approach an attractive alternative to batteries. One limitation of electrochemical capacitors is their low energy density and for this reason, there is widespread interest in pseudocapacitive materials that use Faradaic reactions to store charge. One candidate pseudocapacitive material is orthorhombic MoO3 (alpha-MoO3), a layered compound with a high theoretical capacity for lithium (279 mA h g(-1) or 1,005 C g(-1)). Here, we report on the properties of reduced alpha-MoO3-x(R-MoO3-x) and compare it with fully oxidized alpha-MoO3 (F-MoO3). The introduction of oxygen vacancies leads to a larger interlayer spacing that promotes faster charge storage kinetics and enables the alpha-MoO3 structure to be retained during the insertion and removal of Li ions. The higher specific capacity of the R-MoO3-x is attributed to the reversible formation of a significant amount of Mo4+ following lithiation. This study underscores the potential importance of incorporating oxygen vacancies into transition metal oxides as a strategy for increasing the charge storage kinetics of redox-active materials.
Organolead trihalide perovskite materials have been successfully used as light absorbers in efficient photovoltaic cells. Two different cell structures, based on mesoscopic metal oxides and planar heterojunctions have already demonstrated very impressive advances in performance. Here, we report a bilayer architecture comprising the key features of mesoscopic and planar structures obtained by a fully solution-based process. We used CH3NH3 Pb(I1-xBrx)(3) (x = 0.1-0.15) as the absorbing layer and poly(triarylamine) as a hole-transporting material. The use of a mixed solvent of gamma-butyrolactone and dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) followed by toluene drop-casting leads to extremely uniform and dense perovskite layers via a CH3NH3I-PbI2-DMSO intermediate phase, and enables the fabrication of remarkably improved solar cells with a certified power-conversion efficiency of 16.2% and no hysteresis. These results provide important progress towards the understanding of the role of solution-processing in the realization of low-cost and highly efficient perovskite solar cells.
The remarkable performance of lead halide perovskites in solar cells can be attributed to the long carrier lifetimes and low non-radiative recombination rates, the same physical properties that are ideal for semiconductor lasers. Here, we show room-temperature and wavelength-tunable lasing from single-crystal lead halide perovskite nanowires with very low lasing thresholds (220 nJ cm(-2)) and high quality factors (Q similar to 3,600). The lasing threshold corresponds to a charge carrier density as low as 1.5 x 1016 cm(-3). Kinetic analysis based on time-resolved fluorescence reveals little charge carrier trapping in these single-crystal nanowires and gives estimated lasing quantum yields approaching 100%. Such lasing performance, coupled with the facile solution growth of single-crystal nanowires and the broad stoichiometry-dependent tunability of emission colour, makes lead halide perovskites ideal materials for the development of nanophotonics, in parallel with the rapid development in photovoltaics from the same materials.
As a promising non-precious catalyst for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER; refs 1-5), molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) is known to contain active edge sites and an inert basal plane(1,6-8). Activating the MoS2 basal plane could further enhance its HER activity but is not often a strategy for doing so. Herein, we report the first activation and optimization of the basal plane of monolayer 2H-MoS2 for HER by introducing sulphur (S) vacancies and strain. Our theoretical and experimental results show that the S-vacancies are new catalytic sites in the basal plane, where gap states around the Fermi level allow hydrogen to bind directly to exposed Mo atoms. The hydrogen adsorption free energy (Delta G(H)) can be further manipulated by straining the surface with S-vacancies, which fine-tunes the catalytic activity. Proper combinations of S-vacancy and strain yield the optimal Delta G(H) = 0 eV, which allows us to achieve the highest intrinsic HER activity among molybdenum-sulphide-based catalysts.
Shape-morphing systems can be found in many areas, including smart textiles(1), autonomous robotics(2), biomedical devices(3), drug delivery(4) and tissue engineering(5). The natural analogues of such systems are exemplified by nastic plant motions, where a variety of organs such as tendrils, bracts, leaves and flowers respond to environmental stimuli (such as humidity, light or touch) by varying internal turgor, which leads to dynamic conformations governed by the tissue composition and microstructural anisotropy of cell walls(6-10). Inspired by these botanical systems, we printed composite hydrogel architectures that are encoded with localized, anisotropic swelling behaviour controlled by the alignment of cellulose fibrils along prescribed four-dimensional printing pathways. When combined with a minimal theoretical framework that allows us to solve the inverse problem of designing the alignment patterns for prescribed target shapes, we can programmably fabricate plant-inspired architectures that change shape on immersion in water, yielding complex three-dimensional morphologies.