Emerging tellurium nanostructures: controllable synthesis and their applications
Tellurium (Te) is a rare element in trace amounts of about one part per billion, comparable to that of platinum and ranked 75th in the abundance of the elements in the earth crust. Te nanostructures, as narrow bandgap semiconductors, have numerous potential applications in the fabrication of many modern devices. The past decades have witnessed an explosion in new strategies for synthesizing diverse emerging Te nanostructures with controlled compositions, sizes, shapes, and structures. Their structure-determined nature makes functional Te nanomaterials an attractive candidate for modern applications. This review focuses on the synthesis and morphology control of emerging Te nanostructures and summarizes the latest developments in the applications of Te nanostructures, such as their use as chemical transformation templates to access a huge family of nanowires/nanotubes, batteries, photodetectors, ion detection and removal, element doping, piezoelectric energy harvesting, gas sensing, thermoelectric devices and many other device applications. Various Te nanostructures with different shapes and structures will exploit the beneficial properties associated with their assembly process and nanofabrication. Finally, the prospects for future applications of Te nanomaterials are summarized and highlighted.