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Issue 13, 2018
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Swollen hexagonal liquid crystals as smart nanoreactors: implementation in materials chemistry for energy applications

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Abstract

Materials are the key roadblocks for the commercialization of energy conversion devices in fuel cells and solar cells. Significant research has focused on tuning the intrinsic properties of materials at the nanometer scale. The soft template mediated controlled fabrication of advanced nanostructured materials is attracting considerable interest due to the promising applications of these materials in catalysis and electrocatalysis. Swollen hexagonal lyotropic liquid crystals (SLCs) consist of oil-swollen surfactant-stabilized 1D, 2D or 3D nanometric assemblies regularly arranged in an aqueous solvent. Interestingly, the characteristic size of the SLCs can be controlled by adjusting the volume ratio of oil to water. The non-polar and/or polar compartments of the SLCs can be doped with guest molecules and used as nanoreactors for the synthesis of various metals (Pt, Pd, Au, etc.), conducting polymers and composite nanostructures with controlled size and shape. 1D, 2D and 3D mono- and bimetallic nanostructures of controlled composition and porosity can also be fabricated. These materials have demonstrated impressive enhancements of their electrochemical properties as compared to their bulk counterparts and have been identified as promising for further implementation in energy harvesting applications. In this review article, recent research materials are described regarding the development of functional materials with much improved performances for catalysis applications. This review addresses a brief overview of swollen hexagonal mesophases as nanoreactors, describes examples of nanostructured materials synthesized in these nanoreactors, shows several examples of the energy conversion applications in solar light harvesting, fuel cells etc. and also summarizes the associated reaction mechanisms developed in the recent literature for enhanced catalytic activity.

Graphical abstract: Swollen hexagonal liquid crystals as smart nanoreactors: implementation in materials chemistry for energy applications

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Nov 2017, accepted on 21 Feb 2018 and first published on 26 Feb 2018


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08457A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018,10, 5793-5819
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    Swollen hexagonal liquid crystals as smart nanoreactors: implementation in materials chemistry for energy applications

    S. Ghosh, L. Ramos and H. Remita, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 5793
    DOI: 10.1039/C7NR08457A

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