Janus 2D materials via asymmetric molecular functionalization
Janus two-dimensional materials (2DMs) are a novel class of 2DMs in which the two faces of the material are either asymmetrically functionalized or are exposed to a different local environment. The diversity of the properties imparted to the two opposing sides enables the design of new multifunctional materials for applications in a broad variety of fields including opto-electronics, energy storage, and catalysis. In this perspective, we summarize the most enlightening experimental methods for the asymmetric chemical functionalization of 2DMs with tailored made (macro)molecules by means of a supratopic binding (one side) or antaratopic binding (two sides) process. We describe the emergence of unique electrical and optical characteristics resulting from the asymmetric dressing of the two surfaces. Representative examples of Janus 2DMs towards bandgap engineering, enhanced photoresponse and photoluminescence are provided. In addition, examples of Janus 2DMs for real applications such as energy storage (batteries and supercapacitors) and generation (photovoltaics), opto-electronics (field-effect transistors and photodetectors), catalysis, drug delivery, self-healing materials, chemical sensors and selective capture and separation of small molecules are also described. Finally, we discuss the future directions, challenges, and opportunities to expand the frontiers of Janus 2DMs towards technologies with potential impact in environmental science and biomedical applications.