Themed collection New horizons in materials for energy conversion, optics and electronics

50 items
Editorial

Introduction to new horizons in materials for energy conversion, optics and electronics

Jinlan Wang, Yuanjian Zhang, Seeram Ramakrishna and Guihua Yu introduce the cross-journal themed collection on new horizons in materials for energy conversion, optics and electronics, in celebration of the 120th anniversary of Southeast University, China.

Graphical abstract: Introduction to new horizons in materials for energy conversion, optics and electronics
Minireview

Flexible two-dimensional MXene-based antennas

This minireview summarizes the recent cutting-edge works of 2D MXene-based flexible antennas, discusses the existing bottlenecks, and provides some guidelines for the future development of this promising field.

Graphical abstract: Flexible two-dimensional MXene-based antennas
From the themed collection: Nanoscale and Nanoscale Horizons: Nanodevices
Minireview

Metallene-related materials for electrocatalysis and energy conversion

As a member of graphene analogs, metallenes are a class of two-dimensional materials with atomic thickness and well-controlled surface atomic arrangement made of metals or alloys.

Graphical abstract: Metallene-related materials for electrocatalysis and energy conversion
From the themed collection: Recent Review Articles
Minireview

In situ characterisation for nanoscale structure–performance studies in electrocatalysis

We focus on the new horizons in operando/in situ characterisation techniques in electrocatalysis, providing a critical analysis of how advanced in situ techniques help us to deepen our understanding of reaction mechanisms and material evolution.

Graphical abstract: In situ characterisation for nanoscale structure–performance studies in electrocatalysis
Minireview

Surface acoustic wave induced phenomena in two-dimensional materials

Surface acoustic wave (SAW)–matter interaction provides a fascinating key for inducing and manipulating novel phenomena and functionalities in two-dimensional (2D) materials.

Graphical abstract: Surface acoustic wave induced phenomena in two-dimensional materials
Minireview

A nanoelectrode-based study of water splitting electrocatalysts

This review covers the recent nanoelectrode-based electrochemical studies on 0-dimensional and 2-dimensional catalytic nanomaterials for water splitting electrocatalysis.

Graphical abstract: A nanoelectrode-based study of water splitting electrocatalysts
Review Article

Liquid-precursor-intermediated synthesis of atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides

LPI-CVD growth not only avoids the use of solid powders, but also enables the uniform distribution of precursors on the substrate, which are favorable for the monolayer synthesis, substitution doping and corresponding heterostructures of 2D TMDs.

Graphical abstract: Liquid-precursor-intermediated synthesis of atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides
From the themed collection: Recent Review Articles
Review Article

Copper-based catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide: progress and future prospects

This review introduces fundamental aspects of the electrocatalytic CO2RR process together with a systematic examination of recent developments in Cu-based electrocatalysts for the electroreduction of CO2 to various high-value multicarbon products.

Graphical abstract: Copper-based catalysts for the electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide: progress and future prospects
From the themed collection: Recent Review Articles
Open Access Review Article

Microbial electrosynthesis: carbonaceous electrode materials for CO2 conversion

Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) is a sustainable approach to producing fuels and value-added chemicals from anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2).

Graphical abstract: Microbial electrosynthesis: carbonaceous electrode materials for CO2 conversion
From the themed collection: Recent Review Articles
Open Access Communication

Life cycle of single atom catalysts: a Mössbauer study on degradation and reactivation of tetrapyrrolic Fe–N–C powders

Degradation of single-site model Fe–N–C powder tracked using cryo-Mössbauer spectroscopy suggests a simple mechanism comprising the oxidation of Fe(II) to Fe(III) followed by precipitation of iron oxide. Curiously, the characteristic doublet D2 is converted into D1 upon exposure to air.

Graphical abstract: Life cycle of single atom catalysts: a Mössbauer study on degradation and reactivation of tetrapyrrolic Fe–N–C powders
Communication

Alkyl-C60 liquid electrets as deformable mechanoelectric generators

C60 moiety is shielded and liquefied by bulky yet flexible branched alkyl chains as excellent charge-holding liquid electrets enabling us to create mechanoelectric generators with ultimate deformability such as folding, twisting, and rolling.

Graphical abstract: Alkyl-C60 liquid electrets as deformable mechanoelectric generators
Communication

The effects of intercalated environmental gas molecules on carrier dynamics in WSe2/WS2 heterostructures

Effective tuning of carrier dynamics in two-dimensional (2D) materials is significant for multi-scene device applications.

Graphical abstract: The effects of intercalated environmental gas molecules on carrier dynamics in WSe2/WS2 heterostructures
From the themed collection: Materials Horizons HOT Papers
Communication

Selective spectral absorption of nanofibers for color-preserving daytime radiative cooling

The color-preserving daytime radiative cooling can be achieved by selective spectral absorption of nanofibers.

Graphical abstract: Selective spectral absorption of nanofibers for color-preserving daytime radiative cooling
Communication

Single-atom alloy Ir/Ni catalyst boosts CO2 methanation via mechanochemistry

A new catalytic approach is pioneered to achieve CO2 methanation via a single atom alloy Ir/Ni catalyst using a ball-milling method.

Graphical abstract: Single-atom alloy Ir/Ni catalyst boosts CO2 methanation via mechanochemistry
From the themed collection: 2024 Lunar New Year Collection
Communication

Large-area 2D bismuth antimonide with enhanced thermoelectric properties via multiscale electron–phonon decoupling

Multiscale defect engineering has been designed to decouple the electron–phonon transport in 2D bismuth antimony, simultaneously achieving high electrical and low thermal conductivity with 420% enhancement of the ZT value.

Graphical abstract: Large-area 2D bismuth antimonide with enhanced thermoelectric properties via multiscale electron–phonon decoupling
Open Access Communication

Optimizing through-space interaction for singlet fission by using macrocyclic structures

A novel design idea of optimizing through-space interaction for intramolecular singlet fission is proposed by using macrocyclic structures.

Graphical abstract: Optimizing through-space interaction for singlet fission by using macrocyclic structures
From the themed collection: #MyFirstJMCC
Communication

A novel two-dimensional superconducting Ti layer: density functional theory and electron-beam irradiation

A novel Ti 2D monolayer is successfully fabricated with a metallic bonding. The electronic topological transition is observed accompanied by the variance of the Fermi surface. A medium electron–phonon coupling is presented with a superconducting temperature of 3.8 K.

Graphical abstract: A novel two-dimensional superconducting Ti layer: density functional theory and electron-beam irradiation
Communication

Eco-friendly inorganic molecular novel antiperovskites for light-emitting application

The novel antiperovskites exhibit a low dimensional electronic structure, making them a potential luminous material. Herein, our study explored the new and ecofriendly antiperovskites to identify six promising luminous candidates.

Graphical abstract: Eco-friendly inorganic molecular novel antiperovskites for light-emitting application
From the themed collection: Materials Horizons HOT Papers
Communication

Flexible plasmonic nanocavities: a universal platform for the identification of molecular orientations

Plasmonic nanocavities enable the manipulation of field polarization, thereby to selectively enhance the Raman modes of specific target molecules.

Graphical abstract: Flexible plasmonic nanocavities: a universal platform for the identification of molecular orientations
Communication

A universal synthesis of ultrathin Pd-based nanorings for efficient ethanol electrooxidation

Metallic nanorings (NRs) with an open hollow structure are of particular interest in energy-related catalysis due to their unique features, which include the high utilization of active sites and facile accessibility for reactants.

Graphical abstract: A universal synthesis of ultrathin Pd-based nanorings for efficient ethanol electrooxidation
Communication

Oligoaniline-assisted self-assembly of polyaniline crystals

The presence of a small amount of oligomer can induce ordering and crystallization of the parent conducting polymer, resulting in highly conductive, compositionally homogeneous crystals with defined molecular weights.

Graphical abstract: Oligoaniline-assisted self-assembly of polyaniline crystals
Communication

Developing extended visible light responsive polymeric carbon nitrides for photocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic applications

Polymeric carbon nitride (CN) has emerged as an attractive material for photocatalysis and photoelectronic devices.

Graphical abstract: Developing extended visible light responsive polymeric carbon nitrides for photocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic applications
Communication

An interlayer spacing design approach for efficient sodium ion storage in N-doped MoS2

MoS2 in a graphene-like structure that possesses a large interlayer spacing is a promising anode material for sodium ions batteries (SIBs).

Graphical abstract: An interlayer spacing design approach for efficient sodium ion storage in N-doped MoS2
From the themed collection: 2024 Lunar New Year Collection
Communication

Discovering layered lead-free perovskite solar absorbers via cation transmutation

Dion–Jacobson double perovskites BDA2MIMIIIX8 are explored for stable and high-efficiency lead-free solar cell absorbers.

Graphical abstract: Discovering layered lead-free perovskite solar absorbers via cation transmutation
Communication

Highly anisotropic and ultra-diffusive vacancies in α-antimonene

α-Antimonene has recently been successfully fabricated in experiment; hence, it is timely to examine how various types of point defects in α-antimonene can affect its novel electronic properties.

Graphical abstract: Highly anisotropic and ultra-diffusive vacancies in α-antimonene
Communication

Lattice disorder influences the photocarrier dynamics in lead halide perovskites

Photoinduced carriers recombine almost twice slower and diffuse 20% faster in the disordered, β-phased samples than in the ordered, γ-phased ones.

Graphical abstract: Lattice disorder influences the photocarrier dynamics in lead halide perovskites
Communication

Giant electrocaloric effect in a molecular ceramic

The electrocaloric effect (ECE) is an efficient and environmentally friendly method for solid-state refrigeration driven by an electric field.

Graphical abstract: Giant electrocaloric effect in a molecular ceramic
Communication

A self-healing polymerized-ionic-liquid-based polymer electrolyte enables a long lifespan and dendrite-free solid-state Li metal batteries at room temperature

We introduce a self-healing polymerized-ionic-liquid-based polymer electrolyte for solid-state Li metal batteries, which can spontaneously reconstruct dendrite-induced defects at the Li/electrolyte interface, and, in turn, tailor Li deposition.

Graphical abstract: A self-healing polymerized-ionic-liquid-based polymer electrolyte enables a long lifespan and dendrite-free solid-state Li metal batteries at room temperature
Communication

A simple descriptor for the nitrogen reduction reaction over single atom catalysts

The performance of supported catalysts is largely decided by metal–support interactions, which is of great significance for the rational design of catalysts.

Graphical abstract: A simple descriptor for the nitrogen reduction reaction over single atom catalysts
Open Access Communication

Large-area silicon photonic crystal supporting bound states in the continuum and optical sensing formed by nanoimprint lithography

The quasi-BIC modes are formed in silicon photonic crystal slabs by controlling both the lateral and vertical etched geometries. A high Q factor of 136, sensitivity of 1703 nm per RIU and figure-of-merit of 65.5 are observed in the optical sensor experiments.

Graphical abstract: Large-area silicon photonic crystal supporting bound states in the continuum and optical sensing formed by nanoimprint lithography
Communication

High temperature phases of borophene: borophene glass and liquid

Large hole surrounded by a stable double-boron chain in liquid borophene.

Graphical abstract: High temperature phases of borophene: borophene glass and liquid
Communication

Surface oxidation protection strategy of CoS2 by V2O5 for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction

V2O5 nanoclusters can inhibit CoS2 from serious surface oxidation in air, and the lower surface oxidation degree, the better HER performance.

Graphical abstract: Surface oxidation protection strategy of CoS2 by V2O5 for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction
Communication

Lithium storage performance and mechanism of nano-sized Ti2InC MAX phase

Nano-sized Ti2InC prepared by ball milling combines the benefits of insertion-type and alloy-type electrodes and thus has a favorable capacity and long cycling life, suggesting that downsized MAX phases would be a promising anode.

Graphical abstract: Lithium storage performance and mechanism of nano-sized Ti2InC MAX phase
From the themed collection: Nanoscale Horizons HOT Papers
Communication

Thermodynamic mechanism of controllable growth of two-dimensional uniformly ordered boron-doped graphene

The thermodynamic mechanisms as well as the optimal experimental parameters of controllable growth of 2D uniformly ordered boron-doped graphene have been proposed by establishing the substrate-mediated phase diagrams.

Graphical abstract: Thermodynamic mechanism of controllable growth of two-dimensional uniformly ordered boron-doped graphene
Communication

Volcano relationships and a new activity descriptor of 2D transition metal–Fe layered double hydroxides for efficient oxygen evolution reaction

In two-dimensional (2D) Fe-doped MFe-LDHs, volcano-shaped relationships between the catalytic activity descriptors and the Fe contents are identified, and a new activity descriptor, the intermediate adsorption capacitance (CPEad), is proposed.

Graphical abstract: Volcano relationships and a new activity descriptor of 2D transition metal–Fe layered double hydroxides for efficient oxygen evolution reaction
Communication

Theoretical exploration of the nitrogen fixation mechanism of two-dimensional dual-metal TM1TM2@C9N4 electrocatalysts

Four TM1TM2@C9N4 candidates (TM1TM2 = NiRu, FeNi, TiNi, and NiZr) with end-on N2 adsorption configuration, and two candidates (TM1TM2 = TiNi and TiFe) with side-on adsorption configuration, were screened out as high efficiency NRR catalysts.

Graphical abstract: Theoretical exploration of the nitrogen fixation mechanism of two-dimensional dual-metal TM1TM2@C9N4 electrocatalysts
Communication

Giant thermal switching in ferromagnetic VSe2 with programmable switching temperature

Active and reversible modulation in thermal conductivity can realize efficient heat energy management in many applications such as thermoelectrics.

Graphical abstract: Giant thermal switching in ferromagnetic VSe2 with programmable switching temperature
Communication

High-specificity molecular sensing on an individual whispering-gallery-mode cavity: coupling-enhanced Raman scattering by photoinduced charge transfer and cavity effects

This work proposes an ultrasensitive and high-specificity whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) sensing method, which combines the light-matter interaction enhancement on a WGM cavity and the “fingerprint spectrum” of surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

Graphical abstract: High-specificity molecular sensing on an individual whispering-gallery-mode cavity: coupling-enhanced Raman scattering by photoinduced charge transfer and cavity effects
Communication

New horizons of MBenes: highly active catalysts for the CO oxidation reaction

O-functionalized orthogonal and hexagonal MBenes exhibit extremely high carbon monoxide oxidation reaction (COOR) catalytic activity and high thermal stability under 1000 K.

Graphical abstract: New horizons of MBenes: highly active catalysts for the CO oxidation reaction
Communication

Flexible-in-rigid polycrystalline titanium nanofibers: a toughening strategy from a macro-scale to a molecular-scale

Electrospun TiO2 nanofibers could be reinforced from a macro-scale to a molecular-scale, by promoting length–diameter ratio, suppressing crystal sintering, repairing surface grooves, constructing lubrication zones, and toughening chemical bonds.

Graphical abstract: Flexible-in-rigid polycrystalline titanium nanofibers: a toughening strategy from a macro-scale to a molecular-scale
Communication

Cu and Si co-doping on TiO2 nanosheets to modulate reactive oxygen species for efficient photocatalytic methane conversion

The Cu and Si co-doping could rationally regulate the electronic structure of TiO2 nanosheets and maneuver the reactive oxygen species for methane activation, which achieves significant photocatalytic methane conversion into ethane.

Graphical abstract: Cu and Si co-doping on TiO2 nanosheets to modulate reactive oxygen species for efficient photocatalytic methane conversion
From the themed collection: 2024 Lunar New Year Collection
Communication

Highly efficient electrocatalytic biomass valorization over a perovskite-derived nickel phosphide catalyst

A perovskite-derived nickel phosphide catalyst exhibits excellent electrocatalytic oxidation performance for biomass valorization to replace the competitive oxygen evolution reaction.

Graphical abstract: Highly efficient electrocatalytic biomass valorization over a perovskite-derived nickel phosphide catalyst
Communication

In situ crafting of a 3D N-doped carbon/defect-rich V2O5−x·nH2O nanosheet composite for high performance fibrous flexible Zn-ion batteries

In situ anodic oxidation strategy is demonstrated to fabricate flexible long-life and high-capacity aqueous zinc-ion batteries adopting a 3D N-doped/defect-rich V2O5−x·nH2O nanosheets as fibrous cathodes and Zn nanosheets arrays as the anode.

Graphical abstract: In situ crafting of a 3D N-doped carbon/defect-rich V2O5−x·nH2O nanosheet composite for high performance fibrous flexible Zn-ion batteries
Communication

Achieving circularly polarized luminescence and large piezoelectric response in hybrid rare-earth double perovskite by a chirality induction strategy

A pair of 3D hybrid rare-earth double perovskites with large piezoelectric responses and CPL was constructed by introducing chirality. This study provides a strategy to prepare high-performance molecule-based piezoelectric and CPL materials.

Graphical abstract: Achieving circularly polarized luminescence and large piezoelectric response in hybrid rare-earth double perovskite by a chirality induction strategy
Paper

N and S co-doped nanosheet-like porous carbon derived from sorghum biomass: mechanical nanoarchitecturing for upgraded potassium ion batteries

Nanosheet-like sorghum biomass obtained by mild alkaline treatment and high-energy ball milling is heteroatom-doped with N and S during pyrolysis. The resulting N, S co-doped carbon shows a significantly improved K-ion storage as an anode material in potassium ion batteries.

Graphical abstract: N and S co-doped nanosheet-like porous carbon derived from sorghum biomass: mechanical nanoarchitecturing for upgraded potassium ion batteries
Paper

Carbon nanowires made by the insertion-and-fusion method toward carbon–hydrogen nanoelectronics

Carbon nanowires can be made via the insertion-and-fusion of short carbon chains inside carbon nanotubes, and carry H adatoms that can tune the electronic and magnetic properties of carbon chains upon the varied H positions in C–H nanoelectronics.

Graphical abstract: Carbon nanowires made by the insertion-and-fusion method toward carbon–hydrogen nanoelectronics
Paper

Nitrogen- and sulfur-doped graphene quantum dots for chemiluminescence

Chemiluminescence (CL) of NS-GQDs in the presence of CPPO and H2O2 was discovered to be a concerted process of intrinsic structure, AIE and surface state emissions by means of spooling CL spectroscopy and absolute CL efficiency measurements.

Graphical abstract: Nitrogen- and sulfur-doped graphene quantum dots for chemiluminescence
Paper

Atmospheric humidity-triggered reversible spin-state switching

By confinement into a hygroscopic sponge, reversible spin-state switching and color variation has been triggered by naturally occurring humidity capture/release cycles, providing a prototype for molecular switches mediated by natural energy.

Graphical abstract: Atmospheric humidity-triggered reversible spin-state switching
Paper

A study on the role of plasmonic Ti3C2Tx MXene in enhancing photoredox catalysis

This work unravels that the plasmon-induced electric field enhancement of Ti3C2Tx cooperates with the electron-reservoir role to extract photoinduced electrons, affording multichannel electron transfer towards improved photocatalytic efficiency.

Graphical abstract: A study on the role of plasmonic Ti3C2Tx MXene in enhancing photoredox catalysis
From the themed collection: Nanoscale 2023 Emerging Investigators
Paper

Bismuth–nickel bimetal nanosheets with a porous structure for efficient hydrogen production in neutral and alkaline media

A Bi–Ni bimetal nanosheet with mesoporous structure is prepared via a self-template electrochemical in situ method. The alloying effect between Bi and Ni regulated the electronic structure, thus improving the intrinsic activity of Bi–Ni catalyst.

Graphical abstract: Bismuth–nickel bimetal nanosheets with a porous structure for efficient hydrogen production in neutral and alkaline media
50 items

About this collection

Guest Edited by Professor Jinlan Wang (Southeast University, China), Professor Yuanjian Zhang (Southeast University, China), Professor Seeram Ramakrishna (National University of Singapore, Singapore) and Professor Guihua Yu (The University of Texas at Austin, USA).

In conjunction with the Emerging Investigator Forum celebrating the 120th anniversary of Southeast University, we are delighted to present a collection of articles published in Materials Horizons  and Nanoscale Horizons focusing on new horizons in materials for energy conversion, optics and electronics.

Energy materials, particularly those with nanoscale features, present unique physicochemical properties that make them perfect to be explored in diverse manners, paving the way towards renewable energy systems via continuous breakthroughs. Meanwhile, theoretical calculations, such as machine learning methods, have been widely applied to solve complex problems. This collection focuses on energy conversion, optics, and electronics applications of (nano)materials and provides an overview of the most frequently used experimental approaches and theoretical methods for energy conversion and storage, intending to connect different communities and identify common challenges in the field.

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