Themed collection Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigators
Scientific writing and publishing for early-career researchers from the perspective of young chemists
This editorial provides suggestions on scientific writing from the perspective of early-career chemists to facilitate the writing process and provides relevant resources for early-career researchers in preparing their first manuscripts.
Contributors to the Emerging Investigators 2021 issue
Journal of Materials Chemistry A profiles contributors to the Emerging Investigators 2021 issue.
The role of polymers in lithium solid-state batteries with inorganic solid electrolytes
Polymers in the form of composite electrolytes, as binders and as protective coatings are used to modify interfaces and to facilitate the manufacture of lithium solid-state batteries with inorganic solid electrolytes.
Solid oxide proton conductors beyond perovskites
Solid oxide proton conductors have application in hydrogen-based energy technologies. This perspective presents an overview of the structural and mechanistic aspects of proton conduction in oxide systems outside conventional perovskite conductors.
Engineering plasmonic semiconductors for enhanced photocatalysis
This perspective provides an outlook on the advancing research regarding on strategies to engineer plasmonic semiconductors for enhanced photocatalysis.
Anti-perovskites for solid-state batteries: recent developments, current challenges and future prospects
For the first time, we highlight recent experimental and atomistic modelling insights into Li- and Na-rich anti-perovskite battery materials, with particular attention given to their synthesisability, structures, ion transport and interfaces.
Emerging elemental two-dimensional materials for energy applications
Elemental two-dimensional (2D) materials possess distinct properties and superior performances across a multitude of fundamental and practical research fields.
Materials and system design for direct electrochemical CO2 conversion in capture media
Integration of upstream CO2 capture and downstream electrochemical conversion by direct electrolysis of CO2 capture media offers a potential solution to energy- and cost-efficient utilisation of CO2.
Designing the electronic and geometric structures of single-atom and nanocluster catalysts
This perspective showcases the interplay between electronic and geometric structures with respect to the catalytic properties of single-atom and nanocluster catalysts.
Two-dimensional building blocks for photocatalytic ammonia production
This perspective summarizes the design and synthesis of two-dimensional building block based photocatalysts for light-induced NH3 production. The structure–performance relationship and mechanism of photocatalysts are highlighted.
Pyrolysis-free covalent organic framework-based materials for efficient oxygen electrocatalysis
This review highlights the recent impressive progress in engineering pyrolysis-free covalent organic framework (COF)-based materials for efficient oxygen electrocatalysis.
Design of pre-catalysts for heterogeneous CO2 electrochemical reduction
This work reviews the recent advances of pre-catalysts for CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) research. The important factors that may be responsible for the improvement of the CO2RR performance are categorized and a perspective is also presented.
Applications of MAX phases and MXenes as catalysts
This review highlights the recent progress in designing MAX phases and MXenes as materials for heterogeneous, non-electrocatalytic, catalytic applications.
The electronic structure of transition metal oxides for oxygen evolution reaction
In this review article, we summarise the key electronic features of transition metal oxides that govern their OER catalytic properties, and how such electronic descriptors are applied for OER electrocatalysts design.
Colloidal synthesis of Au nanomaterials with a controlled morphology and crystal phase via the [Au(I)-oleylamine] complex
A comprehensive overview of morphology- and crystal phase-controlled synthesis of Au nanomaterials via the [Au(I)-oleylamine] complex and their promising applications.
Advances in SnO2-based perovskite solar cells: from preparation to photovoltaic applications
This review initially describes the recent progress in SnO2 nanostructures, preparation methods and passivation options. Then, the challenges and limitations of SnO2 ETL-based PSCs were discussed and recommendations for further research were made.
Layered electrode materials for non-aqueous multivalent metal batteries
Multivalent metal batteries are promising large-scale energy storage technologies. This review summarizes the recent progress in the development of layered cathode materials for non-aqueous multivalent metal batteries.
Heteroatoms in graphdiyne for catalytic and energy-related applications
GDY possesses rich acetylenic bonds and unique pore structures, prompting GDY as an ideal candidate, tuning its electronic structure by introducing heteroatoms, broadening its usage in catalysis, energy storage and other fields.
Strategies of structural and defect engineering for high-performance rechargeable aqueous zinc-ion batteries
Recent progress regarding the structural and defect engineering of aqueous ZIBs is summarized. Furthermore, advanced techniques, the existing challenges and future perspectives on the structural and defect engineering of ZIBs are discussed.
The role of electrode wettability in electrochemical reduction of carbon dioxide
This review provides an in-depth analysis of essential role of electrode wettability in improving CO2 electrochemical reduction.
Recent progress on the synthesis and oxygen reduction applications of Fe-based single-atom and double-atom catalysts
Single-atom and double-atom catalysts have emerged as a new Frontier in many fields due to their high atom-utilization efficiency, excellent catalytic properties and good durability.
Biomimetic photocatalysts for the conversion of aqueous- and gas-phase nitrogen species to molecular nitrogen via denitrification and ammonia oxidation
This review summarizes the recent progress in the photocatalytic conversion of aqueous- and gas-phase nitrogen species to molecular nitrogen and highlights the factors affecting the conversion efficiency and selectivity for nitrogen.
Printed flexible thermoelectric materials and devices
Combined with printing technologies, thermoelectric materials receive considerable attention owing to their superiority in flexibility and mass production. this review focuses on printed flexible thermoelectric devices and its applications.
Hybrid artificial photosynthetic systems constructed using quantum dots and molecular catalysts for solar fuel production: development and advances
The strategy of the combination of molecular catalysts and inorganic quantum dots for solar fuel production has shown great success for the construction of artificial photosynthetic systems in the last decade.
Understanding the enhanced catalytic activity of high entropy alloys: from theory to experiment
This review highlights the impacts of four core effects (i.e. high entropy, cocktail effect, lattice distortion and sluggish diffusion) and the microstructures of HEAs on their catalytic properties.
Interfaces in metal halide perovskites probed by solid-state NMR spectroscopy
This review outlines the prospects for a range of solid-state NMR spectroscopy techniques to facilitate structural understanding of complex interfaces in metal halide perovskites and transport layers for optoelectronic applications.
Sulfurized polyacrylonitrile for high-performance lithium sulfur batteries: advances and prospects
A comprehensive review on the research advances and prospects of sulfurized polyacrylonitrile cathodes for high-performance lithium sulfur batteries is conducted to shed light on their implementation in commercial production in the future.
Gold-based nanoalloys: synthetic methods and catalytic applications
This review provides an overview of the recently reported gold-based nanoalloys, focusing on their general synthetic methods and potential catalytic applications.
Nonfullerene acceptors for P3HT-based organic solar cells
Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) is a promising donor for the large-scale organic solar cell fabrication in a cost-effective way. A series of nonfullerene acceptors compatible with P3HT are summarized in this review.
Recent advances in wearable self-powered energy systems based on flexible energy storage devices integrated with flexible solar cells
The recent advances in wearable self-powered energy systems based on flexible energy storage devices integrated with flexible solar cells for various applications are summarized.
All-inorganic perovskite quantum dots as light-harvesting, interfacial, and light-converting layers toward solar cells
All inorganic perovskite quantum dots as light-harvesting, interfacial, and light-converting layers toward efficient and stable solar cells are summarized.
The rise of flexible zinc-ion hybrid capacitors: advances, challenges, and outlooks
A comprehensive review summarizing the latest advance and critical challenges of the flexible zinc-ion hybrid capacitors, with outlooks towards potential future research directions.
Modulating the electronic structure of nanomaterials to enhance polysulfides confinement for advanced lithium–sulfur batteries
Modulating electronic structure of nanomaterials via surface engineering for suppressing polysulfide shuttling in lithium–sulfur batteries are comprehensively summarized and outlooks of them are given in this review.
Advances of the top-down synthesis approach for high-performance silicon anodes in Li-ion batteries
A comprehensive review of low-cost top-down approaches to enhance the electrochemical performance of silicon anodes, including future research directions.
Carbocatalytic ozonation toward advanced water purification
This review summarizes the recent advances in carbocatalyzed ozonation and the corresponding surface engineering protocols and mechanistic insights.
Recent advances in electrocatalytic chloride oxidation for chlorine gas production
This review provides a critical overview of chlorine evolution reaction (CER) including a fundamental understanding of reaction mechanisms, recent advances in developing CER catalysts, and future opportunities in this field.
Textile triboelectric nanogenerators for self-powered biomonitoring
Textile-based TENGs integrate wearable biomonitoring into commonly worn textiles, offering an inexpensive and convenient alternative with high breathability, wearing comfort, and scalability for personalized healthcare.
Redox-induced electricity for energy scavenging and self-powered sensors
Redox-based energy scavenging devices are based on utilizing oxidation and reduction reactions to generate electricity. The driving forces for these reactions come from many sustainable energy sources such as human fluids, waste heat, photon energy.
Organic electrode materials for non-aqueous, aqueous, and all-solid-state Na-ion batteries
In this review, recent advances in developing organic electrode materials for non-aqueous, aqueous, and all-solid-state Na-ion batteries are presented.
Single crystal MnOOH nanotubes for selective oxidative coupling of anilines to aromatic azo compounds
Catalytic synthesis of aromatic azo compounds by oxidative coupling of anilines using molecular oxygen represents a facile, green and valuable process; however, such an economical process suffers from poor catalytic activity and selectivity.
Platinum-free photoelectrochromic devices working with copper-based electrolytes for ultrastable smart windows
Designing smart windows with carbon and copper replacing platinum and iodine: stability, efficiency and sustainability at the same time.
Boosting electrochemical CO2 reduction to formate using SnO2/graphene oxide with amide linkages
Tuning the efficiency of CO2 conversion by surface modification of SnO2/graphene oxide.
Oriented growth of semiconducting TCNQ@Cu3(BTC)2 MOF on Cu(OH)2: crystallographic orientation and pattern formation toward semiconducting thin-film devices
Oriented film and pattern of TCNQ@Cu3(BTC)2(HKUST-1) fabricated via epitaxial growth exhibit anisotropic electrical properties toward MOF-based (flexible) thin-film smart device applications, such as transistors and thermoelectric thin films.
Dopants modulate crystal growth in molten salts enabled by surface energy tuning
Dopants traditionally used for modifying crystal lattices can also function as growth mediators in molten salt synthesis and enable a high energy-density, high power LiCoO2 cathode for lithium-ion batteries.
Supporting nickel on vanadium nitride for comparable hydrogen evolution performance to platinum in alkaline solution
The metal–support interaction between Ni and VN contributes to an outstanding performance for Ni/VN towards hydrogen evolution electrocatalysis following the Volmer–Tafel mechanism.
Formation mechanism of the solid electrolyte interphase in different ester electrolytes
The solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) plays a critical role in determining the performance of lithium metal batteries.
Sliding ferroelectricity in two-dimensional MoA2N4 (A = Si or Ge) bilayers: high polarizations and Moiré potentials
Strong sliding-ferroelectricity is predicted in high-mobility semiconducting MoSi2N4 bilayers, and a small angle twist will induce strong Moiré potential and unique band alignment for exciton trapping.
3D-Printed highly stretchable conducting polymer electrodes for flexible supercapacitors
A stretchable conducting polymer electrode has been prepared using extrusion 3D printing technology in combination with rational structural patterning, which shows promising mechanical and electrochemical performance.
Achieving selective photocatalytic CO2 reduction to CO on bismuth tantalum oxyhalogen nanoplates
Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to selectively produce CO was realized on the semiconductor Bi4TaO8X (X = Cl, Br) under visible light without sacrificial reagent. Morphology regulation and silver cocatalyst decoration could enhance the activity.
Importance of multimodal characterization and influence of residual Li2S impurity in amorphous Li3PS4 inorganic electrolytes
Multimodal techniques are required to characterize amorphous Li3PS4 (LPS).
Supramolecular polymer-assisted manipulation of triblock copolymers: understanding the relationships between microphase structures and mechanical properties
We demonstrate that supramolecular polymers could be utilized to modulate the mechanical properties of triblock copolymers by means of phase-separation engineering.
Localized electron density modulation in conjugated polymer nanosheets for boosting photocatalytic H2 evolution
The localized electron density modulation strategy endows an as-synthesized conjugated polymer with improved intrinsic surface catalytic activity with an AQY of 33.5% at 400 nm, which exceeds that of the state-of-the-art CMP materials. state-of-the-art CMP materials.
Na2.4Al0.4Mn2.6O7 anionic redox cathode material for sodium-ion batteries – a combined experimental and theoretical approach to elucidate its charge storage mechanism
Al substitution and subsequent Na excess in Na2Mn3O7 were achieved by a ceramic method, realizing the high-performance Na2.4Al0.4Mn2.6O7 oxygen-redox cathode for Na-ion batteries. A comparison between the two cathodes revealed the role of Al doping.
Hydrothermal polymerization of porous aromatic polyimide networks and machine learning-assisted computational morphology evolution interpretation
We report on the hydrothermal polymerization (HTP) of porous polyimide (PI) networks using the medium H2O and the comonomers 1,3,5-tris(4-aminophenyl)benzene (TAPB) and pyromellitic acid (PMA).
Rigid two-dimensional indium metal–organic frameworks boosting nitrogen electroreduction at all pH values
Rigid 2D In-MOF nanosheets is investigated as electrocatalysts for nitrogen electroreduction in the entire pH range for the first time, which follows an enzymatic mechanism, with the potential determining step being *H2NNH2* → *NH2 + NH3.
Redox-copolymers for the recovery of rare earth elements by electrochemically regenerated ion-exchange
A unique copolymer combines ion-exchange groups and redox-active ferrocene groups to enable effective adsorption of rare earth element ions and fully electrochemically-controlled regeneration, without the use of hazardous chemicals.
Electrodeposition of ligand-free copper nanoparticles from aqueous nanodroplets
Copper nanoparticles have emerged as promising electrocatalysts for energy storage and conversion.
Charged droplet-driven fast formation of nickel–iron (oxy)hydroxides with rich oxygen defects for boosting overall water splitting
Charged droplets formed by electrospray can be used to accelerate the synthesis of NiFeOOH electrocatalysts with abundant oxygen vacancies, which show good catalytic activity for the HER, OER, and overall water splitting with long-term durability.
Electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution using hybrid electrodes based on single-walled carbon nanohorns and cobalt(II) polypyridine complexes
An unprecedented combination of porous SWCNHs with tetradentate polypyridine cobalt(II) complexes bearing pyrene groups has been realized to produce a hybrid cathode active for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in water at neutral pH.
Energy storage mechanisms in vacancy-ordered Wadsley–Roth layered niobates
Layered niobates with vacancy-ordered Wadsley–Roth structures were investigated as Li-ion battery anodes. Using operando and ex situ methods and DFT, we identify an intercalation mechanism dominated by Li-diffusion kinetics and layer evolution.
In situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroelectrochemistry reveals the molecular conformation of electrolyte additives in Li-ion batteries
In situ surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy reveals that the adsorption orientation of rhodamine B on the surface of graphite is modulated by the applied potential, drastically altering the cycle performance and rate capability of Li/graphite cells.
Effects of side reactions on the kinetics of nanoporous gold formation revealed by real-time X-ray scattering during electrolytic dealloying
Simultaneous SAXS/WAXS studies elucidate passive surface film growth during formation of nanoporous gold by electrolytic dealloying in HClO4, but not in HNO3. This passive surface film hampers dealloying kinetics and slows ligament growth/coarsening.
Chitin–amyloid synergism and their use as sustainable structural adhesives
Chitin, lysozyme, and lysozyme amyloids are evaluated as single-component and composite structural adhesives. A high shear strength is observed for chitin and lysozyme, which can be further improved by at least 25% upon compositing.
Photocatalytic polymers of intrinsic microporosity for hydrogen production from water
Conjugated polymers of intrinsic microporosity show excellent performance as photocatalysts for sacrificial hydrogen production from water as they combine extended conjugation with high surface areas.
Ultrathin 2D/2D Ti3C2Tx/semiconductor dual-functional photocatalysts for simultaneous imine production and H2 evolution
Ultrathin 2D/2D Ti3C2Tx/semiconductor (CdS and Bi2MoO6) dual-functional photocatalysts have been constructed for the oxidative coupling of benzylamines to imines combined with H2 generation under visible light irradiation (λ ≥420 nm).
Chemical insights into electrophilic fluorination of SnO2 for photoelectrochemical applications
A novel method for fluorination of SnO2 is developed that passivates oxygen defects and increases its electrical conductivity drastically, leading to enhanced charge transport in photoelectrochemical applications.
Solar-assisted co-electrolysis of glycerol and water for concurrent production of formic acid and hydrogen
A N-CoOx-catalyzed glycerol oxidation with a low energy supply (1.31 V) and high conversion of glycerol to formic acid (96.2% FE) was employed to repace OER and couple with solar-driven HER for co-production of formic acid and hydrogen.
Carbonate formation lowers the electrocatalytic activity of perovskite oxides for water electrolysis
Electrocatalytic activity depends on surface properties and therefore changes on air-exposure. We show that clean LaNiO3 OER catalysts are more active than their air-exposed counterparts where surface carbonate groups block the nickel active sites.
Photo-assisted high performance single atom electrocatalysis of the N2 reduction reaction by a Mo-embedded covalent organic framework
Through theoretical calculations, we report the remarkably high catalytic activity and excellent selectivity of Mo-doped Pc-TFPN COF for the N2 fixation and reduction reaction under ambient conditions.
Photothermal effect enables markedly enhanced oxygen reduction and evolution activities for high-performance Zn–air batteries
A simple yet robust strategy was reported to markedly boost the performance of ZABs via capitalizing on the photothermal effect.
About this collection
Journal of Materials Chemistry A is proud to present this themed issue highlighting 2021’s rising stars of materials chemistry research. This issue gathers the very best work from materials chemists in the early stages of their independent career.
Each contributor was recommended by experts in their fields as carrying out work with the potential to influence future directions in materials chemistry with applications in energy and sustainability. We would like to congratulate all the excellent researchers featured.