Themed collection Journal of Materials Chemistry A Emerging Investigators
Contributors to the Emerging Investigators 2020 issue
Journal of Materials Chemistry A profiles contributors to the Emerging Investigators issue.
Direct ink writing advances in multi-material structures for a sustainable future
Direct Ink Writing (DIW) potential in developing multi-material structures.
Catalyst design concept based on a variety of alloy materials: a personal account and relevant studies
An overview of a variety of advanced alloy materials for catalytic use is provided.
Aggregation of non-fullerene acceptors in organic solar cells
Various types of molecular stacking can form in NFAs, which influence light absorption and efficiency of organic solar cells.
Micro/nanostructured TiNb2O7-related electrode materials for high-performance electrochemical energy storage: recent advances and future prospects
This Review summarized the latest progress in structural engineering, material fabrication and enhancement of the electrochemical performances of micro/nanostructured TiNb2O7 and its analogues for high-performance energy storage systems.
Single-atom electron microscopy for energy-related nanomaterials
The advances in aberration correction have enabled atomic-resolution imaging and spectroscopy in scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) under low primary voltages and pushed their detection limit down to the single-atom level.
Opportunities for intermediate temperature renewable ammonia electrosynthesis
Intermediate temperature electrosynthesis may allow for large-scale renewable ammonia production.
A review on electrocatalytic oxidation of methane to oxygenates
Methane, the main component in natural gas, is widely utilized for energy consumption and production of important chemicals.
Emerging organic potassium-ion batteries: electrodes and electrolytes
The progress and challenges of the electrodes and electrolytes in organic potassium-ion batteries are summarized.
The rise of aqueous rechargeable batteries with organic electrode materials
This review provides timely access to state-of-the-art advances of organic electrode materials in aqueous rechargeable batteries.
Nanostructured semiconductor supported iron catalysts for heterogeneous photo-Fenton oxidation: a review
This review summarizes the typical progress in nanostructured semiconductor supported iron catalysts and their applications in heterogeneous photo-Fenton oxidation.
Electrochemical CO2-to-CO conversion: electrocatalysts, electrolytes, and electrolyzers
Recent progress in the mechanism, catalysts, electrolytes and electrolyzers of CO2 electroreduction to CO has been reviewed.
Interfacial engineering of noble metals for electrocatalytic methanol and ethanol oxidation
A comprehensive review on the interfacial engineering of noble-metal-based MOR and EOR electrocatalysts is presented.
From isolated Ti-oxo clusters to infinite Ti-oxo chains and sheets: recent advances in photoactive Ti-based MOFs
This review highlights recent progress in Ti-MOFs based on discrete Ti-oxo clusters and infinite Ti-oxo chains and sheets.
Developing high-voltage spinel LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 cathodes for high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries: current achievements and future prospects
This paper highlights current research progress and future prospects of high-voltage spinel LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 cathode for next-generation high-enegy-density lithium-ion batteries.
Intercalation and exfoliation chemistries of transition metal dichalcogenides
This review provides a comprehensive summary of the intercalation and exfoliation processes in TMDs, as well as their properties and applications.
Atomically dispersed metal active centers as a chemically tunable platform for energy storage devices
Atomically dispersed materials with maximized atom utilization, abundant active centers, and ultrahigh chemical reaction activity can accelerate the reaction kinetics in energy storage devices and have excellent electrochemical performance.
Composite sodium metal anodes for practical applications
With its high theoretical capacity (1165 mA h g−1), low reduction potential (−2.71) and abundant resources in the earth's crust, Na anode exhibits great potential in grid-scale energy storage systems and extensive application of electric vehicles.
Catalyst design strategies for stable electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction
For practical applications, the deactivation processes of electrocatalysts in electrochemical CO2 reduction reactions have to be addressed by studying recent advances such as exclusion of metal impurity effect, periodic electrochemical activation and active nanocatalyst design.
Water-responsive materials for sustainable energy applications
Up-to-date studies of water-responsive materials for energy-related applications are reviewed. Future research endeavours could advance scientific and technical challenges.
Graphene oxide membranes: controlling their transport pathways
This review presents and discusses the remarkable progress of GO membranes, especially the strategies and mechanisms for controlling their transport pathways in liquid separation.
Preparation of Bi-based photocatalysts in the form of powdered particles and thin films: a review
A comprehensive survey on preparation methods of powdered or thin-film Bi-based photocatalysts is provided, comparing he diverse approaches and their advantages and limitations in the context of photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical applications.
Two-dimensional metal–organic framework nanosheets: synthetic methodologies and electrocatalytic applications
This review gives a systematic discussion on the synthetic methodologies of 2D MOF-based materials for electrocatalysis applications.
Monodisperse PdSn/SnOx core/shell nanoparticles with superior electrocatalytic ethanol oxidation performance
We synthesized monodisperse PdSn/SnOx core/shell nanoparticles with excellent ethanol oxidation reaction activity and durability.
Strategy for functionalization of electrodes with discrete, unmodified small molecules exhibiting aqueous stability
Immobilization of electroactive molecules without synthetic modification that are stable at neutral pH!
Long-range exciton diffusion in non-fullerene acceptors and coarse bulk heterojunctions enable highly efficient organic photovoltaics
Time-resolved photoluminescence measurements provide an accurate estimate of the three-dimensional exciton diffusion length in three ITICs based non-fullerene acceptors (NFAs).
In situ encapsulated and well dispersed Co3O4 nanoparticles as efficient and stable electrocatalysts for high-performance CO2 reduction
A space-confined Co/CNT catalyst was utilized for CO2 electroreduction with excellent efficiency and stability.
Potential and limitations of CsBi3I10 as a photovoltaic material
Wide-bandgap, low-toxicity CsBi3I10 is synthesized and deposited as thin films by solvent-free approaches. Its implementation in photovoltaic devices is demonstrated albeit with limited performances. Suggestions to further improve these are given.
Ultrathin and defect-rich intermetallic Pd2Sn nanosheets for efficient oxygen reduction electrocatalysis
Ultrathin and defect-rich Pd2Sn intermetallic nanosheets with unique Pd–Sn ordering are developed and display much enhanced activity and stability towards oxygen reduction in an alkaline medium.
Electrochemically controlled energy release from a norbornadiene-based solar thermal fuel: increasing the reversibility to 99.8% using HOPG as the electrode material
Solar energy conversion using molecular photoswitches holds great potential to store energy from sunlight in the form of chemical energy in a process that can be easily implemented in a direct solar energy storage device.
Post-synthetic modification of ionic liquids using ligand-exchange and redox coordination chemistry
Ionic liquids (ILs) derive their useful properties from molecularly tunable compositions, but methods to diversify anion identities and probe ion speciation remain limited.
Tri-rutile layered niobium-molybdates for all solid-state symmetric supercapacitors
A wide inter-layer spacing is the key to realizing high energy density and power density in pseudocapacitors.
Anion exchange-induced single-molecule dispersion of cobalt porphyrins in a cationic porous organic polymer for enhanced electrochemical CO2 reduction via secondary-coordination sphere interactions
Anion exchange is a promising strategy to achieve synergistic catalysis via secondary coordination sphere interactions between the catalyst and the support.
Enhancing cycling stability of tungsten oxide supercapacitor electrodes via a boron cluster-based molecular cross-linking approach
A boron-rich hybrid tungsten oxide material with enhanced cycling stability, up to 4000 cycles compared to that of pristine tungsten oxide.
Strain-based chemical sensing using metal–organic framework nanoparticles
A membrane-type surface stress sensor (MSS) featuring metal–organic framework nanoparticles shows rapid, discriminative and ppm-level responses to volatile organic compounds.
Modification of cellulose nanocrystal surface chemistry with diverse nucleophiles for materials integration
A straightforward method to modify cellulose nanocrystal surfaces enables attachment of a wide range of nucleophiles.
Computational design of (100) alloy surfaces for the hydrogen evolution reaction
Based on the understandings of alloying effects in bimetallic (100) surfaces, we explored their four-fold active sites for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction.
In situ coupling of CoP with MoO2 for enhanced hydrogen evolution
The development of highly active and stable catalysts based on low-cost materials for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is crucial to catalytic water splitting.
Molecular-level environments of intercalated chloroaluminate anions in rechargeable aluminum-graphite batteries revealed by solid-state NMR spectroscopy
Solid-state 27Al MAS NMR spectroscopy and DFT calculations reveal that intercalated AlCl4− anions exhibit a wide range of molecular geometries and environments, establishing that the intercalated graphite electrodes exhibit high extents of disorder.
Atomic-layer-deposited SnO2 on Pt/C prevents sintering of Pt nanoparticles and affects the reaction chemistry for the electrocatalytic glycerol oxidation reaction
Here we demonstrate that atomic-layer-deposited SnO2 on Pt/C enhances the catalytic stability and changes product selectivity for the electrocatalytic glycerol oxidation reaction.
A metal and nitrogen doped carbon composite with both oxygen reduction and evolution active sites for rechargeable zinc–air batteries
A metal carbon composite Fe,Ni–N–C/N-CNT with both Fe–Nx and in situ generated NiFe2O4 nanoparticles has both good ORR and OER activities.
Photothermal effect-enhanced photoelectrochemical water splitting of a BiVO4 photoanode modified with dual-functional polyaniline
Assisted by NIR light, the obtained Co-Pi/PANI/BiVO4 photoanode achieves a remarkable water oxidation photocurrent of 4.05 mA cm−2 at 1.23 VRHE.
Counterion condensation or lack of solvation? Understanding the activity of ions in thin film block copolymer electrolytes
Dissociation of ion charge pairs in block copolymer electrolytes and its relation to activity coefficients and normalized ionic conductivity.
Self-driven membrane filtration by core–shell polymer composites
A self-driven filtration process based on dynamic core–shell hydrogel absorbers of both high water absorbency and selectivity.
Catalytic activity atlas of ternary Co–Fe–V metal oxides for the oxygen evolution reaction
Accurate composition–oxygen evolution reaction performance atlases have been established for a ternary Co–Fe–V oxide system using Prussian blue analogues as precursors, affording Co : Fe : V = 3 : 4 : 3 as the optimal metal ratio.
An asymmetric small molecule acceptor for organic solar cells with a short circuit current density over 24 mA cm−2
Acceptor Y22 with an asymmetric hexacyclic A–DA′D–A structure achieved a high PCE of 15.4% and a high Jsc of 24.37 mA cm−2, which are among the best values reported for asymmetric acceptor based binary organic solar cells.
Ultrathin RuRh@(RuRh)O2 core@shell nanosheets as stable oxygen evolution electrocatalysts
We report a novel architecture of ultrathin RuRh@(RuRh)O2 core/shell nanosheets with a core of ultrathin metallic RuRh nanosheets and a shell of (RuRh)O2 oxides as a superb electrocatalyst toward the oxgen evolution reaction (OER), better than most of the state-of-the-art Ru-based or Ir-based electrocatalysts. Moreover, the RuRh@(RuRh)O2 core/shell nanosheets exhibit good durability because the (RuRh)O2 oxide shell protects the normally labile RuRh NS core against dissolution during the OER process.
How an angstrom-thick oxide overcoat enhances durability and activity of nanoparticle-decorated cathodes in solid oxide fuel cells
In this report, we demonstrate how a uniform angstrom-level oxide overcoat (0.7–1.5 Å) by atomic layer deposition is highly effective not only in enhancing the thermal stability of underlying infiltrated ceria nanoparticles but also in facilitating electrode kinetics.
Do polymer ligands block the catalysis of metal nanoparticles? Unexpected importance of binding motifs in improving catalytic activity
Polymer NHC ligands enhance the catalytic activity of metal nanoparticles despite the increase of surface crowdedness.
In situ synchrotron pair distribution function analysis to monitor synthetic pathways under electromagnetic excitation
In situ pair distribution function analysis reveals that electromagnetic radiation exposure during SnO2 nanoparticle growth alters local atomic structure and the synthetic pathway compared to conventional hydrothermal synthesis routes.
Enhancing CO2 reduction by suppressing hydrogen evolution with polytetrafluoroethylene protected copper nanoneedles
Enhanced carbon dioxide reduction reaction (CO2RR) with suppressed HER was achieved on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coated Cu nanoneedles (CuNNs).
Conjugated side-chain engineering of polymer donors enabling improved efficiency for polymer solar cells
A feasible molecular optimization process conducted on polymer donors facilitates better phase separation, enabling improved efficiency for polymer solar cells.
Nitrogen-doped phosphorene for electrocatalytic ammonia synthesis
A facile and efficient strategy to produce nitrogen-doped (N-doped) phosphorene nanosheets that can be used as an efficient metal-free catalyst for electrochemical ammonia synthesis under ambient conditions is presented.
Surface-functionalized palladium catalysts for electrochemical CO2 reduction
Surface modifying is a promising way to manipulate metal catalyst properties in electrochemical CO2 reduction.
Prospects for defect engineering in Cu2ZnSnS4 solar absorber films
Composition spread Cu2ZnSnS4 thin films unveil the complicated interplay between process conditions and material properties, pointing to new approaches towards defect engineering.
Fe/Fe3C nanoparticle-decorated N-doped carbon nanofibers for improving the nitrogen selectivity of electrocatalytic nitrate reduction
N-doped carbon nanofibers embedded with Fe/Fe3C nanodomains demonstrate superior electrocatalytic nitrate reduction ability and nitrogen selectivity.
Interfacial coordination assembly of tannic acid with metal ions on three-dimensional nickel hydroxide nanowalls for efficient water splitting
Interfacial coordination of tannic acid with metal ions enables conformal coating on nickel hydroxide nanowalls for enhancing the water-splitting performance.
Synthesis, modular composition, and electrochemical properties of lamellar iron sulfides
A new class of layered iron sulfide materials offers tunable composition and properties for electrochemical energy storage.
Hydrogenated dual-shell sodium titanate cubes for sodium-ion batteries with optimized ion transportation
Dual-shell structured sodium titanate cubes with oxygen vacancies are rationally designed and synthesized. Various state-of-the-art approaches offer understandings of its enhanced ion kinetics as an anode for sodium-ion battery..
Mesoporous carbon confined intermetallic nanoparticles as highly durable electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction
An effective strategy was demonstrated to develop a highly durable catalyst prototype that combines superfine Pt-based intermetallic nanoparticles with mesoporous carbon.
All-PEGylated redox-active metal-free organic molecules in non-aqueous redox flow battery
A non-aqueous redox flow battery based on all-PEGylated, metal-free compounds is presented. The PEGylation enhances the stability of the redox-active materials, alleviating crossover by increasing the anolyte and catholyte species’ molecular sizes.
The influence of oxygen vacancy and Ce3+ ion positions on the properties of small gold clusters supported on CeO2−x(111)
We studied the influence of oxygen vacancies on small Au clusters supported on CeO2 using dispersion-corrected density functional theory (DFT-D3).
A MoO3/MoO2-CP self-supporting heterostructure for modification of lithium–sulfur batteries
A unique MoO3/MoO2 heterostructure with an active interface is an ideal host for Li2S8, exhibiting superior rate and long-term cycling performance.
Rational design of dual-metal-site catalysts for electroreduction of carbon dioxide
Dual-metal-site catalysts could exhibit superior activity for CO2 electroreduction to CO due to the breaking of scaling relationship.
The natural critical current density limit for Li7La3Zr2O12 garnets
The critical current density in symmetrical Li metal cells using Li7La3Zr2O12 single crystals is determined. The upper limit at room temperature without applying any external forces is below 300 μA cm−2.
Engineering the hydrogen evolution reaction of transition metals: effect of Li ions
Hydrogen evolution reaction of metals is shown to be tunable with high concentration of Li ions in the electrolyte, irrespective of the pH of the electrolyte.
A combined SECM and electrochemical AFM approach to probe interfacial processes affecting molecular reactivity at redox flow battery electrodes
Understanding interfacial reaction mechanisms of redoxmers at redox flow battery model carbon electrodes using insightful electrochemical scanning probe techniques enables new strategies for high-performance energy storage.
Probing composition distributions in nanoalloy catalysts with correlative electron microscopy
A correlative electron microscopy method is introduced to statistically composition distributions among particles in nanoalloy materials, a parameter that is largely overlooked before.
Chromium-titanium nitride as an efficient co-catalyst for photocatalytic hydrogen production
The synergistic effect of ternary chromium-titanium nitride significantly promotes photocatalytic hydrogen production of cadmium sulfide.
Visible-light driven photocatalytic hydrogen generation by water-soluble all-inorganic core–shell silicon quantum dots
Photocatalytic H2 generation by B,P-codoped Si quantum dots (QDs) with diameters in the quantum confinement regime is investigated. The H2 generation rate is enhanced by the increase of reduction ability of Si QDs owing to the quantum size effect.
About this collection
Journal of Materials Chemistry A is proud to present this themed issue highlighting 2020’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. Congratulations to all of those who feature on their important work so far in the field of materials energy and sustainability.