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  • In this review, we highlight the recent progress in two rising areas: solar energy conversion through plasmon-assisted interfacial electron transfer and plasmonic nanofabrication. Localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) of plasmonic nanoparticles and nanostructures has attracted increasing attention because of their strong near-field enhancement by interacting with visible light. Recent studies have demonstrated the capability of such plasmonic systems in producing ‘LSPR-induced hot-electrons’ that are useful in photoenergy conversion and storage when combined with electron-accepting semiconductors. Concurrently, ‘hot-electron decay’ results in strong photothermal responses or plasmonic local heating. This heating has received renewed interest in photothermal manipulation of nanoparticles and molecules.

    • Akihiro Furube
    • Shuichi Hashimoto
    Review Open Access
  • Schematic illustration of Biomaterial Strategies for Controlled Growth Factor (GF) Delivery for Biomedical Applications. (a) The direct approaches for the immobilization/encapsulation of GFs to biomaterials; (b) Nanocarriers for GFs encapsulation and release; (c) GFs encapsulated nanocarriers functionalized biomaterials for tissue regeneration.

    • Zhenming Wang
    • Zhefeng Wang
    • Songlin Peng
    Review Open Access
  • Fluorine, the element with the highest electronegativity and low electric polarizability, can produce a variety of characteristics, including specific adsorption sites for molecules as well as flexibility to the host materials. In this review, we will introduce fluorine-functionalized metal–organic frameworks/porous coordination polymers that show unique and unprecedented structures, structural transformations, and gas and vapor adsorption/separation properties derived from the fluorine characteristics.

    • Shin-ichiro Noro
    • Takayoshi Nakamura
    Review Open Access
  • Graphene nanomaterials hold great promise for the development of advanced water purification membranes, especially for water desalination. Their atomic thickness, extraordinary mechanical stability and potential for size-selective transport are ideal features, encouraging the membrane scientist across the world to investigate their applicability for water desalination. Graphene can potentially desalinate water either as monolayer or as multilayer membranes. In this review, we discuss these different classes of graphene membranes and highlight their merits and shortcomings. In addition, the theory behind their performance is presented in detail.

    • Shahin Homaeigohar
    • Mady Elbahri
    Review Open Access
  • Formed by the self-assembly of protein subunits, protein nanocages can be engineered at the interior, exterior, and inter-subunit locations. Each type of modification can be tuned for specific biological applications. Multiple-modifications can be imparted to these nanocages without compromising its self-assembling property, creating multi-functional protein nanocage platforms. Potential applications of the modified protein nanocages include targeted delivery in complex cellular environments for therapeutic and diagnostic agents as well as modulation of cellular responses.

    • Sathyamoorthy Bhaskar
    • Sierin Lim
    Review Open Access
  • This review summarizes recent results on the syntheses and characterization of the non-native phases of h-CoO, h-MnO and c-ZnO transition metal monoxides compared to their native phases. The investigation of the size- and phase-selective synthetic methods, formation mechanism and unique physicochemical properties of non-native transition metal monoxides would have an enormous impact on materials chemistry and open a promising avenue for magnetic, electronic, and spintronic applications.

    • Ki Min Nam
    • Won Seok Seo
    • Joon Taik Park
    Review Open Access
  • The microstructure dynamics of electrode materials during battery cycling is dictated by the coupling between their lattice, charge and orbital characteristics, as shown in the schematic. TEM monitoring enables tracking lattice and chemical bonding at high spatial resolution, and thereby establishes the relationship between structure and performances.

    • Yuren Wen
    • Dongdong Xiao
    • Lin Gu
    Review Open Access
  • This review summarizes recent developments in the direct synthesis and ion exchange-based reactions leading to hybrid organic–inorganic and all-inorganic lead halide perovskite nanocrystals. Optical properties related to quantum confinement effects, single emission spectroscopy and lasing are considered. Perovskite nanocrystals have been employed as an active material in several applications such as light-emitting devices, solar cells and photodetectors.

    • He Huang
    • Lakshminarayana Polavarapu
    • Andrey L Rogach
    Review Open Access
  • A huge interest shows that optical contrast agents to probe biological specimen both functionally and structurally with deeper action depth and better spatial resolution is closely related with the development of near-infrared (NIR) light excitation and nonlinear optics and new imaging methods. This review will go beyond the state-of-the-art by revisiting the up-to-date progress in developing smart NIR-to-NIR and upconverted nanomaterials for in vivo bioapplications. The latest advances in the development of novel NIR-to-NIR linear and nonlinear optical nanomaterials and their potential applications in cancer targeting, diagnosis and therapeutics and deep-tissue imaging are described.

    • Tzu-Ming Liu
    • João Conde
    • Chih-Chia Huang
    Review Open Access
  • PHAs are natural biodegradable polyesters synthesized by microorganisms. However, several disadvantages such as their poor mechanical properties and limited functionalities limit their competition with traditional synthetic plastics or their application as ideal biomaterials. To circumvent these drawbacks, PHAs need to be modified to ensure improved performance in specific applications. Well-established modification methods of PHAs are summarized and discussed. The improved properties of PHA that blends with natural raw materials or other biodegradable polymers are summarized. The functionalization of PHAs by block copolymerization and graft copolymerization is described. The expanded utilization of the modified PHAs as (bio)engineering materials is addressed.

    • Zibiao Li
    • Jing Yang
    • Xian Jun Loh
    Review Open Access
  • The facile conduction of alkali ions in a crystal host is of crucial importance in rechargeable alkali-ion batteries. This review provides a comprehensive survey of the various computational approaches, such as transition state, molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo methods, to study solid-state alkali diffusion, discusses how these methods have provided useful insights into the design of crystalline materials that form the main components of a rechargeable alkali-ion battery, namely the electrodes, superionic conductor solid electrolytes and their interfaces, and provides our perspective on the future challenges and directions in computational alkali diffusion studies.

    • Zhi Deng
    • Yifei Mo
    • Shyue Ping Ong
    Review Open Access
  • This review highlights the recent advances in utilizing a combinatorial strategy of mechanistic investigation, theoretical prediction and experimental validation to develop cheap and earth-abundant high-performance electrocatalysts as counter electrode materials for dye-sensitized solar cells. The effectiveness of the combinatorial strategy over the conventional ‘trial-and-error’ tactic is illustrated with plentiful successful examples of earth-abundant materials. Perspectives are given to elucidate the opportunities and challenges.

    • Lulu Wang
    • Mohammad Al-Mamun
    • Huijun Zhao
    Review Open Access
  • The synthesis and application of organoboron complexes are a topic with high relevance owing to their unique characteristics. This manuscript introduces the results primarily from recent studies of boron diketonates, ketoiminates and diiminates containing polymers and particularly focuses on their optical properties.

    • Kazuo Tanaka
    • Yoshiki Chujo
    Review Open Access
  • Formation of nanoparticles have shown significant improvement in quality of size, shape and dispersity based on recent advanced biosynthesis approaches by understanding the natural mechanisms underlying nanoparticles synthesis. Considering the biocompatibility, cost effectiveness and eco-friendliness, bio-associated synthesis of nanoparticles may provide the promising solutions to the challenge faced in the applications of industry and biomedicine.

    • Cheng-Hung Luo
    • Vijayakumar Shanmugam
    • Chen-Sheng Yeh
    Review Open Access
  • This review highlights the recent developments and contributions of advanced electron microscopy studies to the research of lithium-ion battery materials. Both static, ex situ studies and newly developed in situ AEM techniques are emphasized, and future directions are also proposed.

    • Danna Qian
    • Cheng Ma
    • Miaofang Chi
    Review Open Access
  • The development of scalable chemistries for the production and processing of graphene is essential if its potential in structures and devices is to be realized. This review is a chemist’s perspective on the methods developed for the production of processable graphene and graphene precursors dispersion, their integration into polymers and fabrication into a variety of structures.

    • Sanjeev Gambhir
    • Rouhollah Jalili
    • Gordon G Wallace
    Review Open Access
  • Nanoheterostructures (NHSs) have fostered structural diversity and functional multiplicity owing to a combination of two nanosegments and the consequent charge carrier redistribution. In this article, we review the recent progress in the combinative study of the NHSs from both the experimental and theoretical perspectives in terms of the growth mechanisms down to the atomic level and the electronic structure from ab initio.

    • Biao Xu
    • Gang Zhou
    • Xun Wang
    Review Open Access
  • Recent progress in spatial regulation of synthetic and biological nanoparticles by DNA nanotechnology has been summarized, including not only the static arrangement of inorganic nanoparticles but also the dynamic regulation of organic and biological units at a nanometer scale.

    • Zhongqiang Yang
    • Huajie Liu
    • Dongsheng Liu
    Review Open Access