Review Articles

  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    An emerging annelated thiophene of benzodithiophenedione (BDD) has exhibited its distinguished photovoltaic performance since its planar molecular structure, low-lying highest occupied molecular orbit (HOMO) level and well self-assembly property. In recent 7 years, BDD-based polymer donor have shown a rapid and incredible advancement by utilizing different acceptor materials. Considering the potentials of BDD-based materials, we summarize the most recent advances in the BDD-based photovoltaic materials and highlight the relations between BDD-based molecular structures and photovoltaic properties.

    • Bing Zheng
    • , Lijun Huo
    •  & Yongfang Li
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Metal halide perovskites are extraordinary defect-tolerant semiconductors. A unique structural aspect of perovskites is the octahedral coordination for (B-site) metal ions, unlike other semiconductors that exhibit tetrahedral coordination. This octahedral coordination helped to achieve lanthanide doping in halide perovskite nanocrystals in 2017. Fundamental understanding of material design, luminescence and quantum cutting phenomena in lanthanides (with focus on Yb3+) doped in CsPbX3 (X = Cl, Br, I) and Cs2AgInCl6 nanocrystals are reported. Subsequently, these doped systems are applied for solar energy harvesting and lighting in both visible and near infrared region. This perspective article summarizes everything important that has happened so far in field and discusses about the future research directions.

    • Wasim J. Mir
    • , Tariq Sheikh
    • , Habibul Arfin
    • , Zhiguo Xia
    •  & Angshuman Nag
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Over the last decade, triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) has been verified to be an effective way of converting daily mechanical energy into electric power or detecting various stimuli in the external environment. To promote the material researches in TENG, we introduce recent progresses in materials and material designs to improve the power generation and sensing performance. Also, we discuss on the future challenges and suggest possible approaches to solve the challenges.

    • Dong Wook Kim
    • , Ju Hyun Lee
    • , Jin Kon Kim
    •  & Unyong Jeong
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Zn battery family with a long research history in the human electrochemical power supply has been revived and reevaluated in recent years. However, Zn anode in rechargeable batteries still lacks mature and reliable solutions to support the satisfactory cyclability required for the current versatile applications. In this paper, novel functional electrolytes, modified electrode-electrolyte interfaces and advanced electrode structures for addressing the bottlenecks encountered in rechargeable Zn anodes are reviewed, highlighting the mechanisms and open questions in practical applications.

    • Yaojian Zhang
    • , Zheng Chen
    • , Huayu Qiu
    • , Wuhai Yang
    • , Zhiming Zhao
    • , Jingwen Zhao
    •  & Guanglei Cui
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Since the first report in 1970s, W–Cu composites have attracted extensive attentions owing to their outstanding integrated properties of high hardness, wear resistance and electrical conductivity and low thermal expansion coefficient. This article reviewed recent important progress in the fields of preparation, microstructural characterization, and mechanical and physical properties of W–Cu composites. Particularly, new technologies for microstructure refinement and strategies to enhance the comprehensive performance were summarized and evaluated. The future promising research issues, which may break though the bottleneck of existing performance level of W–Cu composites and facilitate the development of other refractory/non-ferrous metals based nanocomposites, were proposed.

    • Chao Hou
    • , Xiaoyan Song
    • , Fawei Tang
    • , Yurong Li
    • , Lijun Cao
    • , Jie Wang
    •  & Zuoren Nie
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Stimulus-responsive hydrogels, with biocompatibility, sufficient water content, similarity to extracellular matrices, and responses to specific environmental stimuli, have recently received massive research interest for fabricating bioactuators. The potential of employing these hydrogels that respond to various stimuli (e.g., pH, temperature, light, electricity, and magnetic fields) for actuation purposes has been uncovered by their performances in biosensing, drug delivery, artificial muscle reconstruction, and cell microenvironment engineering. In this review, a material selection of stimulus-responsive hydrogels and a detailed discussion of recent advances in emerging biomedical applications of hydrogel-based bioactuators are proposed. Existing challenges and future prospects are noted as well.

    • Qiang Shi
    • , Hao Liu
    • , Deding Tang
    • , Yuhui Li
    • , XiuJun Li
    •  & Feng Xu
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    The inability to administer oxygen in a controlled and sustained manner into thick artificial tissues has attracted a growing interest towards the design and development of new functional biomaterials. Without a sufficient oxygen supply, tissues suffer from the effects of apoptosis and necrosis. Incorporation of oxygen-releasing materials into scaffolds can help address this challenge. This paper provides an overview of the recent developments and technological advances in engineering oxygen-releasing biomaterials to improve the viability and function of cells and prevent hypoxic tissue death. Recent advances in different types of oxygen-releasing materials, mechanisms of oxygen generation, and their applications are discussed.

    • Sanika Suvarnapathaki
    • , Xinchen Wu
    • , Darlin Lantigua
    • , Michelle A. Nguyen
    •  & Gulden Camci-Unal
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Overview of up-conversion based condensed phase laser cooling of semiconductor nanostructures. Two critical parameters dictate the likelihood of realizing solid state optical refrigeration: nanostructure emission quantum yield and up-conversion efficiency. This review summarizes both parameters for existing high emission quantum yield semiconductor nanostructures such as CdSe and CsPbBr3. CsPbBr3 nanocrystals, in particular, possess optimal parameters for cooling, namely near unity emission quantum yields and up-conversion efficiencies up to 75%. This makes them promising materials for verifiable demonstrations of condensed phase laser cooling.

    • Shubin Zhang
    • , Maksym Zhukovskyi
    • , Boldizsár Jankó
    •  & Masaru Kuno
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Mass spectrometry, coupled with soft ionization methods, in conjunction with associated techniques such as tandem mass spectrometry, ion mobility and spectroscopies of sorts, has become a powerful tool for the characterization of advanced materials.

    • Papri Chakraborty
    •  & Thalappil Pradeep
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Surface-grafting polymer brush (SPB) technique can be used to change the inherent physical/chemical properties of materials surface. Practical applications are paid more attention since SPB technique enables to decorate materials with diverse functions. This paper reviews the current grafting strategies to generate polymer brush layer on surface of solid materials with diverse geometric structures/sizes, and then systematically summarizes the recent research advances on application of polymer brushes-modified materials. Correspondingly, some key challenges of SPB technique with considering its real application in future are discussed. The aim to draft this paper is to tell the readers how to engineer functional materials by SPB technique.

    • Shuanhong Ma
    • , Xiaoqin Zhang
    • , Bo Yu
    •  & Feng Zhou
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    The past decade has witnessed substantial advances in the synthesis of various electrode materials with three-dimensional (3D) ordered macroporous or mesoporous structures (the so-called “inverse opals”) for applications in electrochemical energy storage devices. Yuping Wu from Nanjing Tech University anchored recent advancements in 3D ordered porous (3DOP) electrode materials and their unusual electrochemical properties bound by their intrinsic and geometric structures. The team introduces various 3DOP electrode materials and their representative applications as electrode materials. Additionally, the team also provides research opportunities as well as the challenges to facilitate further contributions to this emerging research frontier.

    • Zaichun Liu
    • , Xinhai Yuan
    • , Shuaishuai Zhang
    • , Jing Wang
    • , Qinghong Huang
    • , Nengfei Yu
    • , Yusong Zhu
    • , Lijun Fu
    • , Faxing Wang
    • , Yuhui Chen
    •  & Yuping Wu
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Fluorescent diarylethenes are the most attractive molecules for several applications, such as optical memories, optical switches, or probes for the imaging technology. A wide variety of fluorescent diarylethenes combining with organic fluorophores, emissive polymers, or fluorescent inorganic materials have been developed from the molecular level to the nanoscale during the past decade. In this review, the different molecular and nanomaterial designs providing suitable fluorescence photoswitching property are introduced. Furthermore, the recent development of new applications using fluorescent diarylethene-based molecules and nanomaterials are also summarized.

    • Tuyoshi Fukaminato
    • , Sanae Ishida
    •  & Rémi Métivier
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    With the rapid development of nanotechnology, the unique rare earth lanthanide-doped upconversion nanocrystals (UCNs), which can convert tissue-penetrable near-infrared (NIR) photonic irradiation into ultraviolet, visible and NIR emissions, have found significant potential in bioimaging, diagnosis, therapy, as well as photovoltaics and optical data storage. Despite the promising achievements made in the past decade, critical challenges associated with low upconversion efficiencies and overheating effect induced by NIR laser-irradiation remain in the biomedical fields. More well-defined material design and unique structural modification are highly demanded that are capable of solving these technical concerns and promoting such promising NIR light mediated upconversion nanocrystals for their further practice in medical sciences. Recent advances in upconversion nanomaterials have witnessed the tremendous development towards enhancing the photon converted efficiency, which provides great opportunities in expanding the UCNs potential in bioimaging diagnosis and anticancer therapy. Hence, this review is mainly focusing on summarizing the fundamental principles and strategies to improve the upconversion luminescence and the approaches to reduce the local thermal effect on the basis of rational design of UCNs. In addition, the future perspectives in the development of UCNs for biomedical applications are also proposed.

    • Linna Lyu
    • , Haolun Cheong
    • , Xiangzhao Ai
    • , Wenmin Zhang
    • , Juan Li
    • , HuangHao Yang
    • , Jun Lin
    •  & Bengang Xing
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    In this article, we review the prototypical phase-transition material-VO2, which undergoes structure and conductivity changes simultaneously. The recent progresses in the transition mechanism are also discussed. Besides, this work gives a comprehensive understanding of the phase-transition modulations, such as element doping, electric field (current and gating) and tensile/compression strain, as well as employing laser.

    • Zewei Shao
    • , Xun Cao
    • , Hongjie Luo
    •  & Ping Jin
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Advanced in situ/operando synchrotron based X-ray characterization techniques are powerful tools in providing valuable information about the complicate reaction mechanisms in lithium-ion batteries. In this review, the state-of-the-art of in situ/operando synchrotron-based X-ray techniques and their combination for battery research are introduced. Various types of in situ cell designs and practical operation tips for experimental set ups are also discussed.

    • Seong-Min Bak
    • , Zulipiya Shadike
    • , Ruoqian Lin
    • , Xiqian Yu
    •  & Xiao-Qing Yang
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    This review recapitulates some of the most representative studies recently reported on carbon-supported catalysts for the hydrogen production from formic acid and ammonia borane by considering both active phase features and support properties. Several synthetic strategies are herein summarized to highlight the versatility of carbon materials in affording highly-performing catalysts for the hydrogen production from hydrogen carrier molecules.

    • Miriam Navlani-García
    • , Kohsuke Mori
    • , Yasutaka Kuwahara
    •  & Hiromi Yamashita
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Graphene has received enormous research interest in recent years owing to its intriguing structure and fascinating properties. Its high mechanical strength, flexibility and optical transparency make it a desire building block of 2D Janus materials. Through asymmetric surface modifications on target graphene derivatives, including hydrogenation and halogenation, grafting of organic molecules and polymers, and deposition of metal/metal oxides, different graphene-based Janus materials have been achieved with various shapes, sizes, and compositions. This review presents and discusses the development, fabricating strategies and applications of these 2D Janus materials, starting with the theoretical understanding of the behavior of Janus graphene.

    • Sze-Wing Ng
    • , Nuruzzaman Noor
    •  & Zijian Zheng
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    Exploration of noncovalent interactions of such as H-bonding, p-stacking and van der Waals forces to the design of hybrid materials of 1D or 2D carbon allotropes and synthetic p-systems such as aromatic small molecules, gelators and polymers for various applications ranging from materials to biology are discussed.

    • Balaraman Vedhanarayanan
    • , Vakayil K. Praveen
    • , Gourab Das
    •  & Ayyappanpillai Ajayaghosh
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    A target of this review is soft 2D nanoarchitectonics because scientific views on soft 2D nanomaterials are not fully established as compared with rigid 2D materials. The presented examples are selected according to the following three categories on the basis of 2D spatial density and motional freedoms: (i) well-packed and oriented organic 2D materials with rational design of component molecules and device applications, (ii) well-defined assemblies with 2D porous structures as 2D network materials, and (iii) 2D controls of molecular machines and receptors on the basis of certain motional freedom with confined nature in 2D plain.

    • Katsuhiko Ariga
    • , Shun Watanabe
    • , Taizo Mori
    •  & Jun Takeya
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    In this paper, the design strategy of trivalent lanthanide (Ln(III)) complexes for effective photo-, electric-, and tribo-sensitized luminescence are reviewed. Ln(III) complexes with well-designed organic molecules are expected to open up a frontier field of chemistry, physics, electronics and material science.

    • Yasuchika Hasegawa
    • , Yuichi Kitagawa
    •  & Takayuki Nakanishi
  • Review Article
    | Open Access

    In this review, we overview the recent achievements in synthesis of high performance nacre-inspired macroscopic composites and divide them into different groups by standards of different dimensions, such as 1D nacre-inspired fibers, 2D nacre-inspired films and 3D nacre-inspired bulk composites. The methods to produce different dimensional nacre-inspired composites are also introduced and performance enhanced strategies for different dimensional nacre-inspired composites are summarized and explained in detail. Applications of high mechanical performance nacre-inspired composites are also summarized. A critical outlook for next-generation light-weight and high performance materials is proposed.

    • Hewei Zhao
    • , Zhao Yang
    •  & Lin Guo