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  • Soluble catalysts such as redox mediators are promising in enhancing energy efficiency of Li–O2 batteries. Here, the authors propose a design principle for finding efficient redox mediators and demonstrate the application of such a new catalyst.

    • Hee-Dae Lim
    • Byungju Lee
    • Kisuk Kang
  • The ability of photovoltaic devices to harvest solar energy can be enhanced by tailoring the spectrum of incident light with thermophotovoltaic devices. Bierman et al. now show that one such device achieves a solar-to-electrical efficiency of 6.8%, exceeding that of the solar cell alone.

    • David M. Bierman
    • Andrej Lenert
    • Evelyn N. Wang
  • Power grids often fail during extreme weather events such as hurricanes, leaving millions of customers without electricity. A large-scale analysis of the operation of power grids in an extended geographical area now reveals that such events exacerbate vulnerabilities that are obscured during normal operation.

    • Chuanyi Ji
    • Yun Wei
    • Robert Wilcox
  • Efficient catalysts for the oxygen-evolution reaction, especially in alkaline media, are highly desired because of their application in various energy technologies. Now, a gold-supported NiCeOx catalyst is shown to have excellent catalytic activity due to synergistic geometric and electronic effects.

    • Jia Wei Desmond Ng
    • Max García-Melchor
    • Thomas F. Jaramillo
  • There is an intensive effort in developing multi-shelled metal oxide nanostructures for lithium-ion battery applications. Now, a metal anion-adsorption mechanism, as opposed to the conventional cation adsorption on carbonaceous templates, is demonstrated in the synthesis of vanadium oxide hollow microspheres, which exhibit excellent battery performance.

    • Jiangyan Wang
    • Hongjie Tang
    • Dan Wang
  • The development of all-solid-state batteries requires fast lithium conductors. Here, the authors report a lithium compound, Li9.54Si1.74P1.44S11.7Cl0.3, with an exceptionally high conductivity and demonstrate that all-solid-state batteries based on the compound have high power densities.

    • Yuki Kato
    • Satoshi Hori
    • Ryoji Kanno
  • Solar cells based on CdTe are a promising low-cost alternative to mainstream Si devices, but they usually produce voltages below 900 mV. Burst et al. now show that open-circuit voltages greater than 1 V can be achieved by doping the CdTe with a group V element.

    • J. M. Burst
    • J. N. Duenow
    • W. K. Metzger
  • The processing of high-performance organic solar cells usually requires environmentally hazardous solvents. Now, hydrocarbon-based processing is shown to achieve relatively high performance in a more environmentally friendly way.

    • Jingbo Zhao
    • Yunke Li
    • He Yan
  • The use of doped-silicon contacts in silicon solar cells adds cost and complexity to the fabrication process. These issues can now be circumvented by using dopant-free carrier-selective interfaces on silicon, realized by alkali metal fluorides and metal oxides.

    • James Bullock
    • Mark Hettick
    • Ali Javey
  • The thermal degradation of perovskite solar cells is an obstacle to their commercialization. Now, the mechanisms for thermally induced structural and chemical changes are identified by in situ measurements in a transmission electron microscope.

    • G. Divitini
    • S. Cacovich
    • C. Ducati
  • Organic–inorganic perovskites are promising materials for photovoltaic devices, however they have poor tolerance to ambient humidity. Now, their surface can be functionalized with water-resistant molecules to stabilize their performance under humid conditions.

    • Shuang Yang
    • Yun Wang
    • Hua Gui Yang