Materials for energy and catalysis

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Propene is obtained through propane dehydrogenation using catalysts that are toxic, expensive or demanding to regenerate with ecologically harmful compounds, but the ZnO-based alternative reported here is cheap, clean and scalable.

    • Dan Zhao
    • , Xinxin Tian
    •  & Evgenii V. Kondratenko
  • Article |

    By coordinating copper ions with the oxygen-containing groups of cellulose nanofibrils, the molecular spacing in the nanofibrils is increased, allowing fast transport of lithium ions and offering hopes for solid-state batteries.

    • Chunpeng Yang
    • , Qisheng Wu
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • Article |

    Rechargeable Na/Cl2 and Li/Cl2 batteries are produced with a microporous carbon positive electrode, aluminium chloride in thionyl chloride as the electrolyte, and either sodium or lithium as the negative electrode.

    • Guanzhou Zhu
    • , Xin Tian
    •  & Hongjie Dai
  • Perspective |

    This Perspective reviews the recent technical developments in the components of the fuel cell stack in proton-exchange membrane fuel cell vehicles and outlines the road towards large-scale commercialization of such vehicles.

    • Kui Jiao
    • , Jin Xuan
    •  & Michael D. Guiver
  • Article |

    The dynamics of ions within a working lithium-ion battery are examined using optical interferometric scattering microscopy, which allows ion transport to be related to phase transitions and microstructural features.

    • Alice J. Merryweather
    • , Christoph Schnedermann
    •  & Akshay Rao
  • Article |

    CO2 and ultraviolet light are used to initiate the p-type doping of spiro-OMeTAD:LiTFSI films, which show enhanced efficiencies when used as hole-transporting layers in solar cells and have shorter fabrication times compared with interlayers doped using conventional methods.

    • Jaemin Kong
    • , Yongwoo Shin
    •  & André D. Taylor
  • Article |

    Mapping the operational chemical, physical and electronic structure of an oxygen evolution electrocatalyst at the nanoscale links the properties of the material with the observed oxygen evolution activity.

    • J. Tyler Mefford
    • , Andrew R. Akbashev
    •  & William C. Chueh
  • Article |

    An environmentally friendly, all-organic radical battery is demonstrated, in which redox-active polypeptides perform as both cathode and anode materials, with a metal-free organic electrolyte.

    • Tan P. Nguyen
    • , Alexandra D. Easley
    •  & Karen L. Wooley
  • Article |

    The orientation of a rotating para-xylene molecule in the nanochannel of a zeolite framework can be visualised by electron microscopy to determine the host–guest van der Waals interaction inside the channel.

    • Boyuan Shen
    • , Xiao Chen
    •  & Fei Wei
  • Article |

    A diversity-oriented synthesis approach that yields a library of architecturally broad microporous polymers is used to develop structurally diverse polymer membranes with ion specificity and to screen their properties.

    • Miranda J. Baran
    • , Mark E. Carrington
    •  & Brett A. Helms
  • Article |

    Incorporation of the pseudo-halide anion formate during the fabrication of α-FAPbI3 perovskite films eliminates deleterious iodide vacancies, yielding solar cell devices with a certified power conversion efficiency of 25.21 per cent and long-term operational stability.

    • Jaeki Jeong
    • , Minjin Kim
    •  & Jin Young Kim
  • Article |

    Highly active but durable perovskite-based solid oxide fuel cell cathodes are realized using a thermal-expansion offset, achieving full thermo-mechanical compatibility between the cathode and other cell components.

    • Yuan Zhang
    • , Bin Chen
    •  & Zongping Shao
  • Article |

    An improved device design for perovskite-based photovoltaic cells enables a certified power conversion efficiency of 25.2 per cent, translating to 80.5 per cent of the thermodynamic limit for its bandgap, which approaches those achieved by silicon solar cells.

    • Jason J. Yoo
    • , Gabkyung Seo
    •  & Jangwon Seo
  • Article |

    Spectroscopic studies and theoretical calculations of the electrocatalytic oxygen evolution reaction establish that reaction rates depend on the amount of charge stored in the electrocatalyst, and not on the applied potential.

    • Hong Nhan Nong
    • , Lorenz J. Falling
    •  & Travis E. Jones
  • Article |

    An air gap embedded within the structure of a thermophotovoltaic device acts as a near-perfect reflector of low-energy photons, resulting in their recovery and recycling by the thermal source, enabling excellent power-conversion efficiency.

    • Dejiu Fan
    • , Tobias Burger
    •  & Stephen R. Forrest
  • Article |

    A direct ink writing protocol for silica aerogels enables 3D printing of lightweight, miniaturized objects with complex shapes, with the possibility to easily add functionality by incorporating nanoparticles.

    • Shanyu Zhao
    • , Gilberto Siqueira
    •  & Wim J. Malfait
  • Article |

    Water splitting with an internal quantum efficiency of almost unity is achieved using a modified semiconductor photocatalyst that selectively promotes the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions on separate crystal facets.

    • Tsuyoshi Takata
    • , Junzhe Jiang
    •  & Kazunari Domen
  • Article |

    Aluminium- and gallium-doped iron compounds show a large anomalous Nernst effect owing to a topological electronic structure, and their films are potentially suitable for designing low-cost, flexible microelectronic thermoelectric generators.

    • Akito Sakai
    • , Susumu Minami
    •  & Satoru Nakatsuji
  • Article |

    Using lead-absorbing materials to coat the front and back of perovskite solar cells can prevent lead leaching from damaged devices, without affecting the device performance or long-term operation stability.

    • Xun Li
    • , Fei Zhang
    •  & Tao Xu
  • Article |

    A new type of energy-harvesting device, based on protein nanowires from the microbe Geobacter sulforreducens, can generate a sustained power output by producing a moisture gradient across the nanowire film using natural humidity.

    • Xiaomeng Liu
    • , Hongyan Gao
    •  & Jun Yao
  • Article |

    A method of deposition of mixed-cation hybrid perovskite films as lattice-mismatched substrates for an α-FAPbI3 film is described, giving strains of up to 2.4 per cent while also stabilizing the metastable α-FAPbI3 phase for several hundred days.

    • Yimu Chen
    • , Yusheng Lei
    •  & Sheng Xu
  • Article |

    Individual cobalt phthalocyanine derivative molecules immobilized on carbon nanotubes effectively catalyse the electroreduction of CO2 to methanol via a domino process with high activity and selectivity and stable performance.

    • Yueshen Wu
    • , Zhan Jiang
    •  & Hailiang Wang
  • Article |

    A carrier-resolved photo-Hall technique is developed to extract properties of both majority and minority carriers simultaneously and determine the critical parameters of semiconductor materials under light illumination.

    • Oki Gunawan
    • , Seong Ryul Pae
    •  & Byungha Shin
  • Letter |

    PdMo bimetallene, a highly curved and sub-nanometre-thick nanosheet of a palladium–molybdenum alloy, is an efficient and stable electrocatalyst for the oxygen reduction and evolution reactions under alkaline conditions.

    • Mingchuan Luo
    • , Zhonglong Zhao
    •  & Shaojun Guo
  • Letter |

    Titration gas chromatography is developed as an analytical method of distinguishing between lithium metal and lithium compounds within a cycled battery and assessing the amount of unreacted metallic lithium available.

    • Chengcheng Fang
    • , Jinxing Li
    •  & Ying Shirley Meng
  • Letter |

    A silicon and tetracene solar cell employing singlet fission uses an eight-angstrom-thick hafnium oxynitride interlayer to promote efficient triplet transfer, increasing the efficiency of the cell.

    • Markus Einzinger
    • , Tony Wu
    •  & Marc A. Baldo
  • Perspective |

    Three years of investigation by a multi-disciplinary team into claims of ‘cold fusion’ found no evidence that the phenomenon exists, but identified a parameter space potentially worthy of further exploration.

    • Curtis P. Berlinguette
    • , Yet-Ming Chiang
    •  & Matthew D. Trevithick
  • Letter |

    Using a double-aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope, intercalation of lithium between two graphene sheets is found to produce a dense, multilayer lithium phase, rather than the expected single layer.

    • Matthias Kühne
    • , Felix Börrnert
    •  & Jurgen H. Smet
  • Letter |

    A robust ceramic/refractory metal (ZrC/W)-based composite for use in heat exchangers in concentrated solar power plants above 1,023 kelvin is described, having attractive high-temperature thermal, mechanical and chemical properties combined with cost-effective processing.

    • M. Caccia
    • , M. Tabandeh-Khorshid
    •  & K. H. Sandhage