Frontiers of Materials Science


ISSN 2095-025X (Print)
ISSN 2095-0268 (Online)
CN 11-5985/TB
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A general synthesis strategy for the multifunctional 3D polypyrrole foam of thin 2D nanosheets
Jiangli XUE, Maosong MO, Zhuming LIU, Dapeng YE, Zhihua CHENG, Tong XU, Liangti QU
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (2): 105-117.
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A 3D macroporous conductive polymer foam of thin 2D polypyrrole (PPy) nanosheets is developed by adopting a novel intercalation of guest (monomer Py) between the layers of the lamellar host (3D vanadium oxide foam) template-replication strategy. The 3D PPy foam of thin 2D nanosheets exhibits diverse functions including reversible compressibility, shape memory, absorption/adsorption and mechanically deformable supercapacitor characteristics. The as-prepared 3D PPy foam of thin nanosheets is highly light weight with a density of 12 mg·cm−3 which can bear the large compressive strain up to 80% whether in wet or dry states; and can absorb organic solutions or extract dye molecules fast and efficiently. In particular, the PPy nanosheet-based foam as a mechanically deformable electrode material for supercapacitors exhibits high specific capacitance of 70 F·g−1 at a fast charge–discharge rate of 50 mA·g−1, superior to that of any other typical pure PPy-based capacitor. We envision that the strategy presented here should be applicable to fabrication of a wide variety of organic polymer foams and hydrogels of low-dimensional nanostructures and even inorganic foams and hydrogels of low-dimensional nanostructures, and thus allow for exploration of their advanced physical and chemical properties.

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Synthesis, characterization, antibacterial and photocatalytic performance of Ag/AgI/TiO2 hollow sphere composites
Zhihong JING, Xiue LIU, Yan DU, Yuanchun HE, Tingjiang YAN, Wenliang WANG, Wenjuan LI
Front. Mater. Sci.    2020, 14 (1): 1-13.
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Dispersed TiO2 hollow spheres were successfully prepared which was obtained via Ostwald ripening under solvothermal conditions without any templates or surfactants. Then, the AgI/TiO2 was synthesized by the deposition−precipitation process. Finally, Ag/AgI/TiO2 was obtained by a photocatalytic reduction way. Their characteristics were analyzed by XRD, SEM, HRTEM, N2 adsorption−desorption measurements and UV-vis absorption spectra. To demonstrate the potential applications of such composites, their antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli (E. coli) was studied by microcalorimetry for the first time, and their photocatalytic performance for degradation of different organic dyes under simulated UV and visible light was discussed. The results indicated that Ag/AgI/TiO2 hollow spheres revealed elevated antibacterial and photocatalytic activity because of their unique morphology, hollow structure and high surface area. The mechanism of the excellent antibacterial and photocatalytic activity of Ag/AgI/TiO2 hollow spheres are discussed which are attributed to the synergetic effect of Ag, AgI and TiO2. It suggested that the new Ag/AgI/TiO2 photocatalyst has broad application prospects in solar cell, sensor, antibacterial, catalysis and nanotechnology.

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Honeycomb-like polyaniline for flexible and folding all-solid-state supercapacitors
Ge JU, Muhammad Arif KHAN, Huiwen ZHENG, Zhongxun AN, Mingxia WU, Hongbin ZHAO, Jiaqiang XU, Lei ZHANG, Salma BILAL, Jiujun ZHANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 133-144.
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Porous polyaniline (PANI) was prepared through an efficient and cost-effective method by polymerization of aniline in the NaCl solution at room temperature. The resulting PANI provided large surface area due to its highly porous structure and the intercrossed nanorod, resulting in good electrochemical performance. The porous PANI electrodes showed a high specific capacitance of 480 F∙g−1, 3 times greater than that of PANI without using the NaCl solution. We also make chemically crosslinked hydrogel film for hydrogel polymer electrolyte as well as the flexible supercapacitors (SCs) with PANI. The specific capacitance of the device was 234 F∙g−1 at the current density of 1 A∙g−1. The energy density of the device could reach as high as 75 W∙h∙kg−1 while the power density was 0.5 kW∙kg−1, indicating that PANI be a promising material in flexible SCs.

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Application of BIB polishing technology in cross-section preparation of porous, layered and powder materials: A review
Rongrong JIANG, Ming LI, Yirong YAO, Jianmin GUAN, Huanming LU
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 107-125.
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For the accuracy of experimental results, preparing a high quality polished surface and cross-section of the materials for further analysis using electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD), electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), and scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is extremely important. Broad ion beam (BIB) polishing, a method based on the principle of ion bombardment, has irreplaceable advantages. It makes up for the drawbacks and limitations of traditional polishing methods such as mechanical polishing, electrochemical polishing, and chemical polishing. The ions will not leave the bombardment area during polishing, which makes the BIB method suitable for porous materials. The energy of the ion beam can be adjusted according to the sample to reduce the deformation and strain of the polishing area, especially for fragile, soft, and hard materials. The conditions that need to be controlled during BIB polishing are simple. This paper demonstrated the unique advantages of BIB polishing technology in porous, layered and powder materials characterization through some typical application examples, and guided more researchers to understand and utilize BIB polishing technology in the development of new applications.

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Preparation of sulfur-doped graphene fibers and their application in flexible fibriform micro-supercapacitors
Bin CAI, Changxiang SHAO, Liangti QU, Yuning MENG, Lin JIN
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 145-155.
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A novel type of sulfur-doped graphene fibers (S-GFs) were prepared by the hydrothermal strategy, the in situ interfacial polymerization method and the annealing method. Two S-GFs were assembled into an all-solid-state fibriform micro-supercapacitor (micro-SC) that is flexible and has a high specific capacitance (4.55 mF·cm−2) with the current density of 25.47 μA·cm−2. The cyclic voltammetry (CV) curve of this micro-SC kept the rectangular shape well even when the scan rate reached 2 V·s−1. There is a great potential for this type of S-GFs used in flexible wearable electronics.

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Synthesis of nitrogen-doped carbon spheres using the modified Stöber method for supercapacitors
Meng LIU, Lei LIU, Yifeng YU, Haijun LV, Aibing CHEN, Senlin HOU
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 156-164.
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Nitrogen-doped carbon spheres (NCSs) with uniform and regular morphology were facilely prepared by the modified Stöber method. Hexamethylenetetramine (HMT) was selected as the starting material, which decomposed to provide nitrogen and carbon sources for the synthesis of NCSs. The decomposition product formaldehyde polymerized to form carbon skeleton with resorcinol after carbonization, and the in-situ nitrogen doping was achieved with the decomposed nitrogen source. NCSs were obtained with regular spherical morphology, high specific surface area, and suitable nitrogen doping. When used as the electrode material, NCSs exhibited good capacitance and electrochemical stability, indicating that NCSs be the promising candidate for the electrode material of high-performance supercapacitors.

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Biocompatible, small-sized and well-dispersed gold nanoparticles regulated by silk fibroin fiber from Bombyx mori cocoons
Chengzhi YANG, Shikun CHEN, Huilan SU, Haoyue ZHANG, Jianfei TANG, Cuiping GUO, Fang SONG, Wang ZHANG, Jiajun GU, Qinglei LIU
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 126-132.
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Biocompatible, small-sized but well-dispersed gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) remain a major challenge for their synthesis. Here a convenient solution impregnation technique is developed to prepare such Au NPs under the regulation of degummed silk fibroin fibers (SFFs) extracted from Bombyx mori cocoons. SFFs play multiple roles in the formation of Au NPs such as reactive substrate to capture AuCl4 ions by the chelation of −C=O, reducing agent for Au(0) by the reduction of −OH, and modifiers to render biocompatible Au NPs by some functional groups and biomolecules. The as-prepared Au NPs with a size of 7–10 nm are embedded in the solid SFF substrate, and can disperse well in the liquid system by the disintegration of SFFs into silk fibroin (SF) in a certain CaCl2 solution. The biocompatible Au NPs exhibit uniform small size and distribute stably in both solid and solution states, which have distinctive properties and functional advantages, and bring great convenience to their storage and transportation.

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Sprayable and rapidly bondable phenolic-metal coating for versatile oil/water separation
Heling GUO, Xiaolin WANG, Xie LI, Xiulan ZHANG, Xinghuan LIU, Yu DAI, Rongjie WANG, Xuhong GUO, Xin JIA
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 193-205.
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Phenolic-metal complexation coatings have been discovered to be a universal route for the deposition of multifunctional coatings. However, most complexation coatings have been prepared by the immersion method, which limits their practical large-scale application. Herein, we describe a facile and green engineering strategy that involves spraying phenolic compound and metal ions on substrate to form in-situ complexation coating with different coordination states. The coating is formed within minutes and it can be achieved in large scale by the spray method. The pyrogallol-FeIII complexation coating is prepared at pH 7.5, which consists predominantly of bis-coordination complexation with a small amount of tris-coordination complexation. It displays that the water contact angle is near zero due to the generation of rough hierarchical structures and massive hydroxyl groups. The superhydrophilic cotton resulting from the deposition of the pyrogallol-FeIII complexation can separate oil/water mixtures and surfactant-stabilized oil-in-water emulsions with high separation efficiency. The formation of the phenolic-metal complexation coating by using spray technique constitutes a cost-effective and environmentally friendly, strategy with potential to be applied for large-scale surface engineering processes and green oil/water separation.

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Heterogeneous Fenton-like discoloration of methyl orange using Fe3O4/MWCNTs as catalyst: combination mechanism and affecting parameters
Huan-Yan XU, Yuan WANG, Tian-Nuo SHI, Hang ZHAO, Qu TAN, Bo-Chao ZHAO, Xiu-Lan HE, Shu-Yan QI
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (1): 21-33.
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Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) can act not only as a support for Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) but also as a coworker with synergistic effect, accordingly improving the heterogeneous Fenton-like efficiency of Fe3O4 NPs. In this study, Fe3O4 NPs were in situ anchored onto MWCNTs by a moderate co-precipitation method and the as-prepared Fe3O4/MWCNTs nanocomposites were employed as the highly efficient Fenton-like catalysts. The analyses of XRD, FTIR, Raman, FESEM, TEM and HRTEM results indicated the formation of Fe3O4 crystals in Fe3O4/MWCNTs nanocomposites prepared at different conditions and the interaction between Fe3O4 NPs and MWCNTs. Over a wide pH range, the surface of modified MWCNTs possessed negative charges. Based on these results, the possible combination mechanism between Fe3O4 NPs and MWCNTs was discussed and proposed. Moreover, the effects of preparation and catalytic conditions on the Fenton-like catalytic efficiency were investigated in order to gain further insight into the heterogeneous Fenton-like reaction catalyzed by Fe3O4/MWCNTs nanocomposites.

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Upconversion optical nanomaterials applied for photocatalysis and photovoltaics: Recent advances and perspectives
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (4): 335-341.
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Upconversion (UC) lanthanide nanomaterials have attracted enormous attention in the last two decades thanks to their unique ability to convert low-energy infrared photons into high-energy photons. In this mini-review, we briefly discussed the recent achievements related to the direct utilization of UC optical nanomaterials for photocatalysis and photovoltaic applications. In particular, selected examples of UC-containing devices/nanocomposites with improved performance were covered. In addition, we outlined some challenges and future trends associated with the widespread usage of UC nanomaterials.

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Preparation of carbon nanotube/epoxy composite films with high tensile strength and electrical conductivity by impregnation under pressure
Heng CHEN, Yun CHEN, Hang ZHAN, Guang WU, Jian Ming XU, Jian Nong WANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 165-173.
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Based on the production of a carbon nanotube (CNT) assembly, a new technique is developed for preparing CNT/epoxy (EP) composite films with high tensile strength and electrical conductivity. CNTs are synthesized by floating catalyst spray pyrolysis. After self-assembling into a hollow cylindrical assembly, CNTs are drawn and wound on a rotating drum to form a uniform CNT film. EP resin solutions of different concentrations are used to fill into the pores within the film under different pressures and form composite films after hot-press curing. The permeability of the EP resin and thus the interfacial bonding between the CNT and the EP resin are studied by varying the concentration of the EP resin solution and the pressure used for impregnation. Under optimal preparation conditions, the composite film contains CNTs of a high content of 59 wt.%, and shows a high tensile strength of 1.4 GPa and a high electrical conductivity of 1.4×105 S·m−1, 159% and 309% higher than those of the neat CNT film, respectively.

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A soft tissue adhesive based on aldehyde-sodium alginate and amino-carboxymethyl chitosan preparation through the Schiff reaction
Yu WU, Liu YUAN, Nai-an SHENG, Zi-qi GU, Wen-hao FENG, Hai-yue YIN, Yosry MORSI, Xiu-mei MO
Front. Mater. Sci.    2017, 11 (3): 215-222.
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Sodium alginate and carboxymethyl chitosan have been extensively applied in tissue engineering and other relative fields due to their low price and excellent biocompatibility. In this paper, we oxidized sodium alginate with sodium periodate to convert 1,2-hydroxyl groups into aldehyde groups to get aldehyde-sodium alginate (A-SA). Carboxymethyl chitosan was modified with ethylenediamine (ED) in the presence of water-soluble N-(3-Dimethylaminopropyl)-N′-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) to introduce additional amino groups to get amino-carboxymethyl chitosan (A-CS). Upon mixing the A-SA and A-CS aqueous solutions together, a gel rapidly formed based on the Schiff’s base reaction between aldehyde groups in A-SA and amino groups in A-CS. FTIR analysis confirmed the characteristic peak of Schiff’s base group in the hydrogel. It was confirmed that the gelation time be dependent on the aldehyde group content in A-SA and amino group content in A-CS. The fasted hydrogel formation takes place within 10 min. The data of bonding strength and cytotoxicity measurement also showed that the hydrogel had good adhesion and biocompatibility. All these results support that this gel has the potential as soft tissue adhesive.

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SnO2 nanoparticles anchored on graphene oxide as advanced anode materials for high-performance lithium-ion batteries
Ruiping LIU, Ning ZHANG, Xinyu WANG, Chenhui YANG, Hui CHENG, Hanqing ZHAO
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 186-192.
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Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) with high energy density have attracted great attention for their wide applications in electric vehicles, and the exploration of the next-generation anode materials with high theoretical capacity is highly desired. In this work, SnO2 nanoparticles with the particle size of 200 nm uniformly anchored on the surface of graphene oxide (GO) was prepared by combination of the ultrasonic method and the following calcination process. The SnO2/GO composite with the weight ratio of SnO2 to GO at 4:1 exhibits excellent electrochemical performance, which originates from the synergistic effects between GO and SnO2 nanoparticles. A high discharge capacity of 492 mA·h·g−1 can be obtained after 100 cycles at 0.2C, and after cycling at higher current densities of 1C and 2C, a discharge capacity of 641 mA·h·g−1 can be restored when the current density goes back to 0.1C. The superior electrochemical performance and simple synthesis process make it a very promising candidate as anode materials for LIBs.

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Pr-doped In2O3 nanocubes induce oxygen vacancies for enhancing triethylamine gas-sensing performance
Chao WANG, Wu WANG, Ke HE, Shantang LIU
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 174-185.
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Nanocubes derived from pure In2O3 and xPr-In2O3 (x= 1, 2, 3 and 5 mol.%) were synthesized using a facile hydrothermal method, followed by calcination. The morphological and structural characterization demonstrated that as-synthesized samples presented regular cubes that decreased in size with the increase of the Pr doping. The data showed that the sensing performances of sensors based on In2O3 were notably improved after the Pr doping. Among them, the sensor based on 2 mol.% Pr-In2O3 had the best sensing performance towards the triethylamine (TEA) gas, including a high response (Ra/Rg = 260 to 100 ppm TEA gas, which is about 12 times higher than that of the sensor based on pure In2O3), a short response time (2 s), and a low detection limit (0.2 ppm) at 350 °C. The mechanism responsible for the enhancement of sensing performance was attributed to the improvement of the vacancy content of 2 mol.% Pr-In2O3, which promoted the oxidation–reduction reaction with the TEA gas that occurred on the materials surface.

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Utilization of surface differences to improve dyeing properties of poly(m-phenylene isophthalamide) membranes
Shenshen OUYANG, Tao WANG, Longgang ZHONG, Shunli WANG, Sheng WANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (2): 129-138.
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Bulk poly(m-phenylene isophthalamide) (PMIA) can achieve flexibility upon dissolution by a LiCl/dimethylacetamide co-solvent, but remains hydrophobic despite the occasional emergence of cis amide groups providing a weak negative charge. In this study, based on the significant surface differences between PMIA membranes processed by nanofiber electrospinning and casting, a series of chemical analyses, in-situ Au nanoparticle depositions, and dye-adsorption experiments revealed that more cis-configuration amide groups appeared on the surface of the electrospun PMIA membrane than on that of the cast membrane. Based on this surface difference, a strategy was proposed to improve the dyeing properties of PMIA by reversibly changing the cis/trans configurations of electrospun and cast membranes. The reversible chain–segment switch mechanism is a novel method for tuning the macroscale properties of polymer materials based on inherent molecular characteristics.

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Structural whiteness of the multi-component glaze dependence on amorphous photonic crystals
Hongquan ZHAN, Chuanqi WU, Ce DENG, Xiaohong LI, Zhipeng XIE, Changan WANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (2): 206-215.
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A kind of enhancing mechanism of structural whiteness dependence on amorphous photonic crystal (APC) structure is introduced in this paper. In the glaze system composed of albite, kaolin, talc, calcite, quartz, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, the APC structure will be produced by using quartz as a variable to induce the phase separation. Under different polarities between Ti, Zn etc. and Si ion, the separated spheres with the core–shell structure can be obtained and then make up opal-like APCs in the glaze layer. In addition to inner and outer layers of core–shell spheres, the calculated results of refractive indices clearly show the great difference between the particles and the matrix. As a result of different refractive indices, the multiple scatting of visible light plays a key role in the structural whiteness. However, due to the decrease of the cationic content, APCs with the reverse opal structure would be formed in the interface between glaze and body. Ultimately, the glaze appearance reveals extremely high structural whiteness due to the special APC structure.

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Hydrophobic interaction membrane chromatography for bioseparation and responsive polymer ligands involved
Jingling CHEN, Rong PENG, Xiaonong CHEN
Front. Mater. Sci.    2017, 11 (3): 197-214.
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Hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) is a rapid growing bioseparation technique, which separates biomolecules, such as therapeutic proteins and antibodys, based on the reversible hydrophobic interaction between immobilized hydrophobic ligands on chromatographic resin spheres and non-polar regions of solute molecule. In this review, the fundamental concepts of HIC and the factors that may affect purification efficiency of HIC is summarized, followed by the comparison of HIC with affinity chromatography and ion-exchange chromatography. Hydrophobic interaction membrane chromatography (HIMC) combines the advantages of HIC and membrane process and has showed great potential in bioseparation. For better understanding of HIMC, this review presents an overview of two main concerns about HIMC, i.e. membrane materials and hydrophobic ligands. Specifically, cellulose fiber-based membrane substrate and environment-responsive ligands are emphasized.

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Novel robust cellulose-based foam with pH and light dual-response for oil recovery
Qian WANG, Guihua MENG, Jianning WU, Yixi WANG, Zhiyong LIU, Xuhong GUO
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (2): 118-128.
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We fabricated pH and light dual-responsive adsorption materials which could induce the transition of surface wettability between hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity by using ATRP. The structure and morphology of adsorption materials were confirmed by ATR-FTIR, XPS, TGA and SEM. It showed that the modified cellulose (CE)-based foam was hydrophobic, which can adsorb a range of oils and organic solvents in water under pH= 7.0 or visible light irradiation (λ>500 nm). Meanwhile, the wettability of robust CE-based foam can convert hydrophobicity into hydrophilicity and underwater oleophobicity under pH= 3.0 or UV irradiation (λ = 365 nm), giving rise to release oils and organic solvents. Most important of all, the adsorption and desorption processes of the modified CE-based foam could be switched by external stimuli. Furthermore, the modified CE-based foam was not damaged and still retained original performance after reversible cycle repeated for many times with variation of surface wettability. In short, it indicates that CE-based foam materials with switchable surface wettability are new responsive absorbent materials and have owned potential application in the treatment of oil recovery.

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Rare-earth coordination polymer micro/nanomaterials: Preparation, properties and applications
Honghong ZOU, Lei WANG, Chenghui ZENG, Xiaolei GAO, Qingqing WANG, Shengliang ZHONG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (4): 327-347.
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Rare-earth coordination polymers (RECPs), as a family member of coordination polymers (CPs), have been prepared and studied widely. Thanks to their characteristic properties and functions, RECPs have already been used in various application fields ranging from catalysis to drug delivery. In recent years, CPs with tunable morphologies and sizes have drawn increasing interest and attractive attention. This review presents the recent research progress of RECP micro/nanomaterials, and emphasizes the preparation, properties and broad applications of these fascinating materials.

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CoP nanoparticles enwrapped in N-doped carbon nanotubes for high performance lithium-ion battery anodes
Mengna CHEN, Peiyuan ZENG, Yueying ZHAO, Zhen FANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (3): 214-224.
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CoP is a candidate lithium storage material for its high theoretical capacity. However, large volume variations during the cycling processes haunted its application. In this work, a four-step strategy was developed to synthesize N-doped carbon nanotubes wrapping CoP nanoparticles (CoP@N-CNTs). Integration of nanosized particles and hollow-doped CNTs render the as-prepared CoP@N-CNTs excellent cycling stability with a reversible charge capacity of 648 mA·h·g−1 at 0.2 C after 100 cycles. The present strategy has potential application in the synthesis of phosphide enwrapped in carbon nanotube composites which have potential application in lithium-ion storage and energy conversion.

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Graphene-based bipolar plates for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells
Ram Sevak SINGH, Anurag GAUTAM, Varun RAI
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (3): 217-241.
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Bipolar plates (BPs) are a major component of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). BPs play a multifunctional character within a PEMFC stack. It is one of the most costly and critical part of the fuel cell, and hence the development of efficient and cost-effective BPs is of much interest for the fabrication of next-generation PEMFCs in future. Owing to high electrical conductivity and chemical inertness, graphene is an ideal candidate to be utilized in BPs. This paper reviews recent advances in the area of graphene-based BPs for PEMFC applications. Various aspects including the momentous functions of BPs in the PEMFC, favorable features of graphene-based BPs, performance evaluation of various reported BPs with their advantages and disadvantages, challenges at commercial level products and future prospects of frontier research in this direction are extensively documented.

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SrTiO3/TiO2 heterostructure nanowires with enhanced electron--hole separation for efficient photocatalytic activity
Liuxin YANG, Zhou CHEN, Jian ZHANG, Chang-An WANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (4): 342-351.
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Heterostructure is an effective strategy to facilitate the charge carrier separation and promote the photocatalytic performance. In this paper, uniform SrTiO3 nanocubes were in-situ grown on TiO2 nanowires to construct heterojunctions. The composites were prepared by a facile alkaline hydrothermal method and an in-situ deposition method. The obtained SrTiO3/TiO2 exhibits much better photocatalytic activity than those of pure TiO2 nanowires and commercial TiO2 (P25) evaluated by photocatalytic water splitting and decomposition of Rhodamine B (RB). The hydrogen generation rate of SrTiO3/TiO2 nanowires could reach 111.26 mmol·g−1·h−1 at room temperature, much better than those of pure TiO2 nanowires (44.18 mmol·g−1·h−1) and P25 (35.77 mmol·g−1·h−1). The RB decomposition rate of SrTiO3/TiO2 is 7.2 times of P25 and 2.4 times of pure TiO2 nanowires. The photocatalytic activity increases initially and then decreases with the rising content of SrTiO3, suggesting an optimum SrTiO3/TiO2 ratio that can further enhance the catalytic activity. The improved photocatalytic activity of SrTiO3/TiO2 is principally attributed to the enhanced charge separation deriving from the SrTiO3/TiO2 heterojunction.

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Plasmon-enhanced solar water splitting with metal oxide nanostructures: A brief overview of recent trends
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (3): 207-213.
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In the last decade, the surface plasmon resonance-enhanced solar water splitting (SWS) has been actively investigated for improved hydrogen production. In this mini-review, we briefly introduce the mechanisms for plasmon-enhanced SWS and then review some representative studies related to these mechanisms. In addition, we also briefly discuss how metal oxide geometry affects the SWS activity in combined metal--semiconductor nanostructures. Finally, we summarize the recent discoveries and proposed a future vision for plasmon-enhanced SWS with metal oxide nanostructures.

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MoS2/CoS2 composites composed of CoS2 octahedrons and MoS2 nano-flowers for supercapacitor electrode materials
Haiyan LI, Yucheng ZHAO, Chang-An WANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (4): 354-360.
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In pursuing excellent supercapacitor electrodes, we designed a series of MoS2/CoS2 composites consisting of flower-liked MoS2 and octahedron-shaped CoS2 through a facile one-step hydrothermal method and investigated the electrochemical performance of the samples with various hydrothermal time. Due to the coupling of two metal species and a big amount of well-developed CoS2 and MoS2, the results indicated that the MoS2/CoS2 composites electrodes exhibited the best electrochemical performance with a large specific capacitance of 490 F/g at 2 mV/s or 400 F/g at 10 A/g among all samples as the hydrothermal time reached 48 h (MCS48). Furthermore, the retention of MCS48 is 93.1% after 10000 cycles at 10 A/g, which manifests the excellent cycling stability. The outstanding electrochemical performance of MCS48 indicates that it could be a very promising and novel energy storage material for supercapacitors in the future.

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A two-step approach to synthesis of Co(OH)2/γ-NiOOH/reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite for high performance supercapacitors
Ke ZHAN, Tong YIN, Yuan XUE, Yinwen TAN, Yihao ZHOU, Ya YAN, Bin ZHAO
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (3): 273-282.
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A two-step approach was reported to fabricate cobaltous?hydroxide/γ-nickel?oxide?hydroxide/reduced graphene oxide (Co(OH)2/γ-NiOOH/RGO) nanocomposites on nickel foam by combining the reduction of graphene oxide with the help of reflux condensation and the subsequent hydrothermal of Co(OH)2 on RGO. The microstructural, surface morphology and electrochemical properties of the Co(OH)2/γ-NiOOH/RGO nanocomposite were investigated. The results showed that the surface of the first-step fabricated γ-NiOOH/RGO nanocomposites was uniformly coated by Co(OH)2 nanoflakes with lateral size of tens of nm and thickness of several nm. Co(OH)2/γ-NiOOH/RGO nanocomposite demonstrated a high specific capacitance (745 mF/cm2 at 0.5 mA/cm2) and a cycling stability of 69.8% after 1000 cycles at 30 mV/cm2. γ-NiOOH/RGO//Co(OH)2/γ-NiOOH/RGO asymmetric supercapacitor was assembled, and maximum gravimetric energy density of 57.3 W?h/kg and power density of 66.1 kW/kg were achieved. The synergistic effect between the highly conductive graphene and the nanoflake Co(OH)2 structure was responsible for the high electrochemical performance of the hybrid electrode. It is expected that this research could offer a simple method to prepare graphene-based electrode materials.

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High performance sandwich structured Si thin film anodes with LiPON coating
Xinyi LUO, Jialiang LANG, Shasha LV, Zhengcao LI
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (2): 147-155.
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The sandwich structured silicon thin film anodes with lithium phosphorus oxynitride (LiPON) coating are synthesized via the radio frequency magnetron sputtering method, whereas the thicknesses of both layers are in the nanometer range, i.e. between 50 and 200 nm. In this sandwich structure, the separator simultaneously functions as a flexible substrate, while the LiPON layer is regarded as a protective layer. This sandwich structure combines the advantages of flexible substrate, which can help silicon release the compressive stress, and the LiPON coating, which can provide a stable artificial solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) film on the electrode. As a result, the silicon anodes are protected well, and the cells exhibit high reversible capacity, excellent cycling stability and good rate capability. All the results demonstrate that this sandwich structure can be a promising option for high performance Si thin film lithium ion batteries.

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Micromagnetic simulation on magnetic properties of Nd2Fe14B/α-Fe nanocomposites with Fe nanowires as the soft phase
Wei LI, Lizhong ZHAO, Zhongwu LIU
Front. Mater. Sci.    2018, 12 (4): 348-353.
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Fe nanowire array with strong shape anisotropy was employed as the soft phase in Nd–Fe–B based nanocomposites. The effects of the Fe nanowire distribution on magnetic properties of the nanocomposites were investigated by micromagnetic simulation. The results indicate that the shape anisotropy of Fe wires added in the same direction as the uniaxial magnetocrystalline anisotropy of the hard phase cannot increase the coercivity of the nanocomposite. When the nanowires are distributed perpendicular to the easy axis of the hard phase, the shape anisotropy of soft phase can retard the moments from rotating to the full reversed direction, leading to enhanced coercivity. In addition, with increasing the nanowire diameter, the coercivity of the nanocomposite decreases, but the dipolar interaction shows different roles in magnetic reversal of nanocomposite for different distributions of nanowires. The current results suggest that the coercivity of the Nd2Fe14B/α-Fe nanocomposite can be enhanced by introducing the soft magnetic nanowire array with the diameter less than the exchange length and with the long axis along the direction other than the easy axis of hard phase.

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Electroless deposition of Au nanoparticles on reduced graphene oxide/polyimide film for electrochemical detection of hydroquinone and catechol
Xuan SHEN, Xiaohong XIA, Yongling DU, Chunming WANG
Front. Mater. Sci.    2017, 11 (3): 262-270.
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An electrochemical sensor for determination of hydroquinone (HQ) and catechol (CC) was developed using Au nanoparticles (AuNPs) fabricated on reduced graphene oxide/polyimide (PI/RGO) film by electroless deposition. The electrochemical behaviors of HQ and CC at PI/RGO-AuNPs electrode were investigated by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). Under the optimized condition, the current responses at PI/RGO-AuNPs electrode were linear over ranges from 1 to 654 mol/L for HQ and from 2 to 1289 mol/L for CC, with the detection limits of 0.09 and 0.2 mol/L, respectively. The proposed electrode exhibited good reproducibility, stability and selectivity. In addition, the proposed electrode was successfully applied in the determination of HQ and CC in tap water and the Yellow River samples.

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S-, N- and C-doped ZnO as semiconductor photocatalysts: A review
Vijaya KUMARI, Anuj MITTAL, Jitender JINDAL, Suprabha YADAV, Naveen KUMAR
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (1): 1-22.
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In the past few decades, many novel non-metal doped ZnO materials have developed hasty interest due to their adaptable properties such as low recombination rate and high activity under the solar light exposure. In this article, we compiled recent research advances in non-metal (S, N, C) doped ZnO, emphasizing on the related mechanism of catalysis and the effect of non-metals on structural, morphological, optical and photocatalytic characteristics of ZnO. This review will enhance the knowledge about the advancement in ZnO and will help in synthesizing new ZnO-based materials with modified structural and photocatalytic properties.

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A brief overview on synthesis and applications of graphene and graphene-based nanomaterials
Front. Mater. Sci.    2019, 13 (1): 23-32.
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Graphene is a remarkable material with great potential in many applications due to its chemical and physical properties. In this review we briefly present the recent research progress (2016–2018) in graphene and graphene-based nanomaterials synthesis and discuss the practical aspects of using the materials produced via these methods for different graphene-based applications.

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