2D perovskites is one of the proposed strategies to enhance the moisture resistance, since the larger organic cations can act as a natural barrier. Nevertheless, 2D perovskites hinder the charge transport in certain directions, reducing the solar cell power conversion efficiency. A nanostructured mixed-dimensionality approach is presented to overcome the charge transport limitation, obtaining power conversion efficiencies over 9%.
Recent progress on highly tough and stretchable polymer networks has highlighted the potential of wearable electronic devices and structural biomaterials such as cartilage. For some given applications, a combination of desirable mechanical properties including stiffness, strength, toughness, damping, fatigue resistance, and self-healing ability is required. However, integrating such a rigorous set of requirements imposes substantial complexity and difficulty in the design and fabrication of these polymer networks, and has rarely been realized. Here, we describe the construction of supramolecular polymer networks through an in situ copolymerization of acrylamide and functional monomers, which are dynamically complexed with the host molecule cucurbituril (CB). High molecular weight, thus sufficient chain entanglement, combined with a small-amount dynamic CB-mediated non-covalent crosslinking (2.5 mol%), yields extremely stretchable and tough supramolecular polymer networks, exhibiting remarkable self-healing capability at room temperature. These supramolecular polymer networks can be stretched more than 100× their original length and are able to lift objects 2000× their weight. The reversible association/dissociation of the host-guest complexes bestows the networks with remarkable energy dissipation capability, but also facile complete self-healing at room temperature. In addition to their outstanding mechanical properties, the networks are ionically conductive and transparent. The CB-based supramolecular networks are synthetically accessible in large scale and exhibit outstanding mechanical properties. They could readily lead to the promising use as wearable and self-healable electronic devices, sensors and structural biomaterials.
Biomimetic supramolecular dual networks: By mimicking the structure/function model of titin, integration of dynamic cucurbituril mediated host-guest interactions with a trace amount of covalent cross-linking leads to hierarchical dual networks with intriguing toughness, strength, elasticity, and energy dissipation properties. Dynamic host-guest interactions can be dissociated as sacrificial bonds and their facile reformation results in self-recovery of the dual network structure as well as its mechanical properties.
The combination of novel materials with flexible electronic technology may yield new concepts of flexible electronic devices that effectively detect various biological chemicals to facilitate understanding of biological processes and conduct health monitoring. This paper demonstrates single- or multichannel implantable flexible sensors that are surface modified with conductive metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) such as copper-MOF and cobalt-MOF with large surface area, high porosity, and tunable catalysis capability. The sensors can monitor important nutriments such as ascorbicacid, glycine, l-tryptophan (l-Trp), and glucose with detection resolutions of 14.97, 0.71, 4.14, and 54.60 × 10-6 m, respectively. In addition, they offer sensing capability even under extreme deformation and complex surrounding environment with continuous monitoring capability for 20 d due to minimized use of biological active chemicals. Experiments using live cells and animals indicate that the MOF-modified sensors are biologically safe to cells, and can detect l-Trp in blood and interstitial fluid. This work represents the first effort in integrating MOFs with flexible sensors to achieve highly specific and sensitive implantable electrochemical detection and may inspire appearance of more flexible electronic devices with enhanced capability in sensing, energy storage, and catalysis using various properties of MOFs.
Solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are electricity generators that can convert the chemical energy in various fuels directly to the electric power with high efficiency. Recent advances in materials and related key components for SOFCs operating at ≈500 °C are summarized here, with a focus on the materials, structures, and techniques development for low-temperature SOFCs, including the analysis of most of the critical parameters affecting the electrochemical performance of the electrolyte, anode, and cathode. New strategies, such as thin-film deposition, exsolution of nanoparticles from perovskites, microwave plasma heating, and finger-like channeled electrodes, are discussed. These recent developments highlight the need for electrodes with higher activity and electrolytes with greater conductivity to generate a high electrochemical performance at lower temperatures.
Given their highly porous nature and excellent water retention, hydrogel-based biomaterials can mimic critical properties of the native cellular environment. However, their potential to emulate the electromechanical milieu of native tissues or conform well with the curved topology of human organs needs to be further explored to address a broad range of physiological demands of the body. In this regard, the incorporation of nanomaterials within hydrogels has shown great promise, as a simple one-step approach, to generate multifunctional scaffolds with previously unattainable biological, mechanical, and electrical properties. Here, recent advances in the fabrication and application of nanocomposite hydrogels in tissue engineering applications are described, with specific attention toward skeletal and electroactive tissues, such as cardiac, nerve, bone, cartilage, and skeletal muscle. Additionally, some potential uses of nanoreinforced hydrogels within the emerging disciplines of cyborganics, bionics, and soft biorobotics are highlighted.
The fundamental colloidal properties of pristine graphene flakes remain incompletely understood, with conflicting reports about their chemical character, hindering potential applications that could exploit the extraordinary electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties of graphene. Here, the true amphipathic nature of pristine graphene flakes is demonstrated through wet-chemistry testing, optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and density functional theory, molecular dynamics, and Monte Carlo calculations, and it is shown how this fact paves the way for the formation of ultrastable water/oil emulsions. In contrast to commonly used graphene oxide flakes, pristine graphene flakes possess well-defined hydrophobic and hydrophilic regions: the basal plane and edges, respectively, the interplay of which allows small flakes to be utilized as stabilizers with an amphipathic strength that depends on the edge-to-surface ratio. The interactions between flakes can be also controlled by varying the oil-to-water ratio. In addition, it is predicted that graphene flakes can be efficiently used as a new-generation stabilizer that is active under high pressure, high temperature, and in saline solutions, greatly enhancing the efficiency and functionality of applications based on this material.