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  1. As one of the latest additions to the 2D nanomaterials family, black phosphorene (BP, monolayer or few-layer black phosphorus) has gained much attention in various forms of solar cells. This is due largely to its intriguing semiconducting properties such as tunable direct bandgap (from 0.3 eV in the bulk to 2.0 eV in the monolayer), extremely high ambipolar carrier mobility, broad visible to infrared light absorption, etc. These appealing optoelectronic attributes make BP a multifunctional nanomaterial for use in solar cells via tailoring carrier dynamics, band energy alignment, and light harvesting, thereby promoting the rapid development of third-generation solar cells. Notably, in sharp contrast to the copious work on revealing the fundamental properties of BP, investigation into the utility of BP is comparatively less, particularly in the area of photovoltaics. Herein, we first identify and summarize an array of unique characteristics of BP that underpin its application in photovoltaics, aiming at providing inspiration to develop new designs and device architectures of photovoltaics. Subsequently, state-of-the-art synthetic routes ( i.e. , top-down and bottom-up) to scalable BP production that facilitates its applications in optoelectronic materials and devices are outlined. Afterward, recent advances in a diverse set of BP-incorporated solar cells, where BPmore »may impart electron and/or hole extraction and transport, function as a light absorber, provide dielectric screening for enhancing exciton dissociation, and modify the morphology of photoabsorbers, are discussed, including organic solar cells, dye-sensitized solar cells, heterojunction solar cells and perovskite solar cells. Finally, the challenges and opportunities in this rapidly evolving field are presented.« less
  2. The piezo-phototronic effect (a coupling effect of piezoelectric, photoexcitation and semiconducting properties, coined in 2010) has been demonstrated to be an ingenious and robust strategy to manipulate optoelectronic processes by tuning the energy band structure and photoinduced carrier behavior. The piezo-phototronic effect exhibits great potential in improving the quantum yield efficiencies of optoelectronic materials and devices and thus could help increase the energy conversion efficiency, thus alleviating the energy shortage crisis. In this review, the fundamental principles and challenges of representative optoelectronic materials and devices are presented, including photocatalysts (converting solar energy into chemical energy), solar cells (generating electricity directly under light illumination), photodetectors (converting light into electrical signals) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs, converting electric current into emitted light signals). Importantly, the mechanisms of how the piezo-phototronic effect controls the optoelectronic processes and the recent progress and applications in the above-mentioned materials and devices are highlighted and summarized. Only photocatalysts, solar cells, photodetectors, and LEDs that display piezo-phototronic behavior are reviewed. Material and structural design, property characterization, theoretical simulation calculations, and mechanism analysis are then examined as strategies to further enhance the quantum yield efficiency of optoelectronic devices via the piezo-phototronic effect. This comprehensive overview will guide future fundamental andmore »applied studies that capitalize on the piezo-phototronic effect for energy conversion and storage.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 13, 2022
  3. Because of their enhanced quantum confinement, colloidal two-dimensional Ruddlesden–Popper (RP) perovskite nanosheets with a general formula L 2 [ABX 3 ] n −1 BX 4 stand as a promising narrow-wavelength blue-emitting nanomaterial. Despite ample studies on batch synthesis, for RP perovskites to be broadly applied, continuous synthetic routes are needed. Herein, we design and optimize a flow reactor to continuously produce high-quality n = 1 RP perovskite nanoplatelets. The effects of antisolvent composition, reactor tube length, precursor solution injection rate, and antisolvent injection rate on the morphology and optical properties of the nanoplatelets are systematically examined. Our investigation suggests that flow reactors can be employed to synthesize high-quality L 2 PbX 4 perovskite nanoplatelets ( i.e. , n = 1) at rates greater than 8 times that of batch synthesis. Mass-produced perovskite nanoplatelets promise a variety of potential applications in optoelectronics, including light emitting diodes, photodetectors, and solar cells.
  4. Amorphous inorganic semiconductors have attracted growing interest due to their unique electrical and optical properties that arise from their intrinsic disordered structure and thermodynamic metastability. Recently, amorphous inorganic semiconductors have been applied in a variety of new technologies, including solar cells, photoelectrocatalysis, and photocatalysis. It has been reported that amorphous phases can improve both efficiency and stability in these applications. While these phenomena are well established, their mechanisms have long remained unclear. This review first introduces the general background of amorphous inorganic semiconductor properties and synthesis. Then, the recent successes and current challenges of amorphous inorganic semiconductor-based materials for applications in solar cells, photoelectrocatalysis, and photocatalysis are addressed. In particular, we discuss the mechanisms behind the remarkable performances of amorphous inorganic semiconductors in these fields. Finally, we provide insightful perspectives into further developments for applications of amorphous inorganic semiconductors.