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      Recent advances in metal sulfides: from controlled fabrication to electrocatalytic, photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical water splitting and beyond

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          This review describes an in-depth overview and knowledge on the variety of synthetic strategies for forming metal sulfides and their potential use to achieve effective hydrogen generation and beyond.


          In recent years, nanocrystals of metal sulfide materials have attracted scientific research interest for renewable energy applications due to the abundant choice of materials with easily tunable electronic, optical, physical and chemical properties. Metal sulfides are semiconducting compounds where sulfur is an anion associated with a metal cation; and the metal ions may be in mono-, bi- or multi-form. The diverse range of available metal sulfide materials offers a unique platform to construct a large number of potential materials that demonstrate exotic chemical, physical and electronic phenomena and novel functional properties and applications. To fully exploit the potential of these fascinating materials, scalable methods for the preparation of low-cost metal sulfides, heterostructures, and hybrids of high quality must be developed. This comprehensive review indicates approaches for the controlled fabrication of metal sulfides and subsequently delivers an overview of recent progress in tuning the chemical, physical, optical and nano- and micro-structural properties of metal sulfide nanocrystals using a range of material fabrication methods. For hydrogen energy production, three major approaches are discussed in detail: electrocatalytic hydrogen generation, powder photocatalytic hydrogen generation and photoelectrochemical water splitting. A variety of strategies such as structural tuning, composition control, doping, hybrid structures, heterostructures, defect control, temperature effects and porosity effects on metal sulfide nanocrystals are discussed and how they are exploited to enhance performance and develop future energy materials. From this literature survey, energy conversion currently relies on a limited range of metal sulfides and their composites, and several metal sulfides are immature in terms of their dissolution, photocorrosion and long-term durability in electrolytes during water splitting. Future research directions for innovative metal sulfides should be closely allied to energy and environmental issues, along with their advanced characterization, and developing new classes of metal sulfide materials with well-defined fabrication methods.

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          Most cited references1,003

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          Electrochemical Photolysis of Water at a Semiconductor Electrode

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            A metal-free polymeric photocatalyst for hydrogen production from water under visible light.

            The production of hydrogen from water using a catalyst and solar energy is an ideal future energy source, independent of fossil reserves. For an economical use of water and solar energy, catalysts that are sufficiently efficient, stable, inexpensive and capable of harvesting light are required. Here, we show that an abundant material, polymeric carbon nitride, can produce hydrogen from water under visible-light irradiation in the presence of a sacrificial donor. Contrary to other conducting polymer semiconductors, carbon nitride is chemically and thermally stable and does not rely on complicated device manufacturing. The results represent an important first step towards photosynthesis in general where artificial conjugated polymer semiconductors can be used as energy transducers.
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              Electronics and optoelectronics of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides.

              The remarkable properties of graphene have renewed interest in inorganic, two-dimensional materials with unique electronic and optical attributes. Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) are layered materials with strong in-plane bonding and weak out-of-plane interactions enabling exfoliation into two-dimensional layers of single unit cell thickness. Although TMDCs have been studied for decades, recent advances in nanoscale materials characterization and device fabrication have opened up new opportunities for two-dimensional layers of thin TMDCs in nanoelectronics and optoelectronics. TMDCs such as MoS(2), MoSe(2), WS(2) and WSe(2) have sizable bandgaps that change from indirect to direct in single layers, allowing applications such as transistors, photodetectors and electroluminescent devices. We review the historical development of TMDCs, methods for preparing atomically thin layers, their electronic and optical properties, and prospects for future advances in electronics and optoelectronics.

                Author and article information

                Chemical Society Reviews
                Chem. Soc. Rev.
                Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
                July 29 2019
                : 48
                : 15
                : 4178-4280
                [1 ]College of Chemistry and Environmental Engineering
                [2 ]Shenzhen University
                [3 ]Shenzhen 518060
                [4 ]China
                [5 ]Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Special Functional Materials
                [6 ]Guangdong Research Center for Interfacial Engineering of Functional Materials
                [7 ]College of Materials Science and Engineering
                [8 ]Department of Mechanical Engineering
                [9 ]University of Bath
                [10 ]Bath
                [11 ]UK
                [12 ]School of Materials Science and Engineering
                [13 ]Georgia Institute of Technology
                [14 ]Atlanta
                [15 ]USA
                [16 ]School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
                [17 ]Guangzhou University
                [18 ]Guangzhou
                © 2019




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