Special Issue "Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application"

A special issue of Coatings (ISSN 2079-6412). This special issue belongs to the section "Surface Engineering for Energy Harvesting, Conversion, and Storage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Darius Milčius
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies, Lithuanian Energy Institute, 44403 Kaunas, Lithuania
Interests: Interaction of plasma/ion beams with solids; development of thin films using physical vapor deposition technologies; nanomaterials for solid-state hydrogen storage and SOFC; novel materials for energy applications.
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit your work to this Special Issue on "Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application". The energy market is changing rapidly from centralized generation towards unbundling generation, transmission, distribution, and supply activities. It requires new solutions for materials, and device levels and thin film and coatings could play essential roles in fulfilling the growing energy market demands. A variety of thin-film synthesis methods could be applied. For example, physical vapor deposition technologies allow the formation of metal, alloy, and chemical compounds with strictly controlled composition, microstructures, and stoichiometry at low temperatures. The problem of doping is easily solved by the edition of doping elements in the vapor phase using chemical vapor deposition. Additional ion bombardment during film growth (ion-assisted deposition, plasma enhanced synthesis) modifies new phases synthesis kinetics. Metastable phases with unique properties can be obtained. The aim of this Special Issue is to present the latest experimental and theoretical developments in thin films and coatings applications for both renewable and non-renewable energy sectors, through a combination of original research papers and review articles from leading groups around the world.

In particular, the topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Fundamentals and new concepts in use, modeling, and characterization of thin films and coatings for energy applications
  • New methods for the synthesis of thin films and coatings for energy applications
  • Novel thin films and coatings for catalysis and photocatalysis in energy
  • Thin films and coatings for energy storage devices including but not limited to batteries and supercapacitors
  • Thin films and coatings for hydrogen energy technologies including but not limited to fuel cells and solid-state hydrogen storage
  • Thin films and coatings for solar cells and solar thermal
  • Thin films and coatings for thermoelectric
  • Smart coatings and thin films for energy applications

Dr. Darius Milčius
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Coatings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Evaluation of SnS:Cu Thin Film Properties Obtained by USP Technique to Implement It as an Absorbent Layer in Solar Cells Using SCAPS
Coatings 2021, 11(7), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11070754 - 23 Jun 2021
Viewed by 580
Abstract
Tin sulfide doped with copper (SnS:Cu) thin films were deposited on glass substrates by the ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (USP) technique at different concentration ratios (y = [Cu]/[Sn] = 0% (undoped), 2%, 5% and 10%). The aim of this work is to analyze [...] Read more.
Tin sulfide doped with copper (SnS:Cu) thin films were deposited on glass substrates by the ultrasonic spray pyrolysis (USP) technique at different concentration ratios (y = [Cu]/[Sn] = 0% (undoped), 2%, 5% and 10%). The aim of this work is to analyze the effect of copper on structural, morphological, and optoelectronic properties of SnS:Cu and discuss their possible application as an absorber layer in a solar cell structure proposed which is simulated using SCAPS software. X-ray diffraction (XRD) reveals an orthorhombic structure in the undoped sample and a cubic structure in doped ones. Raman spectroscopy suggests a possible unit cell size change due to the addition of Cu. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) shows growth in grain density with an increasing y. Image analysis based on second-order features was used to discuss grain distribution. UV-VIS spectroscopy helps to find an increase of bandgap for the doped samples when copper concentration increases, going from 1.82 eV in the doped film y = 2% to 2.2 eV in the 10% doped samples. A value of 3.51 eV was found for the undoped sample y = 0%. A rise in both carrier concentration and mobility but a decrease in resistivity when y is increased was observed through the Hall–Van der Pauw technique. Simulations by SCAPS helped conclude that considering the material thickness, the SnS:Cu compound can be an alternative for implementation in the manufacturing of solar cells as an absorber layer since it is possible to obtain the optoelectronic properties necessary using the UPS economical technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application)
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Article
Design and Optimization of the Antireflective Coating Properties of Silicon Solar Cells by Using Response Surface Methodology
Coatings 2021, 11(6), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11060721 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 651
Abstract
The design and optimization of a nanostructured antireflective coatings for Si solar cells were performed by using response surface methodology (RSM). RSM was employed to investigate the effect on the overall optical performance of silicon solar cells coated with three different nanoparticle materials [...] Read more.
The design and optimization of a nanostructured antireflective coatings for Si solar cells were performed by using response surface methodology (RSM). RSM was employed to investigate the effect on the overall optical performance of silicon solar cells coated with three different nanoparticle materials of titanium dioxide, aluminum oxide, and zinc oxide nanostructures. Central composite design was used for the optimization of the reflectance process and to study the main effects and interactions between the three process variables: nanomaterial type, the radius of nanoparticles, and wavelength of visible light. In this theoretical study, COMSOL Multiphysics was utilized to design the structures by using the wave optics module. The optical properties of the solar cell’s substrate and the three different nanomaterial types were studied. The results indicated that ZnO nanoparticles were the best antireflective coating candidate for Si, as the ZnO nanoparticles produced the lowest reflection values among the three nanomaterial types. The study reveals that the optimum conditions to reach minimum surface reflections for silicon solar cell were established by using ZnO nanoparticles with a radius of ~38 nm. On average, the reflectance reached ~5.5% along the visible spectral range, and approximately zero reflectance in the 550–600 nm range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application)
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Article
Investigation of Catalyst Development from Mg2NiH4 Hydride and Its Application for the CO2 Methanation Reaction
Coatings 2020, 10(12), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10121178 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 602
Abstract
In current study various aspects of catalyst development for the Sabatier type methanation reaction were investigated. It was demonstrated that starting from 330–380 °C Mg2NiH4 hydride heating under CO2 and H2 gas flow initiates hydride decomposition, disproportionation and [...] Read more.
In current study various aspects of catalyst development for the Sabatier type methanation reaction were investigated. It was demonstrated that starting from 330–380 °C Mg2NiH4 hydride heating under CO2 and H2 gas flow initiates hydride decomposition, disproportionation and oxidation. These reactions empower catalytic properties of the material and promotes CO2 methanation reaction. Detailed structural, colorimetric and thermogravimetric analysis revealed that in order to have fast and full-scale development of the catalyst (formation of MgO decorated by nanocrystalline Ni) initial hydride has to be heated above 500 °C. Another considerable finding of the study was confirmation that potentially both high grade and low grade starting Mg2Ni alloy can be equally suitable for the hydride synthesis and its usage for the promotion of methanation reactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application)
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Article
Novel Tunable Green-Red Luminescence in Mn2+ Doped Ca9Tb(PO4)7 Phosphors Based on the Mn2+ Regulation and Energy Transfer
Coatings 2020, 10(10), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10100952 - 01 Oct 2020
Viewed by 668
Abstract
β-Ca3(PO4)2 type phosphors Ca9Tb(PO4)7:Mn2+ were fabricated by high temperature solid state reaction. Under 377 nm light excitation, the Ca9Tb(PO4)7 host displays the green emission attributable to [...] Read more.
β-Ca3(PO4)2 type phosphors Ca9Tb(PO4)7:Mn2+ were fabricated by high temperature solid state reaction. Under 377 nm light excitation, the Ca9Tb(PO4)7 host displays the green emission attributable to the characteristic emission of Tb3+ ions peaking at 488, 542, 586, and 620 nm, respectively. The red broadband emission is observed when Ca9Tb(PO4)7 is doped with Mn2+ ions. The emission is attributed to the energy transfer from Tb3+ to Mn2+ ions; this facilitates the realization of the tunable green–red emission. The energy transfer mechanism from Tb3+ to Mn2+ is defined as quadrupole–quadrupole interaction. Furthermore, the thermal stability of Ca9Tb(PO4)7:Mn2+ samples has been studied, and it can maintain half the emission intensity exceeding 424 K. This demonstrates their potential applications in white light LEDs (w-LEDs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application)
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Article
Performance Optimization of Original Aluminum Ash Coating
Coatings 2020, 10(9), 831; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10090831 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
Aluminum ash is a kind of industrial solid waste. Original aluminum ash (OAA) can be prepared into original aluminum ash spray powder (OAASP) through hydrolysis treatment, and the original aluminum ash coating (OAAC) can be prepared on the surface of the substrate by [...] Read more.
Aluminum ash is a kind of industrial solid waste. Original aluminum ash (OAA) can be prepared into original aluminum ash spray powder (OAASP) through hydrolysis treatment, and the original aluminum ash coating (OAAC) can be prepared on the surface of the substrate by plasma spraying. In order to optimize the performance of the OAAC, the OAASP was screened to select the appropriate particle size to improve the flowability of the powder. Then, the influence of the alumina content on coating performance was studied through comparative experiments. The micro morphology of the coating was analyzed, and the performance parameters of the coating were tested. The results show that the spray powder with a particle size of 120–150 mesh accounts for the largest proportion of OAASP, and its flowability is better than that of unsieved OAASP, which is suitable for coating preparation. The performance of the coating can be improved by adding high-purity alumina. When the Al2O3 addition is 50%, the porosity of the coating is 0.131%, the adhesive strength is 17.12 MPa, the microhardness is 713.36 HV, and the abrasion rate 10.31 mg/min. Compared with the coating without Al2O3, the porosity is decreased by 19.63%, the adhesive strength is increased by 5.35%, the microhardness is increased by 17.61%, and the abrasion rate is decreased by 19.83%. There are regions with different brightness on the surface of the coating with Al2O3. After semiquantitative analysis, the main phase in the bright region is Al2O3, and the main phases in the dark and gray regions are Al2O3, SiO2, and Fe3O4. The performance of the OAAC can be optimized by improving the flowability of the sprayed powder and increasing the alumina content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application)
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Article
Coating Process Parameters and Structural Properties of the Tubular Electrodes of Fuel Cells Based on a Self-Made Coating Device
Coatings 2020, 10(9), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings10090830 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 953
Abstract
The electrode is one of the most important components of tubular direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), and the coating process directly determines its performance. In the present research, a tubular electrode coating device was designed based on planetary gear structures, and the influence [...] Read more.
The electrode is one of the most important components of tubular direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), and the coating process directly determines its performance. In the present research, a tubular electrode coating device was designed based on planetary gear structures, and the influence of the coating process parameters on the electrode structure’s performance was studied. The experimental results show that: the coating layer on the electrode surface prepared by the self-made device is uniform and dense, and the coating surface quality is better than a manual coating. The best coating environment temperature is 30–40 °C, and the coating spindle speed is 6.67 r/min. Under the condition in which Nafion 117 is used as the proton exchange membrane, the fuel cell is placed in 1 mol/L H2SO4 + 0.5 mol/L CH3OH electrolyte, and high-purity oxygen is fed at a rate of 100 mL/min, the power density of the electrode coated by the self-made device can reach 20.50 mW/cm2, which is about 2.4 times that of the electrode coated manually. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thin Films and Coatings for Energy Application)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Surface Area Enhancement (SAE) Calculations for Core/Shell-Nanorod Structures' Coating by Physical Vapor Deposition
Author: Mesut Yurukcu

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