Special Issue "Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications"

A special issue of Coatings (ISSN 2079-6412). This special issue belongs to the section "Thin Films".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022 | Viewed by 7731

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. M. Shaheer Akhtar
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
New & Renewable Energy Materials Development Center (NewREC), School of Chemical Engineering, Jeonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, Jeonbuk, Republic of Korea
Interests: photoactive materials; energy; characterization; nanoengineering; environmental remediation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Alok Kumar Rai
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, University of Delhi (North Campus), Delhi 110007, India
Interests: nanomaterials synthesis and characterization; energy materials; lithium-ion and post-lithium-ion batteries; supercapacitor; impedance spectroscopy
Prof. Dr. Ahmad Umar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Chemistry, College of Science and Arts and Promising Centre for Sensors and Electronic Devices (PCSED), Najran University, Najran, Saudi Arabia
2. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Interests: nanotechnology; functional nanomaterials; sensors; environmental remediation; bio-applications of functional nanomaterials; polymer nanocomposites; biomaterials; biosynthesis of nanomaterials; carbon dots from biowaste; biomedical applications
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue “Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications” of Coatings will provide a communication platform for researchers, scientists, and engineers to demonstrate and exchange their latest research in the field of nanomaterials including thin films and their applications in energy conversion, harvesting, and storage. In this Special Issue, we call for the submission of manuscripts (full papers, communications, and reviews) based on the nanomaterials, nanocomposites, thin films, nano alloy, polymers for energy applications, especially, solar cells, energy storage (e.g., batteries and supercapacitors), and energy harvesting (e.g., piezoelectric and thermoelectric applications). Since energy applications strongly depend on the design and synthesis of electrode materials, as well as thickness, quality, defects, and purity of thin films, it can be controlled by optimizing the numerous parameters during the fabrication of materials and thin film growth variables. Moreover, recent advances and research on nanomaterials and thin films involving cost-effectiveness, growth techniques, ease of processing, and high accessibility are of particular interest for this Special Issue. Materials including thin films and their following area applications will also be covered in this Special Issue:

  • Energy storage (batteries, supercapacitor/ultracapacitors)
  • Energy conversion
  • Stretchable energy storage
  • Electric vehicles (EVs)
  • Solar cells
  • Photoelectrochemical/electrolytic hydrogen generation
  • Fuel cells and so on.

Prof. Dr. M. Shaheer Akhtar
Dr. Alok Kumar Rai
Prof. Dr. Ahmad Umar
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2000 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.

Keywords

  • thin-film
  • optoelectronics
  • energy conversion
  • energy storage
  • solar cell
  • batteries
  • supercapacitors

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Physico-Chemical Origins of Electrical Characteristics and Instabilities in Solution-Processed ZnSnO Thin-Film Transistors
Coatings 2022, 12(10), 1534; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12101534 - 13 Oct 2022
Viewed by 421
Abstract
We investigate the physico-chemical origins that determine the transistor characteristics and stabilities in sol-gel processed zinc tin oxide (ZTO) thin-film transistors (TFTs). ZTO solutions with Sn/(Sn+Zn) molar ratios from 0.3 to 0.6 were synthesized to demonstrate the underlying mechanism of the electrical characteristics [...] Read more.
We investigate the physico-chemical origins that determine the transistor characteristics and stabilities in sol-gel processed zinc tin oxide (ZTO) thin-film transistors (TFTs). ZTO solutions with Sn/(Sn+Zn) molar ratios from 0.3 to 0.6 were synthesized to demonstrate the underlying mechanism of the electrical characteristics and bias-induced instabilities. As the Sn/(Sn+Zn) ratio of ZTO is increased, the threshold voltage of the ZTO TFTs negatively shifts owing to the gradual increase in the ratio of oxygen vacancies. The ZTO TFTs with an Sn/(Sn+Zn) ratio of 0.4 exhibit highest saturation mobility of 1.56 cm2/Vs lowest subthreshold swing and hysteresis of 0.44 V/dec and 0.29 V, respectively, due to the desirable atomic states of ZTO thin film. Furthermore, these also exhibit outstanding positive bias stability due to the low trap density at the semiconductor-dielectric interface. On the other hand, the negative bias stress-induced instability gradually increases as the proportion of tin increases because the negative bias stress instability originates from the ionization of oxygen vacancies. These results will contribute to the optimization of the composition ratio in rare-metal-free oxide semiconductors for next-generation low-cost electronics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications)
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Article
Boosting the Visible Light Photocatalytic Activity of ZnO through the Incorporation of N-Doped for Wastewater Treatment
Coatings 2022, 12(5), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12050579 - 24 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
In the present work, we prepared N-doped ZnO by a facile chemical vapor deposition method and used it for the degradation of wastewater containing noxious rose bengal (RB) dye under visible-light stimulation. The as-prepared N-doped ZnO and the undoped ZnO (used as a [...] Read more.
In the present work, we prepared N-doped ZnO by a facile chemical vapor deposition method and used it for the degradation of wastewater containing noxious rose bengal (RB) dye under visible-light stimulation. The as-prepared N-doped ZnO and the undoped ZnO (used as a control sample) were characterized by numerous spectroscopic and microscopic methods. These analyzing results confirmed the successful formation of the N-doped ZnO compound and it could be implemented for wastewater treatment. Interestingly, the N-doped ZnO material confirmed the maximum RB dye degradation efficiency (96.90%) and was shown to be 154% more efficient than undoped ZnO (62.95%) within 100 min of visible-light irradiation. The bandgap energy was considerably decreased after the incorporation of N onto the ZnO matrix compared to undoped ZnO. The improved photocatalytic performance is because of the reduction of bandgap energy, which suppressed the electron–hole pair recombination. In addition, a plausible photodegradation mechanism of RB dye was discussed employing N-doped ZnO under visible light. The findings show that our as-synthesized product can be used to eliminate contaminants, which provides a new avenue for effective implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications)
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Article
Comparison of Various Thin-Film-Based Absorber Materials: A Viable Approach for Next-Generation Solar Cells
Coatings 2022, 12(3), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12030405 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Thin-film solar cells are simple and affordable to produce, but their efficiency is low compared to crystalline-silicon solar cells, and needs to be improved. This study investigates the photovoltaic performance of different absorber materials (CdTe, CIGS, Sb2Se3, and CZTS) with [...] Read more.
Thin-film solar cells are simple and affordable to produce, but their efficiency is low compared to crystalline-silicon solar cells, and needs to be improved. This study investigates the photovoltaic performance of different absorber materials (CdTe, CIGS, Sb2Se3, and CZTS) with simple structure Au/absorber/CdS/ITO. The research uses the SCAPS (Solar Cell Capacitance Simulator), a mathematical model based on Poisson and continuity equations. The impact of various parameters on cell performance, such as absorber layer thickness, acceptor density, electron affinity, back contact work function, and temperature, are examined. As per the simulation results, an absorber thickness of 4 µm is suitable for achieving the maximum efficiency for all the absorber materials. The optimized acceptor density for CdTe/CIGS/ Sb2Se3 and CZTS is taken as 1016 cm−3 and 1017 cm−3, respectively. The back contact work function and device temperature were set to be 5.1 eV and 300 K, respectively, to achieve excellent performance. Among all the absorber materials, the highest efficiency of 28.2% was achieved for CZTS. The aim is to highlight the various absorber layers’ performances by optimizing the device parameters. The obtained results can be used in solar energy harvesting applications due to the improved performance characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications)
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Communication
Crack-Free and Thickness-Controllable Deposition of TiO2–rGO Thin Films for Solar Harnessing Devices
Coatings 2022, 12(2), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12020218 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1248
Abstract
The use of thin films consisting of TiO2 and reduced graphene oxide (TiO2–rGO) in solar harnessing devices is gaining momentum thanks to improved charge-transporting characteristics. In this report, we propose a facile spin-coating methodology for the deposition of crack-free and [...] Read more.
The use of thin films consisting of TiO2 and reduced graphene oxide (TiO2–rGO) in solar harnessing devices is gaining momentum thanks to improved charge-transporting characteristics. In this report, we propose a facile spin-coating methodology for the deposition of crack-free and thickness-controllable TiO2–rGO thin films. A range of characterization techniques were utilized to confirm the formation of the TiO2–rGO thin film. Improved charge-transporting properties of TiO2–rGO composite thin films were confirmed by measuring their photoelectrochemical (PEC) activity under simulated solar light illumination. In particular, it was found that the TiO2–rGO composite thin film yielded a better photocurrent response (~151.3 µA/cm2) than the bare TiO2 thin film (~71.6 µA/cm2) at 1.23 eV vs. the reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE). The obtained results suggested that rGO addition remarkably improves the charge-transporting properties in TiO2 films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications)
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Article
p-CuO/n-ZnO Heterojunction Structure for the Selective Detection of Hydrogen Sulphide and Sulphur Dioxide Gases: A Theoretical Approach
Coatings 2021, 11(10), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11101200 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1064
Abstract
DFT calculations at the B3LYP/LanL2DZ level of theory were utilized to investigate the adsorption of H2S and SO2 gases on the electronic properties of CuO-ZnO heterojunction structures. The results were demonstrated from the standpoint of adsorption energies (Eads), [...] Read more.
DFT calculations at the B3LYP/LanL2DZ level of theory were utilized to investigate the adsorption of H2S and SO2 gases on the electronic properties of CuO-ZnO heterojunction structures. The results were demonstrated from the standpoint of adsorption energies (Eads), the density of states (DOS), and NBO atomic charges. The obtained values of the adsorption energies indicated the chemisorption of the investigated gases on CuO-ZnO heterojunction. The adsorption of H2S and SO2 gases reduced the HOMO-LUMO gap in the Cu2Zn10O12 cluster by 4.98% and 43.02%, respectively. This reveals that the Cu2Zn10O12 cluster is more sensitive to the H2S gas than the SO2 gas. The Eads values for SO2 and H2S were −2.64 and −1.58 eV, respectively. Therefore, the Cu2Zn10O12 cluster exhibits a higher and faster response-recovery time to H2S than SO2. Accordingly, our results revealed that CuO-ZnO heterojunction structures are promising candidates for H2S- and SO2-sensing applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications)
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Article
α-MnO2 Nanowires as Potential Scaffolds for a High-Performance Formaldehyde Gas Sensor Device
Coatings 2021, 11(7), 860; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings11070860 - 17 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1472
Abstract
Herein, we report a chemi-resistive sensing method for the detection of formaldehyde (HCHO) gas. For this, α-MnO2 nanowires were synthesized hydrothermally and examined for ascertaining their chemical composition, crystal phase, morphology, purity, and vibrational properties. The XRD pattern confirmed the high crystallinity [...] Read more.
Herein, we report a chemi-resistive sensing method for the detection of formaldehyde (HCHO) gas. For this, α-MnO2 nanowires were synthesized hydrothermally and examined for ascertaining their chemical composition, crystal phase, morphology, purity, and vibrational properties. The XRD pattern confirmed the high crystallinity and purity of the α-MnO2 nanowires. FESEM images confirmed a random orientation and smooth-surfaced wire-shaped morphologies for as-synthesized α-MnO2 nanowires. Further, the synthesized nanowires with rounded tips had a uniform diameter throughout the length of the nanowires. The average diameter of the α-MnO2 nanowires was found to be 62.18 nm and the average length was ~2.0 μm. Further, at an optimized temperature of 300 °C, the fabricated HCHO sensor based on α-MnO2 nanowires demonstrated gas response, response, and recovery times of 19.37, 18, and 30 s, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Thin Films for Energy Applications)
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