Review Article Issue
Carbon-based functional materials for atmospheric water utilization
Nano Research 2023, 16 (11): 12491-12505
Published: 17 October 2023

Atmospheric water, as one of the most abundant natural resources on Earth, has attracted huge research interest in the field of water harvesting and energy harvesting and conversion owing its environmental friendliness and easy access. The developments of new materials have seen advanced technologies that can extract water and energy out of this long-neglected resource, suggesting a promising and sustainable approach to address the water and energy crises over the world. Carbon-based functional materials have been considered to be indispensable materials for atmospheric water utilization due to their large surface area, excellent adsorption performance, and higher surface activity. In this review, first, we analyze the interaction between carbon-based functional materials and atmospheric water molecular. Then, technologies developed in recent years for atmospheric water utilization based on carbon-based functional materials are reviewed, mainly focusing on atmospheric water harvesting, moisture-enabled electricity generation, and moisture-responsive actuation. Finally, the remaining challenges and some tentative suggestions possibly guiding developments are proposed, which may pave a way for a bright future of carbon-based functional material in the utilization of atmospheric water.

Review Article Issue
Promising thermal photonic management materials for sustainable human habitat
Nano Research 2024, 17 (1): 112-131
Published: 25 August 2023

The spectral characteristics of outdoor structures, such as automobiles, buildings, and clothing, determine their energy interaction with the environment, from broad-spectrum absorption of light energy to high-efficiency thermal emission. Recently developed spectrally selective absorption (SSA) materials permit the reduction of energy loss from human habitat eco-system in the sustainable way and further reduce the utilization of fossil energy to achieve carbon neutrality. Here we review recent advances in SSA materials that enable rational and efficient management of thermal energy and provide new solutions for the resource base that supports human life like comfortable heat management, electricity production, and water supply. The basic principles of thermal photonic management, the regulation of SSA materials, and functional properties are summarized. An outlook discussing challenges and opportunities in SSA material energy management for comfortable living environments is finally presented, which expects the enormous potential of this interdisciplinary research in solving growing resource-shortage of human society.

Open Access Editorial Issue
Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of Nano Research Energy
Nano Research Energy 2023, 2: e9120072
Published: 28 April 2023
Open Access Research Article Issue
Integrated radiative and evaporative cooling beyond daytime passive cooling power limit
Nano Research Energy 2023, 2: e9120060
Published: 09 March 2023

Radiative cooling technologies can passively gain lower temperature than that of ambient surroundings without consuming electricity, which has emerged as potential alternatives to traditional cooling methods. However, the limitations in daytime radiation intensity with a net cooling power of less than 150 W·m−2 have hindered progress toward commercial practicality. Here, we report an integrated radiative and evaporative chiller (IREC) based on polyacrylamide hydrogels combined with an upper layer of breathable poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-trifluoroethylene) fibers, which achieves a record high practical average daytime cooling power of 710 W·m−2. The breathable fiber layer has an average emissivity of over 76% in the atmospheric window, while reflecting 90% of visible light. This IREC possesses effective daytime radiative cooling while simultaneously ensuring evaporative cooling capability, enhancing daytime passive cooling effectively. As a result, IREC presents the practicability for both personal cooling managements and industrial auxiliary cooling applications. An IREC-based patch can assist in cooling human body by 13 °C low for a long term and biocompatible use, and IREC can maintain the temperature of industrial storage facilities such as oil tanks at room temperature even under strong sunlight irradiation. This work delivers the highest performance daytime passive cooling by simultaneous infrared radiation and water evaporation, and provides a new perspective for developing highly efficient, scalable, and affordable passive cooling strategy.

Open Access Editorial Issue
Nano Research Energy: An interdisciplinary journal centered on nanomaterials and nanotechnology for energy
Nano Research Energy 2022, 1: e9120005
Published: 25 April 2022
Research Article Issue
An efficient and versatile biopolishing strategy to construct high performance zinc anode
Nano Research 2022, 15 (6): 5081-5088
Published: 19 March 2022

Conventional strategies for highly reversible Zn anodes usually involve complex and time-consuming production processes of current collectors, expensive and toxic electrolyte additives, or the introduction of inactive materials in protective layer. Here, we develop a fast, facile, and environmentally friendly biopolishing method to prepare dendrite-free Zn anodes, which merely involves the simple immersion of Zn foil in a biocompatible cysteine aqueous solution. The ravine structure formed by sulfhydryl etching for 30 min not only increases the electroactive area of Zn anode but also regulates the distribution of electric field and Zn ions, ensuring the homogeneous deposition and stripping of Zn ions. The biopolished Zn anode can be operated steadily for 2,000 h with a low voltage hysteresis at a current density of 1 mA·cm−2. In addition, Zn anodes with a cycle life of 500 h can be built by soaking for only 5 min, proving the high efficiency of the proposed method. This strategy is generalized to substances with sulfhydryl groups for polishing Zn electrodes with improved performance. The cysteine-polished Zn//activated carbon supercapacitor can stably run for 20,000 cycles without obvious capacity attenuation. The proposed strategy shows potential for producing advanced Zn anodes.

Open Access Research Article Issue
Recent progress in graphene-based wearable piezoresistive sensors: From 1D to 3D device geometries
Nano Materials Science 2023, 5 (3): 247-264
Published: 04 January 2022

Electronic skin and flexible wearable devices have attracted tremendous attention in the fields of human-machine interaction, energy storage, and intelligent robots. As a prevailing flexible pressure sensor with high performance, the piezoresistive sensor is believed to be one of the fundamental components of intelligent tactile skin. Furthermore, graphene can be used as a building block for highly flexible and wearable piezoresistive sensors owing to its light weight, high electrical conductivity, and excellent mechanical. This review provides a comprehensive summary of recent advances in graphene-based piezoresistive sensors, which we systematically classify as various configurations including one-dimensional fiber, two-dimensional thin film, and three-dimensional foam geometries, followed by examples of practical applications for health monitoring, human motion sensing, multifunctional sensing, and system integration. We also present the sensing mechanisms and evaluation parameters of piezoresistive sensors. This review delivers broad insights on existing graphene-based piezoresistive sensors and challenges for the future generation of high-performance, multifunctional sensors in various applications.

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