Nanostructured metal chalcogenides: synthesis, modification, and applications in energy conversion and storage devices

Chem Soc Rev. 2013 Apr 7;42(7):2986-3017. doi: 10.1039/c2cs35310e.


Advanced energy conversion and storage (ECS) devices (including fuel cells, photoelectrochemical water splitting cells, solar cells, Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors) are expected to play a major role in the development of sustainable technologies that alleviate the energy and environmental challenges we are currently facing. The successful utilization of ECS devices depends critically on synthesizing new nanomaterials with merits of low cost, high efficiency, and outstanding properties. Recent progress has demonstrated that nanostructured metal chalcogenides (MCs) are very promising candidates for efficient ECS systems based on their unique physical and chemical properties, such as conductivity, mechanical and thermal stability and cyclability. In this review, we aim to provide a summary on the liquid-phase synthesis, modifications, and energy-related applications of nanostructured metal chalcogenide (MC) materials. The liquid-phase syntheses of various MC nanomaterials are primarily categorized with the preparation method (mainly 15 kinds of methods). To obtain optimized, enhanced or even new properties, the nanostructured MC materials can be modified by other functional nanomaterials such as carbon-based materials, noble metals, metal oxides, or MCs themselves. Thus, this review will then be focused on the recent strategies used to realize the modifications of MC nanomaterials. After that, the ECS applications of the MC/modified-MC nanomaterials have been systematically summarized based on a great number of successful cases. Moreover, remarks on the challenges and perspectives for future MC research are proposed (403 references).