The properties of polycrystalline materials are often dominated by the size of their grains and by the atomic structure of their grain boundaries. These effects should be especially pronounced in two-dimensional materials, where even a line defect can divide and disrupt a crystal. These issues take on practical significance in graphene, which is a hexagonal, two-dimensional crystal of carbon atoms. Single-atom-thick graphene sheets can now be produced by chemical vapour deposition on scales of up to metres, making their polycrystallinity almost unavoidable. Theoretically, graphene grain boundaries are predicted to have distinct electronic, magnetic, chemical and mechanical properties that strongly depend on their atomic arrangement. Yet because of the five-order-of-magnitude size difference between grains and the atoms at grain boundaries, few experiments have fully explored the graphene grain structure. Here we use a combination of old and new transmission electron microscopy techniques to bridge these length scales. Using atomic-resolution imaging, we determine the location and identity of every atom at a grain boundary and find that different grains stitch together predominantly through pentagon-heptagon pairs. Rather than individually imaging the several billion atoms in each grain, we use diffraction-filtered imaging to rapidly map the location, orientation and shape of several hundred grains and boundaries, where only a handful have been previously reported. The resulting images reveal an unexpectedly small and intricate patchwork of grains connected by tilt boundaries. By correlating grain imaging with scanning probe and transport measurements, we show that these grain boundaries severely weaken the mechanical strength of graphene membranes but do not as drastically alter their electrical properties. These techniques open a new window for studies on the structure, properties and control of grains and grain boundaries in graphene and other two-dimensional materials.
Similar to the popular older cousins, luminescent carbon dots (C-dots), graphene quantum dots or graphene quantum discs (GQDs) have generated enormous excitement because of their superiority in chemical inertness, biocompatibility and low toxicity. Besides, GQDs, consisting of a single atomic layer of nano-sized graphite, have the excellent performances of graphene, such as high surface area, large diameter and better surface grafting using π-π conjugation and surface groups. Because of the structure of graphene, GQDs have some other special physical properties. Therefore, studies on GQDs in aspects of chemistry, physical, materials, biology and interdisciplinary science have been in full flow in the past decade. In this Feature Article, recent developments in preparation of GQDs are discussed, focusing on the main two approaches (top-down and bottom-down). Emphasis is given to their future and potential development in bioimaging, electrochemical biosensors and catalysis, and specifically in photovoltaic devices that can solve increasingly serious energy problems.
Thin-film photovoltaics based on alkylammonium lead iodide perovskite light absorbers have recently emerged as a promising low-cost solar energy harvesting technology. To date, the perovskite layer in these efficient solar cells has generally been fabricated by either vapor deposition or a two-step sequential deposition process. We report that flat, uniform thin films of this material can be deposited by a one-step, solvent-induced, fast crystallization method involving spin-coating of a DMF solution of CH3NH3PbI3 followed immediately by exposure to chlorobenzene to induce crystallization. Analysis of the devices and films revealed that the perovskite films consist of large crystalline grains with sizes up to microns. Planar heterojunction solar cells constructed with these solution-processed thin films yielded an average power conversion efficiency of 13.9±0.7% and a steady state efficiency of 13% under standard AM 1.5 conditions.
A facile hydrazine hydrate reduction of graphene oxide (GO) with surface-passivated by a polyethylene glycol (PEG) method for the fabrication of graphene quantum dots (GQDs) with frequency upconverted emission is presented. And we speculate on the upconversion luminescence due to the anti-Stokes photoluminescence (ASPL), where the δE between the π and σ orbitals is near 1.1 eV.
Tin‐based perovskites with excellent optoelectronic properties and suitable band gaps are promising candidates for the preparation of efficient lead‐free perovskite solar cells (PSCs). However, it is challenging to prepare highly stable and efficient tin‐based PSCs because Sn2+ in perovskites can be easily oxidized to Sn4+ upon air exposure. Here we report the fabrication of air‐stable FASnI3 solar cells by introducing hydroxybenzene sulfonic acid or its salt as an antioxidant additive into the perovskite precursor solution along with excess SnCl2. The interaction between the sulfonate group and the Sn2+ ion enables the in situ encapsulation of the perovskite grains with a SnCl2–additive complex layer, which results in greatly enhanced oxidation stability of the perovskite film. The corresponding PSCs are able to maintain 80 % of the efficiency over 500 h upon air exposure without encapsulation, which is over ten times longer than the best result reported previously. Our results suggest a possible strategy for the future design of efficient and stable tin‐based PSCs.
scite is a Brooklyn-based startup that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.