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Nanoscale. 2013 Jun 7;5(11):4584-605. doi: 10.1039/c3nr00176h. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Functional mesoporous materials for energy applications: solar cells, fuel cells, and batteries.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Hyo-ja dong, Pohang, Kyungbuk 790-784, Korea.


This feature article presents recent progress made in the synthesis of functional ordered mesoporous materials and their application as high performance electrodes in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) and quantum dot-sensitized solar cells (QDSCs), fuel cells, and Li-ion batteries. Ordered mesoporous materials have been mainly synthesized using two representative synthetic methods: the soft template and hard template methods. To overcome the limitations of these two methods, a new method called CASH was suggested. The CASH method combines the advantages of the soft and hard template methods by employing a diblock copolymer, PI-b-PEO, which contains a hydrophilic block and an sp(2)-hybridized-carbon-containing hydrophobic block as a structure-directing agent. After discussing general techniques used in the synthesis of mesoporous materials, this article presents recent applications of mesoporous materials as electrodes in DSCs and QDSCs, fuel cells, and Li-ion batteries. The role of material properties and mesostructures in device performance is discussed in each case. The developed soft and hard template methods, along with the CASH method, allow control of the pore size, wall composition, and pore structure, providing insight into material design and optimization for better electrode performances in these types of energy conversion devices. This paper concludes with an outlook on future research directions to enable breakthroughs and overcome current limitations in this field.

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