Engineering of piezoelectricity and deformation sensitivity

Engineering of piezoelectricity and deformation sensitivity

image: CdS and nanorod CdS spheres with different lengths were constructed respectively with the hydrothermal method and the solvothermal process with variable reaction times. Medium-length CdS nanorods subjected to ultrasonic stimulation exhibit excellent piezocatalytic evolution performance of H2 due to their strong piezoelectric potential and benign mechanical strain collection capability.
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Credit: Chinese Journal of Catalysis

Damaged ecosystems are sending signals of global climate crisis and energy shortages to wake humans to respond by reducing excess carbon dioxide and producing sustainable green energy. The enormous potential is maintained by piezocatalysis, the absence of daylight constraints and abundant energy sources, including vibrations, water flow, friction, tidal force, water droplets and human movement. The evolution of piezocatalytic hydrogen has emerged as a promising direction for the collection and use of mechanical energy and the efficient generation of sustainable energy throughout the day.

Piezoelectric materials for catalysis are emerging and enriching, including perovskite-type materials (e.g. BaTiO3ZnSnO3CH3NH3Pbl3), materials such as wurtzite (eg. ZnO, ZnS and CdS), two-dimensional (2D) materials (eg MoS2Bi2WO6 and 2D black phosphorus) and organic polymers (e.g. poly (vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF), polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and graphite carbon nitride). Some non-centrosymmetric structure (NCS) wurtzite crystal materials have proved to be promising piezocatalytic materials for alleviating the photocatalytic efficiency bottleneck.

The typical CdS structured with wurtzite NCS with a space group of P63mc and point group of 6 mm shows the piezoelectric effect, which should effectively accelerate vector separation and increase the overall catalytic efficiency across the piezoelectric polarization field. Unfortunately, the production of highly efficient piezocatalytic hydrogen from CdS-based materials has so far remained challenging, which is limited to the rapid recombination and deactivation of the photogenerated vectors.

Recently, a research team led by Prof. Hongwei Huang of China University of Geosciences (Beijing) reported that two types of CdS nanostructures, namely CdS nanorods and CdS nanospheres, were prepared to probe the above-mentioned problems. Under the ultrasonic vibration, the CdS nanorods offered an H.2 evolution rate of 175 μmol g-1 h-1 in the absence of any co-catalyst, which is almost 2.8 times that of CdS nanospheres. The greater piezocatalytic activity of the CdS nanorods is derived from their higher piezoelectric coefficient and greater mechanical energy harvesting capacity, offering greater piezoelectric potential and more efficient separation and transfer of intrinsic charge carriers, as clarified through the force microscope of piezoelectric response, the finite element method and piezoelectrochemical tests. This study provides a new concept for designing efficient piezocatalytic materials to convert mechanical energy into sustainable energy through microstructure regulation. The results were published in Chinese Journal of Catalysis (


About the diary

Chinese Journal of Catalysis it is co-sponsored by the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Chemical Society, and is currently published by the Elsevier group. This monthly magazine publishes timely contributions of original and rigorously revised manuscripts in English covering all areas of catalysis. The journal publishes reviews, reports, communications, articles, highlights, perspectives and views of highly scientific values ​​that help to understand and define new concepts in both fundamental issues and practical applications of catalysis. Chinese Journal of Catalysis ranks in the top six applied chemistry journals with a current SCI impact factor of 8,271. The chief editors are prof. Can Li and Tao Zhang.

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