Current Articles

2022, Volume 4,  Issue 4

Topical Review
The advanced multi-functional carbon dots in photoelectrochemistry based energy conversion
Yunjie Zhou, Fan Liao, Yang Liu, Zhenhui Kang
2022, 4(4) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac8e3a

Carbon dots (CDs), as a unique zero-dimensional member of carbon materials, have attracted numerous attentions for their potential applications in optoelectronic, biological, and energy related fields. Recently, CDs as catalysts for energy conversion reactions under multi-physical conditions such as light and/or electricity have grown into a research frontier due to their advantages of high visible light utilization, fast migration of charge carriers, efficient surface redox reactions and good electrical conductivity. In this review, we summarize the fabrication methods of CDs and corresponding CD nanocomposites, including the strategies of surface modification and heteroatom doping. The properties of CDs that concerned to the photo- and electro-catalysis are highlighted and detailed corresponding applications are listed. More importantly, as new non-contact detection technologies, transient photo-induced voltage/current have been developed to detect and study the charge transfer kinetics, which can sensitively reflect the complex electron separation and transfer behavior in photo-/electro-catalysts. The development and application of the techniques are reviewed. Finally, we discuss and outline the major challenges and opportunities for future CD-based catalysts, and the needs and expectations for the development of novel characterization technologies.

Advances in selective laser sintering of polymers
Wei Han, Lingbao Kong, Min Xu
2022, 4(4) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac9096

Polymers are widely used materials in aerospace, automotive, construction, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Polymers are being promoted rapidly due to their ease of manufacturing and improved material properties. Research on polymer processing technology should be paid more attention to due to the increasing demand for polymer applications. Selective laser sintering (SLS) uses a laser to sinter powdered materials (typical polyamide), and it is one of the critical additive manufacturing (AM) techniques of polymer. It irradiates the laser beam on the defined areas by a computer-aided design three-dimensional (3D) model to bind the material together to create a designed 3D solid structure. SLS has many advantages, such as no support structures and excellent mechanical properties resembling injection moulded parts compared with other AM methods. However, the ability of SLS to process polymers is still affected by some defects, such as the porous structure and limited available types of SLS polymers. Therefore, this article reviews the current state-of-the-art SLS of polymers, including the fundamental principles in this technique, the SLS developments of typical polymers, and the essential process parameters in SLS. Furthermore, the applications of SLS are focused, and the conclusions and perspectives are discussed.

Burst mode enabled ultrafast laser inscription inside gallium arsenide
Andong Wang, Pol Sopeña, David Grojo
2022, 4(4) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac8fc3

Ultrafast laser inscription (ULI) inside semiconductors offers new perspectives for 3D monolithic structures to be fabricated and new functionalities to be added in electronic and photonic microdevices. However, important challenges remain because of nonlinear effects such as strong plasma generation that distort the energy delivery at the focal point when exposing these materials to intense infrared light. Up to now, the successful technological demonstrations have primarily concentrated on silicon (Si). In this paper, we target at another important semiconductor: gallium arsenide (GaAs). With nonlinearities higher than those of Si, 3D-machining of GaAs with femtosecond pulses becomes even harder. However, we show that the difficulty can be circumvented by burst-mode irradiation. We generate and apply trains of pulses at terahertz repetition rates for efficient pulse-to-pulse accumulation of laser-induced free carriers in the focal region, while avoiding an overdose of prefocal excitations. The superior performance of burst-mode irradiation is confirmed by a comparative study conducted with infrared luminescence microscopy. The results indicate a successful reduction of the plasma density in the prefocal region so that higher pulse energy reaches the focal spot. The same method is applied to identify optimum irradiation conditions considering particular cases such as asymmetric pulse trains and aberrated beams. With 64-pulse trains, we successfully manage to cross the writing threshold providing a solution for ULI inside GaAs. The application potential is finally illustrated with a stealth dicing demonstration by taking benefit of the burst mode. The irradiation method opens wide possibilities for 3D structuring inside GaAs by ULI.

Plasma-enabled electrochemical jet micromachining of chemically inert and passivating material
Jiajun Lu, Shunda Zhan, Bowen Liu, Yonghua Zhao
2022, 4(4) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac84b3

Electrochemical jet machining (EJM) encounters significant challenges in the microstructuring of chemically inert and passivating materials because an oxide layer is easily formed on the material surface, preventing the progress of electrochemical dissolution. This research demonstrates for the first time a jet-electrolytic plasma micromachining (Jet-EPM) method to overcome this problem. Specifically, an electrolytic plasma is intentionally induced at the jet-material contact area by applying a potential high enough to surmount the surface boundary layer (such as a passive film or gas bubble) and enable material removal. Compared to traditional EJM, introducing plasma in the electrochemical jet system leads to considerable differences in machining performance due to the inclusion of plasma reactions. In this work, the implementation of Jet-EPM for fabricating microstructures in the semiconductor material 4H-SiC is demonstrated, and the machining principle and characteristics of Jet-EPM, including critical parameters and process windows, are comprehensively investigated. Theoretical modeling and experiments have elucidated the mechanisms of plasma ignition/evolution and the corresponding material removal, showing the strong potential of Jet-EPM for micromachining chemically resistant materials. The present study considerably augments the range of materials available for processing by the electrochemical jet technique.

Laser-assisted growth of hierarchically architectured 2D MoS2 crystals on metal substrate for potential energy applications
Parvin Fathi-Hafshejani, Jafar Orangi, Majid Beidaghi, Masoud Mahjouri-Samani
2022, 4(4) doi: 10.1088/2631-7990/ac8f73

Recently, there has been substantial interest in the large-scale synthesis of hierarchically architectured transition metal dichalcogenides and designing electrodes for energy conversion and storage applications such as electrocatalysis, rechargeable batteries, and supercapacitors. Here we report a novel hybrid laser-assisted micro/nanopatterning and sulfurization method for rapid manufacturing of hierarchically architectured molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) layers directly on molybdenum sheets. This laser surface structuring not only provides the ability to design specific micro/nanostructured patterns but also significantly enhances the crystal growth kinetics. Micro and nanoscale characterization methods are employed to study the morphological, structural, and atomistic characteristics of the formed crystals at various laser processing and crystal growth conditions. To compare the performance characteristics of the laser-structured and unstructured samples, Li-ion battery cells are fabricated and their energy storage capacity is measured. The hierarchically architectured MoS2 crystals show higher performance with specific capacities of about 10 mAh cm-2, at a current rate of 0.1 mA cm-2. This rapid laser patterning and growth of 2D materials directly on conductive sheets may enable the future large-scale and roll-to-roll manufacturing of energy and sensing devices.