Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting

A special issue of Coatings (ISSN 2079-6412). This special issue belongs to the section "Surface Engineering for Energy Harvesting, Conversion, and Storage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 10853

Special Issue Editors

Research Centre for Humanoid Sensing, Zhejiang Lab, Hangzhou, China
Interests: functional polymers synthesis; triboelectric nanogenerators; mechanical energy harvesting; soft electronics; polymer composites
School of Engineering Medicine, Beihang University, Beijing, China
Interests: flexible electronics; self-powered technologies; biosensors; nanogenerators; implantable medical devices; cell biomechanics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable energy, including water energy, wind energy, ambient mechanical energy (e.g., human motion energy and vibration energy), solar energy, bioenergy and thermal energy, etc., possesses the properties of renewability and clean and wide distribution. Collecting sustainable energy is a feasible strategy to overcome the energy crisis and the environmental issues caused using traditional fossil fuels. Various energy technologies and devices, such as solar cell, biofuel cell, and generators (e.g., piezoelectric, triboelectric, and thermoelectric generators), have been developed for converting sustainable energy into forms that can be utilized by humans. Attributed to the features of processability, insulation, corrosion resistance, flexibility, etc., polymers are widely used as constitute materials for the fabrication of energy devices. The structures and properties of employed polymers will affect the performance of these devices in harvesting sustainable energy. Especially, certain surface-modified and surface-treated polymers play important roles in constructing advanced energy devices with outstanding performance. Some functional and smart polymers endow devices with attractive functions. Further, polymer thin films and coatings are important components of certain energy devices and deserve more attention.

The aim of this Special Issue of Coatings is to provide researchers with a platform to publish their novel studies on “Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting”. We expect this Special Issue to contribute to progress in this important field. In particular, the topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Surface engineering of polymers for improved performance of devices in energy harvesting;
  • Polymer design for advanced sustainable energy devices;
  • Application development of sustainable energy harvesters by polymer strategies;
  • Smart polymers for functionalized sustainable energy devices;
  • New sustainable energy devices containing polymers coatings and thin films;
  • Any other aspects combining sustainable energy harvesting and advanced polymers.

Dr. Wei Xu
Dr. Zhuo Liu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 4895 KiB  
Article
Design and Preparation of Bending-Resistant Flexible All-Solid Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
by Yan Li, Yu-Xuan Hou, Wei-Wu Dang, Li Liu, Jian-Hua Chen and Xian Gu
Coatings 2024, 14(4), 504; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings14040504 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 587
Abstract
All-solid-state flexible dye-sensitized solar cells will not only expand the application scenarios of solar cells but also significantly extend the lifetime of solar cells. However, improving their bending-resistant ability is still a great challenge. In this study, a bending-resistant flexible all-solid dye-sensitized solar [...] Read more.
All-solid-state flexible dye-sensitized solar cells will not only expand the application scenarios of solar cells but also significantly extend the lifetime of solar cells. However, improving their bending-resistant ability is still a great challenge. In this study, a bending-resistant flexible all-solid dye-sensitized solar cell was designed and prepared. Firstly, for the preparation of TiO2 photoanode, the traditional nano-sized film has been replaced by dual-porous film with both nano and submicron pores, which can not only benefit the filling of the electrolyte but also supply the space for stress release. Secondly, for the filling of the Poly(vinylidene fluoride)/Poly(ethylene oxide)-based electrolyte, the solvent is removed by a vacuum method, and the electrolyte fibers forming in the submicron pores also show the potential for stress release. Lastly, combined with the advantages of the dual-porous TiO2 film and the fast evaporation of the polymer electrolyte, the conversion efficiency of the solar cells remains constant after the 20,000 bending times. The study supplies a demonstration for the development of all-solid-state flexible dye-sensitized solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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16 pages, 4386 KiB  
Article
Enhancement of the Surface Hydrophilicity of Poly(Vinyl Chloride) Using Hyperbranched Polylysine with Polydopamine
by Yixian Zhang, Dong Wang, Ying Xu, Li Wen, Jian Dong and Liming Wang
Coatings 2024, 14(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings14010103 - 12 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 882
Abstract
In recent years, the application of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material has significantly expanded within the realm of biomedical materials. However, the hydrophobicity of PVC has been found to cause many adverse reactions in patients within the biomedical field. It is imperative to urgently [...] Read more.
In recent years, the application of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material has significantly expanded within the realm of biomedical materials. However, the hydrophobicity of PVC has been found to cause many adverse reactions in patients within the biomedical field. It is imperative to urgently discover viable approaches for enhancing the hydrophilicity of PVC in order to ensure its safety in biomedical applications. In this study, the surface of PVC films was modified with a combination of hyperbranched polylysine (HBPL) and polydopamine (pDA) through either simultaneous deposition with polydopamine (PVC-pDA/HBPL) or successive deposition of pDA and HBPL (PVC-pDA-HBPL), aiming to investigate the influence of this modification method on surface hydrophilicity enhancement. The surface coatings were characterized using gravimetry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, and water contact angle measurements. The results demonstrated that the incorporation of HBPL led to a significant enhancement in both the deposition amount and stability of pDA, particularly when the mass ratio of DA/HBPL was approximately 1:1. Simultaneously, the morphology of the films exhibited an increase in roughness, while surface hydrophilicity was significantly enhanced upon incorporating pDA and HBPL, and the water contact angle was decreased to 43.2°. Moreover, the detachment of PVC-pDA/HBPL and PVC-pDA-HBPL after exposure to 1.0 M NaOH solutions was considerably lower compared to that of PVC-pDA alone, indicating improved stability under strongly basic conditions. Notably, these enhancements were more pronounced for PVC-pDA/HBPL than for PVC-pDA-HBPL, indicating that HBPL may act as a cross-linker during pDA deposition primarily through intermolecular Schiff base reactions, hydrogen bonding, or Michael addition. This work represents a pioneering effort in integrating HBPL and dopamine for hydrophilic modification of PVC materials, thereby expanding the potential applications of PVC materials. Additionally, we provide novel insights into constructing a hydrophilic surface based on bionic principles and expanding the potential applications of HBPL and pDA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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21 pages, 6392 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Characterization of Amorphous Selenium, Cadmium and Silver Selenide Thin Films on Polyamide-6
by Emilija Skuodaitė and Valentina Krylova
Coatings 2023, 13(10), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13101661 - 22 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1064
Abstract
Increasing photon absorption by capturing light is an important way to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic devices. In this regard, the small optical band gap (Eg) and high absorption coefficient of Se-containing thin nanofilms make them ideal for next generation [...] Read more.
Increasing photon absorption by capturing light is an important way to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic devices. In this regard, the small optical band gap (Eg) and high absorption coefficient of Se-containing thin nanofilms make them ideal for next generation photovoltaic devices based on selenides. Amorphous selenium was introduced into polyamide-6 (PA 6) via a chemical synthesis in a bath and the influence of the products of its reaction with Cd2+ and Ag+ ions on the film phase composition, topographic and optical properties were evaluated. AFM data have revealed that the surface roughness of the a-Se/PA 6 composite noticeably increases compared to that of unreacted PA 6. However, at later stages of film deposition, the roughness decreases, and the thin film becomes smoother and uniform. The incorporation of solid inorganic nanoparticles into flexible polyamide network causes chain stretching, which has been confirmed by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy data. The data of X-ray diffraction analysis, depending on the stage of synthesis, showed the crystalline composition of the film with peaks of Se8, CdSe, Ag2Se and Ag, which may explain the observed optical properties. The optical properties of the composites indicate a shift in the band gap from 4.46 eV for PA 6 to 2.23–1.64 eV upon the stepwise deposition of amorphous Se, CdSe and Ag2Se. Eg is conveniently located in the visible region of solar energy, making the obtained nanofilms ideal for solar energy harvesting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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11 pages, 4694 KiB  
Communication
Effect of Electric Properties according to Volume Ratio of Supercapacitor and Battery Capacitor in Hybrid Energy Storage System
by Jong-Kyu Lee and Jung-Rag Yoon
Coatings 2023, 13(8), 1316; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13081316 - 27 Jul 2023
Viewed by 826
Abstract
The development of technology that combines supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries by externally connecting them in parallel is ongoing. This study examines the correlation between the volume ratio and electrical characteristics of a cell made by internally connecting a battery capacitor with Li4 [...] Read more.
The development of technology that combines supercapacitors and lithium-ion batteries by externally connecting them in parallel is ongoing. This study examines the correlation between the volume ratio and electrical characteristics of a cell made by internally connecting a battery capacitor with Li4Ti5O12 as the anode active material and a supercapacitor in parallel. It was found that increasing the volume occupied by the battery capacitor in the cell led to increased cell energy and resistance, resulting in decreased output characteristics. Conversely, increasing the volume occupied by the supercapacitor in the cell led to a decrease in the IR drop during discharge and the cell temperature when evaluating cycle characteristics with a current of 20C. This study also examined the behavior of the current distributed during the charging and discharging process based on the volume ratio of the supercapacitor and the battery capacitor. Analyzing the correlation between the volume ratio and electrical characteristics of supercapacitors and battery capacitors could potentially lead to the development of a new type of energy storage device. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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12 pages, 1913 KiB  
Article
Optimization of Bulk Heterojunction Organic Photovoltaics
by Alaa Y. Ali, Natalie P. Holmes, Nathan Cooling, John Holdsworth, Warwick Belcher, Paul Dastoor and Xiaojing Zhou
Coatings 2023, 13(7), 1293; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13071293 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1319
Abstract
The performance of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT): phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices was found to be strongly influenced by environmental during preparation, thermal annealing conditions, and the material blend composition. We optimized laboratory fabricated devices for these variables. Humidity [...] Read more.
The performance of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT): phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices was found to be strongly influenced by environmental during preparation, thermal annealing conditions, and the material blend composition. We optimized laboratory fabricated devices for these variables. Humidity during the fabrication process can cause electrode oxidation and photo-oxidation in the active layer of the OPV. Thermal annealing of the device structure modifies the morphology of the active layer, resulting in changes in material domain sizes and percolation pathways which can enhance the performance of devices. Thermal annealing of the blended organic materials in the active layer also leads to the growth of crystalline for P3HT domains due to a more arrangement packing of chains in the polymer. Poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS) acts as a hole transport layer in these P3HT:PCBM devices. Two commercially materials of PEDOT:PSS were utilizing in the optimization of the OPV in this research; high conductivity PEDOT:PSS-PH1000 and PEDOT:PSS-Al4083, which is specifically designed for OPV interfaces. It was demonstrated that OPVs were prepared with PEDOT:PSS-PH1000 have a less than the average performance of PEDOT:PSS-Al4083. The power conversion efficiency (PCE) decreased clearly with a reducing in masking area devices from 5 mm2 to 3.8 mm2 for OPVs based on PH1000 almost absolutely due to the reduced short circuit current (Jsc). This work provides a roadmap to understanding P3HT:PCBM OPV performance and outlines the preparation issues which need to be resolved for efficient device fabrication Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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12 pages, 3686 KiB  
Article
N-Doped and Sulfonated Reduced Graphene Oxide Supported PtNi Nanoparticles as Highly Efficient Electrocatalysts for Oxygen Reduction Reaction
by Chun Ouyang, Damao Xun and Gang Jian
Coatings 2022, 12(8), 1049; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12081049 - 25 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1496
Abstract
N-doping and sulfonation is prepared on the reduced graphene oxide (rGO) support for PtNi nanoparticles (PtNi/S-(N)rGO) by a simple method of hydrothermal synthesis and thermal decomposition. The specific surface area increases from 180.7 m2/g of PtNi/rGo to 293.5 m2/g [...] Read more.
N-doping and sulfonation is prepared on the reduced graphene oxide (rGO) support for PtNi nanoparticles (PtNi/S-(N)rGO) by a simple method of hydrothermal synthesis and thermal decomposition. The specific surface area increases from 180.7 m2/g of PtNi/rGo to 293.5 m2/g of PtNi/S-(N)rGO. The surface morphology shows wrinkles sites, which are separated by the sulfonated groups. The catalytic stability and efficiency are improved by the anchoring effect of sulfonated groups and evenly distribution of nanoparticles, respectively. The synergistic effect of N-doping and sulfonation can be in favor of catalytic efficiency by the increase of number of electron transfer. The half-wave potential of the PtNi/S-(N)rGO catalyst is up to 0.632 V, a small positive shift compared to the Pt/C catalyst. The durability of the PtNi/S-(N)rGO is 2.6 times higher than of the Pt/C catalyst after 5000 repeated cycles. The peak power of the PtNi/S-(N)rGO catalyst increased 37.5% compared to the Pt/C catalyst. Therefore, the stability and catalytic efficiency are improved by the PtNi/S-(N)rGO catalyst applied in proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) compared to the commercial Pt/C catalyst. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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Review

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38 pages, 17603 KiB  
Review
Materials, Structures, and Applications of iTENGs
by Yuan Xi, Yubo Fan, Zhou Li and Zhuo Liu
Coatings 2023, 13(8), 1407; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13081407 - 10 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Implantable triboelectric nanogenerators (iTENG) have emerged as a promising technology for self-powered biomedical devices. This review explores the key aspects of materials, structures, and representative applications of iTENGs. The materials section discusses the core triboelectric layer, electrode layer, and encapsulation layer, emphasizing the [...] Read more.
Implantable triboelectric nanogenerators (iTENG) have emerged as a promising technology for self-powered biomedical devices. This review explores the key aspects of materials, structures, and representative applications of iTENGs. The materials section discusses the core triboelectric layer, electrode layer, and encapsulation layer, emphasizing the importance of biocompatibility and mechanical flexibility. The structural design section delves into three common modes: contact–separation mode, single-electrode mode, and free-standing mode, highlighting their working principles and advantages. The application section covers diverse areas such as cardiac devices, sterilization processes, and anticancer therapies, showcasing the potential of iTENGs to revolutionize healthcare. Moreover, it discusses the challenges and future directions for material development, structural design optimization, conformal matching, and practical implementation of iTENGs. This comprehensive review provides valuable insights into the materials, structures, and applications of iTENGs, serving as a resource for researchers and engineers in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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24 pages, 1818 KiB  
Review
A Brief Introduction and Current State of Polyvinylidene Fluoride as an Energy Harvester
by Nikola Papež, Tatiana Pisarenko, Erik Ščasnovič, Dinara Sobola, Ştefan Ţălu, Rashid Dallaev, Klára Částková and Petr Sedlák
Coatings 2022, 12(10), 1429; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12101429 - 29 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2592
Abstract
This review summarizes the current trends and developments in the field of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) for use mainly as a nanogenerator. The text covers PVDF from the first steps of solution mixing, through production, to material utilization, demonstration of results, and future perspective. [...] Read more.
This review summarizes the current trends and developments in the field of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) for use mainly as a nanogenerator. The text covers PVDF from the first steps of solution mixing, through production, to material utilization, demonstration of results, and future perspective. Specific solvents and ratios must be selected when choosing and mixing the solution. It is necessary to set exact parameters during the fabrication and define whether the material will be flexible nanofibers or a solid layer. Based on these selections, the subsequent use of PVDF and its piezoelectric properties are determined. The most common degradation phenomena and how PVDF behaves are described in the paper. This review is therefore intended to provide a basic overview not only for those who plan to start producing PVDF as energy nanogenerators, active filters, or sensors but also for those who are already knowledgeable in the production of this material and want to expand their existing expertise and current overview of the subject. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer and Thin Film for Sustainable Energy Harvesting)
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