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Colloidal synthesis of metal chalcogenide nanomaterials from metal-organic precursors and capping ligand effect on electrocatalytic performance: progress, challenges and future perspectives

Malik Dilshad Khan, Marcin Opallo, Neerish Revaprasadu

Dalton Transactions, 2021


Renewable and sustainable functional nanomaterials, which can be employed in alternative green energy sources, are highly desirable. Transition metal chalcogenides are potential catalysts for processes resulting in energy generation and storage. In order to optimize their catalytic performance, high phase purity and precise control over shape and size are indispensable. Metal–organic precursors with pre-formed bonds between the metal and the chalcogenide atoms are advantageous in synthesizing phase pure transition metal chalcogenides with controlled shape and sizes. This can be achieved by the decomposition of metal–organic precursors in the presence of suitable surfactants/capping agents. However, the recent studies on electrocatalysis at the nanoscale level reveal that the capping agents attached to their surface have a detrimental effect on their efficiency. The removal of surfactants from active sites to obtain bare surface nanoparticles is necessary to enhance catalytic activity. Herein, we have discussed the properties of different metal–organic precursors and the role of surfactants in the colloidal synthesis of metal chalcogenide nanomaterials. Moreover, the effect of surfactants on their electrocatalytic performance, the commonly used strategies for removing surfactants from the surface of nanomaterials and the future perspectives are reviewed.

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