Compared to many other types of nanostructures, like nanoparticles,
nanowires, and nanotubes, development of hollow micro-/nano-structures is
still in its very early stage in terms of both syntheses and applications.
Many novel synthetic methodologies emerged only during the past five years.
In this review article, we summarized the significant progress made during
the past decade, including some from our own works. In general, there are
only less than 500 papers in well-recognized journals. Therefore, a large
number of excellent works in this field are being published.
Lynden A. Archer
Another reason for its high citation rate could also be that, as more
facile synthetic strategies become available for many materials,
applications of hollow structures are now being actively investigated in
multiple fields; such as energy storage, drug delivery, catalysis, sensing
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
We presented a comprehensive overview of synthetic strategies for hollow
Would you summarize the significance of your
paperin layman's terms?
Hollow micro-/nano-structures are just tiny containers/capsules with a
typical size that is one thousand times smaller than the diameter of a
human hair. With such a small size, the normal fabrication processes for
making hollow objects can no longer apply. Therefore, it can only rely on
some chemical methods for synthesis, and significant difficulties in
control of size, shape, and uniformity can be expected.
How did you become involved in this research, and
were there any problems along the way?
Our research in this field started with the challenges encountered for
design of high-performance electrode materials for next-generation
In the field, it is generally observed that the high-capacity electrode
materials suffer from rapid capacity fading during charging and discharging
cycles. This problem has been known to partly arise from the large volume
variation during the reversible lithium insertion/de-insertion processes.
View Researcher ID Profile for Xiong
Wen (David) Lou.
The idea is that if the electrode materials can be made in the form of
hollow micro-/nano-structures, the large void space included in the
structures might effectively mitigate the capacity-fading problem.
However, it's easier said than done. Not every material can be easily made
into hollow structures. This had motivated us to develop some interesting
synthetic methods for making hollow structures of many materials.
Where do you see your research leading in the
The successes in synthesis of hollow structures have provided opportunities
to tune their properties. These advances will in turn catalyze exploration
in a growing list of applications.
However, in the near future, research efforts will still be focused on
development of simple strategies which allow large-scale synthesis of
high-quality hollow particles.
Do you foresee any social or political
implications for your research?
The development in hollow structures might prove to be helpful in solving
some of the most pressing problems today, such as high-efficiency energy
conversion and storage, biomedical treatments, and healthcare needs.
Xiong Wen (David) Lou
School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Nanyang Technological University
Lynden A. Archer
School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Ithaca, NY, USA