Schematic diagram of azobenzene photothermal storage and release cycle system
Solar energy is one of the most abundant sources of energy in nature, and it can be described as “inexhaustible”. The efficient use of solar energy will become the key to solving energy problems. However, human development and utilization of solar energy has always had defects such as inefficiency, radiation dispersion, and unstable energy storage. Solar thermal fuel is becoming the key to global scientists' efforts to overcome this problem. The ideal solar thermal fuel will enable reversible energy conversion and storage in a single material system with zero emissions, ease of transport, recyclability, recyclability, and on-demand release in the form of heat.
In the research, Feng Wei team found that azobenzene is expected to become a smart “switch” and “memory” for thermal material storage and release of solar energy. The molecular structure of azobenzene has a unique "light-induced reversible structural transition property", which can store energy from solar radiation through structural transformation and spatial rearrangement of optical switching molecules, and then release energy in the form of heat, which is to achieve light- Important potential materials for heat storage and controlled release. In the review, Feng Wei team focused on the latest research progress of various types of photothermal fuels based on azobenzene and its derivatives, and expounded the basic design concepts and practical applications of advanced solar energy storage materials.