Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Anode


We have found that the addition of tin nanoparticles to a silicon-based anode provides dramatic improvements in performance in terms of both charge capacity and cycling stability. Using a simple procedure and off-the-shelf additives and precursors, we developed a structure in which the tin nanoparticles are segregated at the interface between the silicon-containing active layer and the solid electrolyte interface. Even a minor addition of tin, as small as ∼2% by weight, results in a significant decrease in the anode resistance, as confirmed by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. This leads to a decrease in charge transfer resistance, which prevents the formation of electrically inactive “dead spots” in the anode structure and enables the effective participation of silicon in the lithiation reaction.

Concepts: Cathode, Michael Faraday, Electrochemistry, Aluminium, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Anode


We reported well-integrated zinc oxide (ZnO) nanorod arrays (NRAs) on conductive textiles (CTs) and their structural and optical properties. The integrated ZnO NRAs were synthesized by cathodic electrochemical deposition on the ZnO seed layer-coated CT substrate in ultrasonic bath. The ZnO NRAs were regularly and densely grown as well as vertically aligned on the overall surface of CT substrate, in comparison with the grown ZnO NRAs without ZnO seed layer or ultrasonication. Additionally, their morphologies and sizes can be efficiently controlled by changing the external cathodic voltage between the ZnO seed-coated CT substrate and the counter electrode. At an external cathodic voltage of -2 V, the photoluminescence property of ZnO NRAs was optimized with good crystallinity and high density.

Concepts: Zinc, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Electrolysis, Anode, Zinc oxide, Textile


In a lithium-ion battery, electrons are released from the anode and go through an external electronic circuit to power devices, while ions simultaneously transfer through internal ionic media to meet with electrons at the cathode. Inspired by the fundamental electrochemistry of the lithium-ion battery, we envision a cell that can generate a current of ions instead of electrons, so that ions can be used for potential applications in biosystems. Based on this concept, we report an ‘electron battery’ configuration in which ions travel through an external circuit to interact with the intended biosystem whereas electrons are transported internally. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate the application of the electron battery by stimulating a monolayer of cultured cells, which fluoresces a calcium ion wave at a controlled ionic current. Electron batteries with the capability to generate a tunable ionic current could pave the way towards precise ion-system control in a broad range of biological applications.

Concepts: Electron, Cathode, Electric current, Electrochemistry, Ion, Battery, Electrolysis, Anode


The demand of sustainable power supply requires high-performance cost-effective energy storage technologies. Here we report a high-rate long-life low-cost sodium-ion battery full-cell system by innovating both the anode and the electrolyte. The redox couple of manganese(I/II) in Prussian blue analogs enables a high-rate and stable anode. Soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy and resonant inelastic X-ray scattering provide direct evidence suggesting the existence of monovalent manganese in the charged anode. There is a strong hybridization between cyano ligands and manganese-3d states, which benefits the electronic property for improving rate performance. Additionally, we employ an organic-aqueous cosolvent electrolyte to solve the long-standing solubility issue of Prussian blue analogs. A full-cell sodium-ion battery with low-cost Prussian blue analogs in both electrodes and co-solvent electrolyte retains 95% of its initial discharge capacity after 1000 cycles at 1C and 95% depth of discharge. The revealed manganese(I/II) redox couple inspires conceptual innovations of batteries based on atypical oxidation states.

Concepts: Cathode, Electrochemistry, Zinc, Battery, Electrolysis, Anode, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Resonant inelastic X-ray scattering


High-performance miniature power sources could enable new microelectronic systems. Here we report lithium ion microbatteries having power densities up to 7.4 mW cm(-2) μm(-1), which equals or exceeds that of the best supercapacitors, and which is 2,000 times higher than that of other microbatteries. Our key insight is that the battery microarchitecture can concurrently optimize ion and electron transport for high-power delivery, realized here as a three-dimensional bicontinuous interdigitated microelectrodes. The battery microarchitecture affords trade-offs between power and energy density that result in a high-performance power source, and which is scalable to larger areas.

Concepts: Cathode, Fundamental physics concepts, Density, Battery, Platinum, Electrolysis, Rechargeable battery, Anode


The rechargeable nonaqueous lithium-air (Li-O(2)) battery is receiving a great deal of interest because, theoretically, its specific energy far exceeds the best that can be achieved with lithium-ion cells. Operation of the rechargeable Li-O(2) battery depends critically on repeated and highly reversible formation/decomposition of lithium peroxide (Li(2)O(2)) at the cathode upon cycling. Here, we show that this process is possible with the use of a dimethyl sulfoxide electrolyte and a porous gold electrode (95% capacity retention from cycles 1 to 100), whereas previously only partial Li(2)O(2) formation/decomposition and limited cycling could occur. Furthermore, we present data indicating that the kinetics of Li(2)O(2) oxidation on charge is approximately 10 times faster than on carbon electrodes.

Concepts: Cathode, Electrochemistry, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Electrolysis, Rechargeable battery, Anode


Short-term transients, including those related to wind and solar sources, present challenges to the electrical grid. Stationary energy storage systems that can operate for many cycles, at high power, with high round-trip energy efficiency, and at low cost are required. Existing energy storage technologies cannot satisfy these requirements. Here we show that crystalline nanoparticles of copper hexacyanoferrate, which has an ultra-low strain open framework structure, can be operated as a battery electrode in inexpensive aqueous electrolytes. After 40,000 deep discharge cycles at a 17 C rate, 83% of the original capacity of copper hexacyanoferrate is retained. Even at a very high cycling rate of 83 C, two thirds of its maximum discharge capacity is observed. At modest current densities, round-trip energy efficiencies of 99% can be achieved. The low-cost, scalable, room-temperature co-precipitation synthesis and excellent electrode performance of copper hexacyanoferrate make it attractive for large-scale energy storage systems.

Concepts: Cathode, Electrochemistry, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Anode, Wind power, Energy storage


Lithium metal is a promising anode candidate for the next-generation rechargeable battery due to its highest specific capacity (3860 mA h g(-1)) and lowest potential, but low Coulombic efficiency and formation of lithium dendrites hinder its practical application. Here, we report a self-formed flexible hybrid solid-electrolyte interphase layer through co-deposition of organosulfides/organopolysulfides and inorganic lithium salts using sulfur-containing polymers as an additive in the electrolyte. The organosulfides/organopolysulfides serve as “plasticizer” in the solid-electrolyte interphase layer to improve its mechanical flexibility and toughness. The as-formed robust solid-electrolyte interphase layers enable dendrite-free lithium deposition and significantly improve Coulombic efficiency (99% over 400 cycles at a current density of 2 mA cm(-2)). A lithium-sulfur battery based on this strategy exhibits long cycling life (1000 cycles) and good capacity retention. This study reveals an avenue to effectively fabricate stable solid-electrolyte interphase layer for solving the issues associated with lithium metal anodes.The practical application of lithium metal anodes suffers from the poor Coulombic efficiency and growth of lithium dendrites. Here, the authors report an approach to enable the self-formation of stable and flexible solid-electrolyte interphase layers which serve to address both issues.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Battery, Electrode, Electrolysis, Rechargeable battery, Anode, Lithium, Primary cell


Sponge-like porous Ni(OH)(2)-NiF(2) composite (PNC) film was successfully synthesized by the anodization of nickel in a NH(4)F and H(3)PO(4) containing electrolyte. Thanks to the good conductivity and the highly porous architecture, PNC exhibited not only a high specific capacitance, but also a superior rate capability and a good cyclability (2090 F g(-1) at 10 mV s(-1), capacitance >1200 F g(-1) at 100 A g(-1) after 2000 cycles). Anodization of nickel is proven to be fast and facile and can be easily scaled up. The method described here is promising for the fabrication of supercapacitor electrodes with excellent performance.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Physical chemistry, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Electrolysis, Anode, Electroplating


The electrode-specific formation of polydopamine films is achieved by applying positive voltage to the target electrodes at pH 6.0. The functionalization of the films is simultaneously carried out by co-depositing dopamine with molecules of interest onto the electrode.

Concepts: Cathode, Anode