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

Concept: Cathode


The grand vision of manufacturing large-area emissive devices with low-cost roll-to-roll coating methods, akin to how newspapers are produced, appeared with the emergence of the organic light-emitting diode about 20 years ago. Today, small organic light-emitting diode displays are commercially available in smartphones, but the promise of a continuous ambient fabrication has unfortunately not materialized yet, as organic light-emitting diodes invariably depend on the use of one or more time- and energy-consuming process steps under vacuum. Here we report an all-solution-based fabrication of an alternative emissive device, a light-emitting electrochemical cell, using a slot-die roll-coating apparatus. The fabricated flexible sheets exhibit bidirectional and uniform light emission, and feature a fault-tolerant >1-μm-thick active material that is doped in situ during operation. It is notable that the initial preparation of inks, the subsequent coating of the constituent layers and the final device operation all could be executed under ambient air.

Concepts: Cathode, Vacuum tube, Light, Solar cell, Electrode, Light-emitting diode, Diode, Light-emitting diodes


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


One of the most exciting areas in lithium ion batteries is engineering structured silicon anodes. These new materials promise to lead the next generation of batteries with significantly higher reversible charge capacity than current technologies. One drawback of these materials is that their production involves costly processing steps, limiting their application in commercial lithium ion batteries. In this report we present an inexpensive method for synthesizing macroporous silicon particulates (MPSPs). After being mixed with polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and pyrolyzed, MPSPs can alloy with lithium, resulting in capacities of 1000 mAhg(-1) for over 600+ cycles. These sponge-like MPSPs with pyrolyzed PAN (PPAN) can accommodate the large volume expansion associated with silicon lithiation. This performance combined with low cost processing yields a competitive anode material that will have an immediate and direct application in lithium ion batteries.

Concepts: Electron, Cathode, Battery, Electrolysis, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium, Lithium battery, Lithium-ion polymer battery


New energy industry including electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage in smart grids requires energy storage systems of good safety, high reliability, high energy density and low cost. Here a coated Li metal is used as anode for an aqueous rechargeable lithium battery (ARLB) combining LiMnO as cathode and 0.5 mol l LiSO aqueous solution as electrolyte. Due to the “cross-over” effect of Li ions in the coating, this ARLB delivers an output voltage of about 4.0 V, a big breakthrough of the theoretic stable window of water, 1.229 V. Its cycling is very excellent with Coulomb efficiency of 100% except in the first cycle. Its energy density can be 446 Wh kg, about 80% higher than that for traditional lithium ion battery. Its power efficiency can be above 95%. Furthermore, its cost is low and safety is much reliable. It provides another chemistry for post lithium ion batteries.

Concepts: Cathode, Battery, Rechargeable battery, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium, Lithium battery, Nanowire battery, Energy storage


Destructive gas generation with associated swelling has been a major challenge to the large-scale application of lithium ion batteries (LIBs) made from Li(4)Ti(5)O(12) (LTO) anodes. Here we report root causes of the gassing behavior, and suggest remedy to suppress it. The generated gases mainly contain H(2), CO(2) and CO, which originate from interfacial reactions between LTO and surrounding alkyl carbonate solvents. The reactions occur at the very thin outermost surface of LTO (111) plane, which result in transformation from (111) to (222) plane and formation of (101) plane of anatase TiO(2). A nanoscale carbon coating along with a stable solid electrolyte interface (SEI) film around LTO is seen most effective as a barrier layer in suppressing the interfacial reaction and resulting gassing from the LTO surface. Such an ability to tune the interface nanostructure of electrodes has practical implications in the design of next-generation high power LIBs.

Concepts: Cathode, Electrochemistry, Solid, Battery, Rechargeable battery, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium, Lithium battery


The conversion of allergic pollen grains into carbon microstructures was carried out through a facile, one-step, solid-state pyrolysis process in an inert atmosphere. The as-prepared carbonaceous particles were further air activated at 300 °C and then evaluated as lithium ion battery anodes at room (25 °C) and elevated (50 °C) temperatures. The distinct morphologies of bee pollens and cattail pollens are resembled on the final architecture of produced carbons. Scanning Electron Microscopy images shows that activated bee pollen carbon (ABP) is comprised of spiky, brain-like, and tiny spheres; while activated cattail pollen carbon (ACP) resembles deflated spheres. Structural analysis through X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy confirmed their amorphous nature. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis of ABP and ACP confirmed that both samples contain high levels of oxygen and small amount of nitrogen contents. At C/10 rate, ACP electrode delivered high specific lithium storage reversible capacities (590 mAh/g at 50 °C and 382 mAh/g at 25 °C) and also exhibited excellent high rate capabilities. Through electrochemical impedance spectroscopy studies, improved performance of ACP is attributed to its lower charge transfer resistance than ABP. Current studies demonstrate that morphologically distinct renewable pollens could produce carbon architectures for anode applications in energy storage devices.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Cathode, Electrochemistry, Battery, Rechargeable battery, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium


Every year many tons of waste glass end up in landfills without proper recycling, which aggravates the burden of waste disposal in landfill. The conversion from un-recycled glass to favorable materials is of great significance for sustainable strategies. Recently, silicon has been an exceptional anode material towards large-scale energy storage applications, due to its extraordinary lithiation capacity of 3579 mAh g(-1) at ambient temperature. Compared with other quartz sources obtained from pre-leaching processes which apply toxic acids and high energy-consuming annealing, an interconnected silicon network is directly derived from glass bottles via magnesiothermic reduction. Carbon-coated glass derived-silicon (gSi@C) electrodes demonstrate excellent electrochemical performance with a capacity of ~1420 mAh g(-1) at C/2 after 400 cycles. Full cells consisting of gSi@C anodes and LiCoO2 cathodes are assembled and achieve good initial cycling stability with high energy density.

Concepts: Cathode, Electrochemistry, Waste management, Battery, Electrolysis, Rechargeable battery, Recycling, Energy storage


Lattice oxygen can play an intriguing role in electrochemical processes, not only maintaining structural stability, but also influencing electron and ion transport properties in high-capacity oxide cathode materials for Li-ion batteries. Here, we report the design of a gas-solid interface reaction to achieve delicate control of oxygen activity through uniformly creating oxygen vacancies without affecting structural integrity of Li-rich layered oxides. Theoretical calculations and experimental characterizations demonstrate that oxygen vacancies provide a favourable ionic diffusion environment in the bulk and significantly suppress gas release from the surface. The target material is achievable in delivering a discharge capacity as high as 301 mAh g(-1) with initial Coulombic efficiency of 93.2%. After 100 cycles, a reversible capacity of 300 mAh g(-1) still remains without any obvious decay in voltage. This study sheds light on the comprehensive design and control of oxygen activity in transition-metal-oxide systems for next-generation Li-ion batteries.

Concepts: Cathode, Oxygen, Oxide, Ion, Rechargeable battery, Lithium-ion battery, Lithium, Lithium-ion polymer battery


Calcium is an attractive material for the negative electrode in a rechargeable battery due to its low electronegativity (high cell voltage), double valence, earth abundance and low cost; however, the use of calcium has historically eluded researchers due to its high melting temperature, high reactivity and unfavorably high solubility in molten salts. Here we demonstrate a long-cycle-life calcium-metal-based rechargeable battery for grid-scale energy storage. By deploying a multi-cation binary electrolyte in concert with an alloyed negative electrode, calcium solubility in the electrolyte is suppressed and operating temperature is reduced. These chemical mitigation strategies also engage another element in energy storage reactions resulting in a multi-element battery. These initial results demonstrate how the synergistic effects of deploying multiple chemical mitigation strategies coupled with the relaxation of the requirement of a single itinerant ion can unlock calcium-based chemistries and produce a battery with enhanced performance.

Concepts: Cathode, Electrochemistry, Chemistry, Solid, Battery, Electrolyte, Electrode, Rechargeable battery


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