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Research Article

Single-atomic Zn-(C/N/O) lithiophilic sites induced stable lithium plating/stripping in anode-free lithium metal battery

Shifei Huang1,2Sirong Lu3Yao Lv1,4Nanrui Li1,2Zhenwei Wu5Geng Zhong1,2Xiaolong Ren1,2Yufeng Wang1,2Bo Sun1,2Yuxiong Huang2,6Feiyu Kang1,2( )Yidan Cao1,2( )
Institute of Materials Research, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
Shenzhen Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen 518055, China
College of Sciences and Institute for Sustainable Energy, Shanghai University, Shanghai 200444, China
Shell Catalysts & Technologies, Shell Technology Center Houston, Houston TX 77082-3101, USA
Institute of Environment and Ecology, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
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Graphical Abstract

Atomically dispersed Zn-(C/N/O) lithiophilic sites in the amorphous carbon medium were introduced onto Cu by an in-situ induced ion coordination chemistry strategy to get the modified Zn@NC@reduced graphene oxide (RGO)@Cu current collector and induce stable lithium plating/stripping in anode-free lithium metal battery.


For anode-free lithium metal battery, lithiophilic surface modification on the current collector can effectively reduce the lithium nucleation barrier, so as to regulate the electrodeposition of lithium. Here, atomically dispersed Zn-(C/N/O) lithiophilic sites in the amorphous carbon medium were introduced onto Cu by an in-situ induced ion coordination chemistry strategy to get the modified Zn@NC@RGO@Cu current collector. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) combined with scanning transmission electron microscopy in high angle annular dark field (STEM-HAADF) analysis proved the single atomic state of the zinc sites surrounded by C, N, and O with a coordination number of ~ 3. According to the electrochemical tests and first principle calculations, the ultra-uniformly dispersed Zn-(C/N/O) sites at the atomic level can effectively improve the lithium affinity, reduce the energy barrier for lithium nucleation, homogenize the lithium nucleation, and enhance an inorganic lithium compounds rich solid electrolyte interphase layer. As a result, the nucleation overpotential of lithium on the modified current collector was reduced to 7.7 mV, which was 5.4 times lower than that on bare Cu. Uniform lithium nucleation and deposition enabled stable Li plating/stripping and elevated Coulombic efficiency of 98.95% in Li||Cu cell after > 850 cycles. Capacity retention of 89.7% was successfully achieved in the anode-free lithium metal battery after 100 cycles.

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Nano Research
Pages 11473-11485
Cite this article:
Huang S, Lu S, Lv Y, et al. Single-atomic Zn-(C/N/O) lithiophilic sites induced stable lithium plating/stripping in anode-free lithium metal battery. Nano Research, 2023, 16(8): 11473-11485.






Web of Science






Received: 23 March 2023
Revised: 29 April 2023
Accepted: 01 May 2023
Published: 03 June 2023
© Tsinghua University Press 2023