Research Article Issue
A non-nucleophilic gel polymer magnesium electrolyte compatible with sulfur cathode
Nano Research 2020, 13 (10): 2749-2754
Published: 05 October 2020

Magnesium/sulfur battery (Mg/S) has recently received wide attention due to its high theoretical energy density (3,260 Wh/L) and low cost. To further improve its safety and flexibility, developing a polymer electrolyte that can be compatible with both electrophilic S and Mg is critical. Here, we report a magnesium chloride-(fluorinated tetraethylene glycolic)borate (MgCl-FTGB) based non-nucleophilic, gel-type polymer electrolyte for Mg/S battery via a facile synthetic method through commercially available reagents. This electrolyte coupled with glass fiber allows reversible Mg deposition/dissolution (100% coulombic efficiency) with low polarization (500 μA/cm2, 300/300 mV), and shows a wide electrochemical window of 4.8 V (vs. Mg/Mg2+). Mg/S battery assembled with this electrolyte can cycle over 50 times with a high specific discharge capacity retention of over 1,100 mAh/g.

Research Article Issue
A stretchable, asymmetric, coaxial fiber-shaped supercapacitor for wearable electronics
Nano Research 2020, 13 (6): 1686-1692
Published: 11 May 2020

Fiber-shaped supercapacitors (FSCs), owing to their high-power density and feasibility to be integrated into woven clothes, have drawn tremendous attentions as a key device for flexible energy storage. However, how to store more energy while withstanding various types of mechanical deformation is still a challenge for FSCs. Here, based on a magnetron sputtering method, different pseudocapacitive materials are conformally coated on self-supported carbon nanotube aligned films. This fabrication approach enables a stretchable, asymmetric, coaxial fiber-shaped supercapacitors with high performance. The asymmetric electrode configuration that consists of CNT@NiO@MnOx cathode and CNT@Fe2O3 anode successfully extends the FSC’s electrochemical window to 1.8 V in an aqueous electrolyte. As a result, a high specific capacitance of 10.4 F·cm-3 is achieved at a current density of 30 mA·cm-3 corresponding to a high energy density of 4.7 mWh·cm-3. The mechanical stability of the stretchable FSC is demonstrated with a sustainable performance under strains up to 75% and a capacitance retention of 95% after 2,000 cycles under 75% strain.

Research Article Issue
High areal capacity flexible sulfur cathode based on multi-functionalized super-aligned carbon nanotubes
Nano Research 2019, 12 (5): 1105-1113
Published: 28 March 2019

Rational design of a robust carbon matrix has a profound impact on the performance of flexible/wearable lithium/sulfur batteries. Herein, we demonstrate a freestanding three-dimensional super-aligned carbon nanotube (SACNT) matrix reinforced with a multi-functionalized carbon coating for flexible, high-areal sulfur loading cathode. By employing the sulfur/nitrogen co-doped carbon (SNC) "glue", the joints in the SACNT scaffold are tightly welded together so that the overall mechanical strength of the electrode is significantly enhanced to withstand the repeated bending as well as the volume change during operation. The SNC also shows intriguing catalytic effect that lowers the energy barrier of Li ion transport, propelling a superior redox conversion efficiency. The resulting binder-free and current collector-free sulfur cathode exhibits a high reversible capacity of 1, 079 mAh·g-1 at 1 C, a high-rate capacity of ~ 800 mAh·g-1 at 5 C, and an average capacity decay rate of 0.037% per cycle at 2 C for 1, 500 cycles. Impressively, a large-areal flexible Li/S pouch cell based on such mechanically robust cathode exhibits excellent capacity retention under arbitrary bending conditions. With a high areal sulfur loading of 7 mg·cm-2, the large-areal flexible cathode delivers an outstanding areal capacity of 6.3 mAh·cm-2 at 0.5 C (5.86 mA·cm-2), showing its promise for realizing practical high energy density flexible Li/S batteries.

Research Article Issue
Infiltrating lithium into carbon cloth decorated with zinc oxide arrays for dendrite-free lithium metal anode
Nano Research 2019, 12 (3): 525-529
Published: 23 November 2018

Lithium metal anode for batteries has attracted extensive attentions, but its application is restricted by the hazardous dendritic Li growth and dead Li formation. To address these issues, a novel Li anode is developed by infiltrating molten Li metal into conductive carbon cloth decorated with zinc oxide arrays. In carbonate-based electrolyte, the symmetric cell shows no short circuit over 1, 500 h at 1 mAdcm-2, and stable voltage profiles at 3 mAdcm-2 for ~ 300 h cycling. A low overpotential of ~ 243 mV over 350 cycles at a high current density of 10 mAdcm-2 is achieved, compared to the seriously fluctuated voltage and fast short circuit in the cell using bare Li metal. Meanwhile, the asymmetric cell withstands 1, 000 cycles at 10 C (1 C = 167 mAhdg-1) compared to the 210 cycles for the cell using bare Li anode. The excellent performance is attributed to the well-regulated Li plating/stripping driven from the formation of LiZn alloy on the wavy carbon fibers, resulting in the suppression of dendrite growth and pulverization of the Li electrode during cycling.

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