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Issue 44, 2018
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A deeply rechargeable zinc anode with pomegranate-inspired nanostructure for high-energy aqueous batteries

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Abstract

Rechargeable, Zn-based aqueous batteries because of their advantages of inflammability, high energy density, and low material cost are an attractive alternative to lithium-ion and lead-acid batteries for transportation and grid-scale applications. Historically, zinc anodes have shown low utilization and rechargeability in alkaline electrolytes due to the problems of ZnO passivation and Zn(OH)42− dissolution. Herein, we report a nanoscale, pomegranate-structured Zn anode (Zn-pome) fabricated via a bottom-up microemulsion approach to overcome these problems. In the Zn-pome, primary ZnO nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) assemble into secondary clusters after which they are individually encapsulated by a conductive, microporous carbon framework. The small size of ZnO NPs overcomes the issue of passivation, whereas the secondary structure and ion-sieving carbon shell mitigate the dissolution problem. Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) analysis confirms that Zn dissolution from the Zn-pome anode is effectively suppressed, leading to a considerably prolonged cycle life compared to that of a conventional ZnO anode in an alkaline aqueous electrolyte. The Zn-pome anode even maintains the capacity after long resting. This performance is achieved in harsh yet practical conditions: a limited amount of electrolyte, sealed coin cells, and 100% depth of discharge (DOD). This study represents an important step towards producing aqueous, rechargeable, high-energy batteries. In addition, the design principles reported here can be applied to other battery systems involving passivation or dissolution intermediates.

Graphical abstract: A deeply rechargeable zinc anode with pomegranate-inspired nanostructure for high-energy aqueous batteries

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
12 Aug 2018
Accepted
17 Oct 2018
First published
17 Oct 2018

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018,6, 21933-21940
Article type
Communication
Author version available

A deeply rechargeable zinc anode with pomegranate-inspired nanostructure for high-energy aqueous batteries

P. Chen, Y. Wu, Y. Zhang, T. Wu, Y. Ma, C. Pelkowski, H. Yang, Y. Zhang, X. Hu and N. Liu, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018, 6, 21933
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA07809B

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