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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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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Aug 2018, accepted on 17 Oct 2018 and first published on 17 Oct 2018


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C8TA07809B
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2018,6, 21933-21940
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    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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