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Energy Materials

Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage on energy materials. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.

The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the area of energy materials at Nature Communications. Each editor handles a different area of this research, as described below:

Jacilynn Brant handles manuscripts dealing with energy storage and conversion, including supercapacitors, triboelectric nanogenerators, and fuel cells.

Adam Weingarten handles chemistry-related manuscripts that involve electrocatalytic and photocatalytic applications.

Yaoqing Zhang handles electrochemical energy storage including batteries, solid state ionics, and some aspects of inorganic chemistry.

 

 

Jacilynn Brant

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The real-time quantitative detection of hot electrons provides critical clues to understand the origin of the enhanced catalytic performance of bimetallic nanoparticles (NPs). Here, the authors investigate hot electrons generated on bimetallic PtCo NPs during H2 oxidation by measuring the chemicurrent on a catalytic nanodiode.

    • Hyosun Lee
    • , Juhyung Lim
    • , Changhwan Lee
    • , Seoin Back
    • , Kwangjin An
    • , Jae Won Shin
    • , Ryong Ryoo
    • , Yousung Jung
    •  &  Jeong Young Park
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Rational design of a hydrodesulfurization catalyst relies on a fundamental understanding of its working principles. Here, the authors use scanning tunneling microscopy to directly visualize and quantify hydrogen-induced reshaping and edge activation in MoS2 and Co-promoted MoS2 catalyst clusters.

    • Signe S. Grønborg
    • , Norberto Salazar
    • , Albert Bruix
    • , Jonathan Rodríguez-Fernández
    • , Sean D. Thomsen
    • , Bjørk Hammer
    •  &  Jeppe V. Lauritsen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Dielectrics with high capacitive energy storage density are essential for modern electrical devices and pulsed power systems. Here, the authors realised superior energy storage performance in lead-free bismuth ferrite-based relaxor ferroelectric films through domain engineering.

    • Hao Pan
    • , Jing Ma
    • , Ji Ma
    • , Qinghua Zhang
    • , Xiaozhi Liu
    • , Bo Guan
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Xin Zhang
    • , Yu-Jun Zhang
    • , Liangliang Li
    • , Yang Shen
    • , Yuan-Hua Lin
    •  &  Ce-Wen Nan
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Flexible, transparent wearable electronics harvesting energy from human motion are nearing reality, but stable adhesion while staying clean remains a problem. Here the authors solve both issues with a functionalized organic polymer/hydrogel-based device capable of wireless communication via finger gestures.

    • Younghoon Lee
    • , Seung Hee Cha
    • , Yong-Woo Kim
    • , Dukhyun Choi
    •  &  Jeong-Yun Sun
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Pseudocapacitive materials could enable high-performance electrochemical supercapacitors, but their practical capacitance and power density remain low. Here the authors show that in situ phase transformation triggers extraordinary pseudocapacitive energy storage in metallic isomeric vanadium oxides.

    • Bo-Tian Liu
    • , Xiang-Mei Shi
    • , Xing-You Lang
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Zi Wen
    • , Ming Zhao
    •  &  Qing Jiang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The hydrogen evolution reaction is a promising route to produce clean hydrogen fuel; however, its efficient electrolytic generation relies on expensive platinum. Here, the authors show how modulating electron density in a metal sulfide, NiCo2S4, boosts hydrogen desorption to achieve high catalytic activity.

    • Yishang Wu
    • , Xiaojing Liu
    • , Dongdong Han
    • , Xianyin Song
    • , Lei Shi
    • , Yao Song
    • , Shuwen Niu
    • , Yufang Xie
    • , Jinyan Cai
    • , Shaoyang Wu
    • , Jian Kang
    • , Jianbin Zhou
    • , Zhiyan Chen
    • , Xusheng Zheng
    • , Xiangheng Xiao
    •  &  Gongming Wang

Adam Weingarten

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While renewable energy production is a terrestrial concern, far less attention is devoted to solar-to-fuel conversion for long-term space missions. Here, the authors explore photoelectrochemical hydrogen generation in microgravity and overcome microgravity’s limitations by electrode nanostructuring.

    • Katharina Brinkert
    • , Matthias H. Richter
    • , Ömer Akay
    • , Janine Liedtke
    • , Michael Giersig
    • , Katherine T. Fountaine
    •  &  Hans-Joachim Lewerenz
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Earth-abundant water splitting materials are highly desirable for renewable fuel production, but such catalysts are rarely tested for long-term use. Here, the authors prepare active water-splitting electrocatalysts via corrosion engineering that are stable for thousands of hours.

    • Yipu Liu
    • , Xiao Liang
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Yu Zhang
    • , Guo-Dong Li
    • , Xiaoxin Zou
    •  &  Jie-Sheng Chen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water electrolysis provides a carbon-neutral means to generate hydrogen fuel from water, but the process typically requires expensive, rare metal catalysts. Here, the authors prepare hydrogen- and oxygen-evolving electrocatalysts from earth-abundant elements that outperform noble-metal counterparts.

    • Fang Yu
    • , Haiqing Zhou
    • , Yufeng Huang
    • , Jingying Sun
    • , Fan Qin
    • , Jiming Bao
    • , William A. Goddard III
    • , Shuo Chen
    •  &  Zhifeng Ren
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water splitting by nanostructured, abundant catalysts provides a renewable means to make carbon neutral fuels, but the ideal material morphology and composition remain uncertain. Here, the authors prepare superaerophobic, multi-metallic sulfide nanotube arrays as bifunctional water splitting catalysts.

    • Haoyi Li
    • , Shuangming Chen
    • , Ying Zhang
    • , Qinghua Zhang
    • , Xiaofan Jia
    • , Qi Zhang
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Xiaoming Sun
    • , Li Song
    •  &  Xun Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Splitting water into its component elements, oxygen and hydrogen gas, provides a carbon-neutral fuel source, although the availability of cheap, earth-abundant catalysts is lacking. Here, the authors demonstrate antiperovskite-derived materials as high-performance water oxidation electrocatalysts.

    • Yanping Zhu
    • , Gao Chen
    • , Yijun Zhong
    • , Yubo Chen
    • , Nana Ma
    • , Wei Zhou
    •  &  Zongping Shao
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Electrodeposition provides a facile fabrication means for electrochemical devices but weak substrate-deposit interactions cause poor performance. Here, authors utilize anion insertion within graphitic layers to improve the material interfaces and construct highly active O2-evolving electrocatalysts.

    • Zhenhua Yan
    • , Hongming Sun
    • , Xiang Chen
    • , Huanhuan Liu
    • , Yaran Zhao
    • , Haixia Li
    • , Wei Xie
    • , Fangyi Cheng
    •  &  Jun Chen

Yaoqing Zhang

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Poor electrochemical reversibility of the conversion-type cathode materials remains an important challenge for their practical applications. Here, the authors report a highly reversible fluoride cathode material with low hysteresis through concerted doping of cobalt and oxygen into iron fluoride.

    • Xiulin Fan
    • , Enyuan Hu
    • , Xiao Ji
    • , Yizhou Zhu
    • , Fudong Han
    • , Sooyeon Hwang
    • , Jue Liu
    • , Seongmin Bak
    • , Zhaohui Ma
    • , Tao Gao
    • , Sz-Chian Liou
    • , Jianming Bai
    • , Xiao-Qing Yang
    • , Yifei Mo
    • , Kang Xu
    • , Dong Su
    •  &  Chunsheng Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Silicon is a promising electrode material for lithium-ion batteries; however, morphological changes shorten battery lifetimes. Here the authors use imaging techniques based on electrons and X-rays to quantify such processes at micro- and nanoscales and suggest routes to mitigate battery degradation.

    • Simon Müller
    • , Patrick Pietsch
    • , Ben-Elias Brandt
    • , Paul Baade
    • , Vincent De Andrade
    • , Francesco De Carlo
    •  &  Vanessa Wood
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Rechargeable lithium metal batteries could offer a major leap in energy capacity but suffer from the electrolyte reactivity and dendrite growth. Here the authors apply neutron depth profiling to provide quantitative insight into the evolution of the Li-metal morphology during plating and stripping.

    • Shasha Lv
    • , Tomas Verhallen
    • , Alexandros Vasileiadis
    • , Frans Ooms
    • , Yaolin Xu
    • , Zhaolong Li
    • , Zhengcao Li
    •  &  Marnix Wagemaker
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The development of noninvasive methodology plays an important role in advancing lithium ion battery technology. Here the authors utilize the measurement of tiny magnetic field changes within a cell to assess the lithiation state of the active material, and detect defects.

    • Andrew J. Ilott
    • , Mohaddese Mohammadi
    • , Christopher M. Schauerman
    • , Matthew J. Ganter
    •  &  Alexej Jerschow
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The development of potassium ion batteries calls for cheap, sustainable, and high-performance electrode materials. Here, the authors report a highly nitrogen-doped soft carbon anode that exhibits superior rate capability and cyclability based on a surface dominated charge storage mechanism.

    • Yang Xu
    • , Chenglin Zhang
    • , Min Zhou
    • , Qun Fu
    • , Chengxi Zhao
    • , Minghong Wu
    •  &  Yong Lei
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The dendrite growth of alkali metal anodes leads to charge/discharge cycling instability. Here, the authors show that electrochemical polishing can yield near-perfect anodes of three alkali metals by constructing smooth and thin solid-electrolyte interphase layers.

    • Yu Gu
    • , Wei-Wei Wang
    • , Yi-Juan Li
    • , Qi-Hui Wu
    • , Shuai Tang
    • , Jia-Wei Yan
    • , Ming-Sen Zheng
    • , De-Yin Wu
    • , Chun-Hai Fan
    • , Wei-Qiang Hu
    • , Zhao-Bin Chen
    • , Yuan Fang
    • , Qing-Hong Zhang
    • , Quan-Feng Dong
    •  &  Bing-Wei Mao