Letter | Published:

Three-dimensional bicontinuous ultrafast-charge and -discharge bulk battery electrodes

Nature Nanotechnology volume 6, pages 277281 (2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

Rapid charge and discharge rates have become an important feature of electrical energy storage devices, but cause dramatic reductions in the energy that can be stored or delivered by most rechargeable batteries (their energy capacity)1,2,3,4,5,6,7. Supercapacitors do not suffer from this problem, but are restricted to much lower stored energy per mass (energy density) than batteries8. A storage technology that combines the rate performance of supercapacitors with the energy density of batteries would significantly advance portable and distributed power technology2. Here, we demonstrate very large battery charge and discharge rates with minimal capacity loss by using cathodes made from a self-assembled three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoarchitecture consisting of an electrolytically active material sandwiched between rapid ion and electron transport pathways. Rates of up to 400C and 1,000C for lithium-ion and nickel-metal hydride chemistries, respectively, are achieved (where a 1C rate represents a one-hour complete charge or discharge), enabling fabrication of a lithium-ion battery that can be 90% charged in 2 minutes.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the US Department of Energy, Division of Materials Sciences (DE-FG02-07ER46471) through the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (energy storage studies), and the US Army Research Laboratory and US Army Research Office (DAAD19-03-1-0227) (three-dimensional electrode fabrication).

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Materials Research Laboratory, and Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA

    • Huigang Zhang
    • , Xindi Yu
    •  & Paul V. Braun

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Contributions

H.Z., X.Y. and P.V.B. designed the experiments. H.Z and X.Y. performed and analysed the experiments. H.Z., X.Y. and P.V.B. wrote the manuscript. P.V.B. supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul V. Braun.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2011.38

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