Decoupling electron and ion storage and the path from interfacial storage to artificial electrodes

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The requirements for rechargeable batteries place high demands on the electrodes. Efficient storage means accommodating both ions and electrons, not only in substantial amounts, but also with substantial velocities. The materials’ space could be largely extended by decoupling the roles of ions and electrons such that transport and accommodation of ions take place in one phase of a composite, and transport and accommodation of electrons in the other phase. Here we discuss this synergistic concept being equally applicable for positive and negative electrodes along with examples from the literature for Li-based and Ag-based cells. Not only does the concept have the potential to mitigate the trade-off between power density and energy density, it also enables a generalized view of bulk and interfacial storage as necessary for nanocrystals. It furthermore allows for testable predictions of heterogeneous storage in passivation layers, dependence of transfer resistance on the state of charge, or heterogeneous storage of hydrogen at appropriate contacts. We also present an outlook on constructing artificial mixed-conductor electrodes that have the potential to achieve both high energy density and high power density.

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Fig. 1: General concept of job-sharing mechanism.
Fig. 2: Ultrafast incorporation and ex-corporation of Ag in RbAg4I5:C composites.
Fig. 3: Literature examples of job-sharing storage.
Fig. 4: Charge carrier profiles for various relevant contact problems.

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  • 28 March 2018

    In the version of this Perspective originally published, the sentence ‘Supplementary information is available for this paper at’ was incorrectly included; there is no Supplementary Information for this content. The sentence has now been removed.


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The authors thank L. Fu and E. Kotomin for useful discussions and C. Wu for reading the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Joachim Maier.

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