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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

    Multi-shelled nanomaterials offer interesting electrochemical properties, but have been limited in composition. Here the authors use dual templating to integrate electroactive metal chalcogenide layers with hydrogen-substituted graphdiyne, achieving electrocatalytic activity for hydrogen evolution.

    • Sifei Zhuo
    • , Yusuf Shi
    • , Lingmei Liu
    • , Renyuan Li
    • , Le Shi
    • , Dalaver H. Anjum
    • , Yu Han
    •  &  Peng Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water electrolysis provides a potential means to large-scale renewable fuel generation, although sluggish oxygen evolution kinetics challenges progress. Here, authors report on Ruddlesden–Popper oxides as active oxygen evolution electrocatalysts that provide impetus for overcoming kinetic barriers.

    • Robin P. Forslund
    • , William G. Hardin
    • , Xi Rong
    • , Artem M. Abakumov
    • , Dmitry Filimonov
    • , Caleb T. Alexander
    • , J. Tyler Mefford
    • , Hrishikesh Iyer
    • , Alexie M. Kolpak
    • , Keith P. Johnston
    •  &  Keith J. Stevenson
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Maintaining the structural stability during electrochemical cycling remains a big challenge facing the silicon anode material. Here, the authors have developed 2D silicon nanosheets coated with carbon layers, which show a unique mechanism in releasing internal stress by forming ripple structures.

    • Jaegeon Ryu
    • , Tianwu Chen
    • , Taesoo Bok
    • , Gyujin Song
    • , Jiyoung Ma
    • , Chihyun Hwang
    • , Langli Luo
    • , Hyun-Kon Song
    • , Jaephil Cho
    • , Chongmin Wang
    • , Sulin Zhang
    •  &  Soojin Park
  • 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

Adam Weingarten

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While many heterogeneous chemical transformations require high temperatures, such conditions are costly and corrosive to the catalysts. Here, authors enhance CO2 hydrogenation over metal nanoparticles by light irradiation via an unusual mechanism and reduce the reaction’s energetic demands.

    • Chanyeon Kim
    • , Seokwon Hyeon
    • , Jonghyeok Lee
    • , Whi Dong Kim
    • , Doh C. Lee
    • , Jihan Kim
    •  &  Hyunjoo Lee
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While the degradation of materials during usage is crucial in understanding their performance, it is challenging to understand the corrosion processes. Here, authors find copper nanoparticles to undergo an unusual potential-driven nanoclustering degradation pathway during carbon dioxide reduction.

    • Jianfeng Huang
    • , Nicolas Hörmann
    • , Emad Oveisi
    • , Anna Loiudice
    • , Gian Luca De Gregorio
    • , Oliviero Andreussi
    • , Nicola Marzari
    •  &  Raffaella Buonsanti
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While splitting water could provide a renewable way to produce fuel, highly active catalysts are needed to overcome water oxidation’s sluggish kinetics. Here, authors gain atomic-level insight on metal ion synergetic interactions that boost water oxidation performances in co-doped nickel hydroxide.

    • Jian Jiang
    • , Fanfei Sun
    • , Si Zhou
    • , Wei Hu
    • , Hao Zhang
    • , Jinchao Dong
    • , Zheng Jiang
    • , Jijun Zhao
    • , Jianfeng Li
    • , Wensheng Yan
    •  &  Mei Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    2D elemental materials, with their atomic-scale dimensions, present exciting opportunities for energy conversion applications. Here, the authors use few-layer black phosphorene to perform pyro-catalysis, in which thermal cycling the material induces hydrogen gas production and dye degradation.

    • Huilin You
    • , Yanmin Jia
    • , Zheng Wu
    • , Feifei Wang
    • , Haitao Huang
    •  &  Yu Wang
  • 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

Yaoqing Zhang

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The relationship between Li-ion concentration and Li deposition remains an issue to be addressed. Here the authors show that stimulated Raman scattering microscopy offers insight into the concentration evolution and its impact on the dendrite growth, which is not possible by existing techniques.

    • Qian Cheng
    • , Lu Wei
    • , Zhe Liu
    • , Nan Ni
    • , Zhe Sang
    • , Bin Zhu
    • , Weiheng Xu
    • , Meijie Chen
    • , Yupeng Miao
    • , Long-Qing Chen
    • , Wei Min
    •  &  Yuan Yang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Here the authors demonstrate a spectroscopic and imaging approach to study redox solid-state phase transformation in lithium ion cathode materials under thermal abuse conditions. The valence curvature of the propagation front alternates as a result of local chemical and structural heterogeneities.

    • Linqin Mu
    • , Qingxi Yuan
    • , Chixia Tian
    • , Chenxi Wei
    • , Kai Zhang
    • , Jin Liu
    • , Piero Pianetta
    • , Marca M. Doeff
    • , Yijin Liu
    •  &  Feng Lin
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Zn-MnO2 batteries offer high energy density, but phase changes that lead to poor cathode stability hinder development of rechargeable versions. Here the authors report structurally reinforced polyaniline-intercalated MnO2 nanolayers that boost performance by eliminating phase transformation.

    • Jianhang Huang
    • , Zhuo Wang
    • , Mengyan Hou
    • , Xiaoli Dong
    • , Yao Liu
    • , Yonggang Wang
    •  &  Yongyao Xia
  • 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