Volume 2 Issue 7 July 2017

Volume 2 Issue 7

Burning to compress

High loading of active materials at the cathode is essential to realise the high energy density potential of Li-S batteries, but conventional cathodes have a non-compact structure that severely limits the active material loading. Tan et al. report that by burning Li foils in a CS2 vapour, highly compact Li2S–graphene nanocapsules are obtained (represented here) that can be used in high-performing Li-S batteries.

See Tan et al. 2, 17090 (2017) and News and Views by Li & Chen, article 17096.

Image: Guoqiang Tan and Jun Lu. Cover design: Alex Wing.

Editorial

  • Editorial |

    The development of rechargeable batteries looks hugely successful on paper, but moving in leaps takes fundamental breakthroughs, truly meaningful performance advances, and technological integration.

Comment

  • Comment |

    Beyond-intercalation batteries promise a step-change in energy storage compared to intercalation-based lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries. However, only performance metrics that include all cell components and operation parameters can tell whether a true advance over intercalation batteries has been achieved.

    • Stefan A. Freunberger

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    Concentrating solar power had a difficult market start compared to other renewable technologies, leading to a total global capacity of only 5 GW today after more than a decade of deployment. A comprehensive global empirical study identifies distinct deployment phases, with high learning rates exceeding 25% over the past 5 years.

    • Robert Pitz-Paal
  • News and Views |

    Conventional Li–S batteries have a non-compact cathode structure containing low areal loading of active materials. Now, a strategy of burning Li foils in a CS2 vapour is presented, which leads to the formation of highly compact Li2S nanoparticles as a lithiated sulfur cathode, offering promising battery performance.

    • Yanguang Li
    •  & Fengjiao Chen

Perspective

  • Perspective |

    Heterostructures with alternating layers of different 2D materials are finding increasing attention in energy applications. Pomerantseva and Gogotsi survey the opportunities and challenges of both developing the heterostructures and their implementation in energy storage devices.

    • Ekaterina Pomerantseva
    •  & Yury Gogotsi

Research

  • Article |

    Organic compounds can be used as electrode materials for Li-ion batteries, but problems such as facile dissolution and low electrical conductivity hinder their application. Here the authors report π-conjugated quinoxaline-based heteroaromatic molecules with multiple redox sites to tackle the problems.

    • Chengxin Peng
    • , Guo-Hong Ning
    • , Jie Su
    • , Guiming Zhong
    • , Wei Tang
    • , Bingbing Tian
    • , Chenliang Su
    • , Dingyi Yu
    • , Lianhai Zu
    • , Jinhu Yang
    • , Man-Fai Ng
    • , Yong-Sheng Hu
    • , Yong Yang
    • , Michel Armand
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  • Article |

    Li-dendrite growth is an inherent problem for the application of Li-metal anodes in batteries. Here the authors coat the separator with functionalized nanocarbon with immobilized Li ions, regulating the dendrite growth direction and thereby improving the battery performance.

    • Yadong Liu
    • , Qi Liu
    • , Le Xin
    • , Yuzi Liu
    • , Fan Yang
    • , Eric A. Stach
    •  & Jian Xie
  • Article |

    Mixed matrix membranes can separate CO2 from flue gas mixtures but increasing selectivity without sacrificing permeability remains challenging. Selectivity can be increased with little loss in permeability by using nanoparticulate, amine-functionalized metal–organic framework fillers.

    • Behnam Ghalei
    • , Kento Sakurai
    • , Yosuke Kinoshita
    • , Kazuki Wakimoto
    • , Ali Pournaghshband Isfahani
    • , Qilei Song
    • , Kazuki Doitomi
    • , Shuhei Furukawa
    • , Hajime Hirao
    • , Hiromu Kusuda
    • , Susumu Kitagawa
    •  & Easan Sivaniah
  • Article |

    Electrochemical reduction of CO2 to CO is a route to synthesize fuels, but cheaper and more selective catalysts are required. Using a cell equipped with a bipolar membrane and the same Earth-abundant electrocatalyst at each electrode, Schreier et al. selectively produce CO, powered by a triple-junction photovoltaic.

    • Marcel Schreier
    • , Florent Héroguel
    • , Ludmilla Steier
    • , Shahzada Ahmad
    • , Jeremy S. Luterbacher
    • , Matthew T. Mayer
    • , Jingshan Luo
    •  & Michael Grätzel
  • Article |

    Facile and scalable fabrication of high-performing sulfur cathodes is challenging in the commercialization of Li–S batteries. The authors report a strategy of simply burning Li foils in a CS2 vapour for the cathode design, which shows promising battery performance.

    • Guoqiang Tan
    • , Rui Xu
    • , Zhenyu Xing
    • , Yifei Yuan
    • , Jun Lu
    • , Jianguo Wen
    • , Cong Liu
    • , Lu Ma
    • , Chun Zhan
    • , Qi Liu
    • , Tianpin Wu
    • , Zelang Jian
    • , Reza Shahbazian-Yassar
    • , Yang Ren
    • , Dean J. Miller
    • , Larry A. Curtiss
    • , Xiulei Ji
    •  & Khalil Amine
  • Article |

    Losses in solar cells can be caused by material defects in the bulk or at interfaces. Here, Zheng et al. use quaternary ammonium halides to passivate various perovskite absorbers and prepare solar cells with certified efficiency above 20%, suggesting that both anionic and cation defects are affected.

    • Xiaopeng Zheng
    • , Bo Chen
    • , Jun Dai
    • , Yanjun Fang
    • , Yang Bai
    • , Yuze Lin
    • , Haotong Wei
    • , Xiao Cheng Zeng
    •  & Jinsong Huang