All Publications

  • Atomic-level insights into strain effect on p-nitrophenol reduction via Au@Pd core-shell nanocubes as an ideal platform JOURNAL OF CATALYSIS Cui, Y., Ma, K., Chen, Z., Yang, J., Geng, Z., Zeng, J. 2020; 381: 427–33
  • Design Principles of Artificial Solid Electrolyte Interphases for Lithium-Metal Anodes Cell Reports Physical Science Yu, Z., Cui, Y., Bao, Z. 2020; 1 (7): 100119
  • Transient Voltammetry with Ultramicroelectrodes Reveals the Electron Transfer Kinetics of Lithium Metal Anodes Adv. Energy Lett. Boyle, D., Kong, X., Pei, A., Rudnicki, P., Shi, F., Huang, W., Bao, Z., Qin, J., Cui, Y. 2020; 5: 701-709
  • Electrochemical generation of liquid and solid sulfur on two-dimensional layered materials with distinct areal capacities Nature Nanotechnology Yang, A., Zhou, G., et al 2020
  • Dynamic Structure and Chemistry of the Silicon Solid-Electrolyte Interphase Visualized by Cryogenic Electron Microscopy Matter Huang, W., Wang, J., Braun, M. R., Zhang, Z., Li, Y., Boyle, D. T., McIntyre, P. C., Cui, Y. 2019; 1 (5)
  • Sulfur-Modulated Tin Sites Enable Highly Selective Electrochemical Reduction of CO2 to Formate Joule Zheng, X., De luna, P., de Arquer, F., Zhang, B., Becknell, N., Cui, Y., Du, X., Yang, P., Sargent, E. 2017
  • A reaction-controlled diffusion model for the lithiation of silicon in lithium-ion batteries Extreme Mechanics Letters Zhang, X., Lee, S., Lee, H., Cui, Y., Linder, C. 2015; 4: 61–75
  • Stable Li-ion Battery Anodes by In-situ Polymerization of Conducting Hydrogel to Conformally Coat Silicon Nanoparticles Nature Comm. Wu, H., Yu, G., Pan, L., Liu, N., McDowell, M., T., Bao, Z. 2013; 4: 1943


    Silicon has a high-specific capacity as an anode material for Li-ion batteries, and much research has been focused on overcoming the poor cycling stability issue associated with its large volume changes during charging and discharging processes, mostly through nanostructured material design. Here we report incorporation of a conducting polymer hydrogel into Si-based anodes: the hydrogel is polymerized in-situ, resulting in a well-connected three-dimensional network structure consisting of Si nanoparticles conformally coated by the conducting polymer. Such a hierarchical hydrogel framework combines multiple advantageous features, including a continuous electrically conductive polyaniline network, binding with the Si surface through either the crosslinker hydrogen bonding with phytic acid or electrostatic interaction with the positively charged polymer, and porous space for volume expansion of Si particles. With this anode, we demonstrate a cycle life of 5,000 cycles with over 90% capacity retention at current density of 6.0 A g(-1).

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms2941

  • A transparent electrode based on a metal nanotrough network Nature Nanotechnology Fan, S., H., Wu, H., Kong, S., D., Ruan et al., C., Z. 2013; 8 (6): 421-425


    Transparent conducting electrodes are essential components for numerous flexible optoelectronic devices, including touch screens and interactive electronics. Thin films of indium tin oxide-the prototypical transparent electrode material-demonstrate excellent electronic performances, but film brittleness, low infrared transmittance and low abundance limit suitability for certain industrial applications. Alternatives to indium tin oxide have recently been reported and include conducting polymers, carbon nanotubes and graphene. However, although flexibility is greatly improved, the optoelectronic performance of these carbon-based materials is limited by low conductivity. Other examples include metal nanowire-based electrodes, which can achieve sheet resistances of less than 10Ω □(-1) at 90% transmission because of the high conductivity of the metals. To achieve these performances, however, metal nanowires must be defect-free, have conductivities close to their values in bulk, be as long as possible to minimize the number of wire-to-wire junctions, and exhibit small junction resistance. Here, we present a facile fabrication process that allows us to satisfy all these requirements and fabricate a new kind of transparent conducting electrode that exhibits both superior optoelectronic performances (sheet resistance of ∼2Ω □(-1) at 90% transmission) and remarkable mechanical flexibility under both stretching and bending stresses. The electrode is composed of a free-standing metallic nanotrough network and is produced with a process involving electrospinning and metal deposition. We demonstrate the practical suitability of our transparent conducting electrode by fabricating a flexible touch-screen device and a transparent conducting tape.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nnano.2013.84

  • High-performance hollow sulfur nanostructured battery cathode through a scalable, room temperature, one-step, bottom-up approach PNAS Li, W., Zheng, G., Yang, Y., Seh, Z., W., Liu, N., Cui, Y. 2013: 7148–53


    Sulfur is an exciting cathode material with high specific capacity of 1,673 mAh/g, more than five times the theoretical limits of its transition metal oxides counterpart. However, successful applications of sulfur cathode have been impeded by rapid capacity fading caused by multiple mechanisms, including large volume expansion during lithiation, dissolution of intermediate polysulfides, and low ionic/electronic conductivity. Tackling the sulfur cathode problems requires a multifaceted approach, which can simultaneously address the challenges mentioned above. Herein, we present a scalable, room temperature, one-step, bottom-up approach to fabricate monodisperse polymer (polyvinylpyrrolidone)-encapsulated hollow sulfur nanospheres for sulfur cathode, allowing unprecedented control over electrode design from nanoscale to macroscale. We demonstrate high specific discharge capacities at different current rates (1,179, 1,018, and 990 mAh/g at C/10, C/5, and C/2, respectively) and excellent capacity retention of 77.6% (at C/5) and 73.4% (at C/2) after 300 and 500 cycles, respectively. Over a long-term cycling of 1,000 cycles at C/2, a capacity decay as low as 0.046% per cycle and an average coulombic efficiency of 98.5% was achieved. In addition, a simple modification on the sulfur nanosphere surface with a layer of conducting polymer, poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), allows the sulfur cathode to achieve excellent high-rate capability, showing a high reversible capacity of 849 and 610 mAh/g at 2C and 4C, respectively.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1220992110

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3645569

  • Large-Area Free-Standing Ultrathin Single-Crystal Silicon as Processable Materials Nano Letters Wang, S., Weil, B., Li, Y., Wang, K., X., Garnett, E., Fan, S., Cui, Y. 2013: 4393–98


    Silicon has been driving the great success of semiconductor industry, and emerging forms of silicon have generated new opportunities in electronics, biotechnology, and energy applications. Here we demonstrate large-area free-standing ultrathin single-crystalline Si at the wafer scale as new Si materials with processability. We fabricated them by KOH etching of the Si wafer and show their uniform thickness from 10 to sub-2 μm. These ultrathin Si exhibits excellent mechanical flexibility and bendability more than those with 20-30 μm thickness in previous study. Unexpectedly, these ultrathin Si materials can be cut with scissors like a piece of paper, and they are robust during various regular fabrication processings including tweezer handling, spin coating, patterning, doping, wet and dry etching, annealing, and metal deposition. We demonstrate the fabrication of planar and double-sided nanocone solar cells and highlight that the processability on both sides of surface together with the interesting property of these free-standing ultrathin Si materials opens up exciting opportunities to generate novel functional devices different from the existing approaches.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/nl402230v

  • Microbial battery for efficient energy recovery. PNAS Xie, X., Ye, M., Hsu, P., C., Liu, N., Criddle, C., S., Cui, Y. 2013: 15925–30


    By harnessing the oxidative power of microorganisms, energy can be recovered from reservoirs of less-concentrated organic matter, such as marine sediment, wastewater, and waste biomass. Left unmanaged, these reservoirs can become eutrophic dead zones and sites of greenhouse gas generation. Here, we introduce a unique means of energy recovery from these reservoirs-a microbial battery (MB) consisting of an anode colonized by microorganisms and a reoxidizable solid-state cathode. The MB has a single-chamber configuration and does not contain ion-exchange membranes. Bench-scale MB prototypes were constructed from commercially available materials using glucose or domestic wastewater as electron donor and silver oxide as a coupled solid-state oxidant electrode. The MB achieved an efficiency of electrical energy conversion of 49% based on the combustion enthalpy of the organic matter consumed or 44% based on the organic matter added. Electrochemical reoxidation of the solid-state electrode decreased net efficiency to about 30%. This net efficiency of energy recovery (unoptimized) is comparable to methane fermentation with combined heat and power.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1307327110

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3791761