Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Huazhong University Of Science & Technology (2011)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Maryland College Park (2016)

Stanford Advisors

  • Yi Cui, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor

All Publications

  • Ultralight and fire-extinguishing current collectors for high-energy and high-safety lithium-ion batteries NATURE ENERGY Ye, Y., Chou, L., Liu, Y., Wang, H., Lee, H., Huang, W., Wan, J., Liu, K., Zhou, G., Yang, Y., Yang, A., Xiao, X., Gao, X., Boyle, D., Chen, H., Zhang, W., Kim, S., Cui, Y. 2020; 5 (10): 786–93
  • Incorporating the nanoscale encapsulation concept from liquid electrolytes into solid-state lithium-sulfur batteries. Nano letters Gao, X., Zheng, X., Wang, J., Zhang, Z., Xiao, X., Wan, J., Ye, Y., Chou, L., Lee, H. K., Wang, J., Vila, R. A., Yang, Y., Zhang, P., Wang, L., Cui, Y. 2020


    Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are attractive due to their high specific energy and low-cost prospect. Most studies in the past decade are based on these batteries with liquid electrolytes, where many exciting material/structural designs are realized at the nanoscale to address problems of Li-S chemistry. Recently, there is a new promising direction to develop Li-S batteries with solid polymer electrolytes, although it is unclear whether the concepts from liquid electrolytes are applicable in the solid state to improve battery performance. Here we demonstrate that the nanoscale encapsulation concept based on Li2S-TiS2 core-shell particles, originally developed in liquid electrolytes, is very effective in solid polymer electrolytes. Using in situ optical cell measurement and sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy, we find that polysulfides form and are well trapped inside individual particles by the nanoscale TiS2 encapsulation. This TiS2 encapsulation layer also functions to catalyze the oxidation reaction of Li2S to sulfur, even in solid-state electrolytes, proved by both experiments and density functional theory calculations. A high cell-level specific energy of 427 W∙h∙kg-1 at 60 °C (including the mass of the anode, cathode, and solid-state electrolyte, but excluding the current collector and packaging) is achieved by integrating TiS2 encapsulated Li2S cathode with ultrathin polyethylene oxide-based solid polymer electrolyte (10~20 m) and lithium metal anode. The solid-state cells show excellent stability over 150 charge/discharge cycles at 0.8 C at 80 °C. This study points to the fruitful direction of borrowing concepts from liquid electrolytes into solid-state Li-S batteries.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c02033

    View details for PubMedID 32515973

  • Electrode Design with Integration of High Tortuosity and Sulfur-Philicity for High-Performance Lithium-Sulfur Battery MATTER Chen, H., Zhou, G., Boyle, D., Wan, J., Wang, H., Lin, D., Mackanic, D., Zhang, Z., Kim, S., Lee, H., Wang, H., Huang, W., Ye, Y., Cui, Y. 2020; 2 (6): 1605–20
  • Tortuosity Effects in Lithium-Metal Host Anodes JOULE Chen, H., Pei, A., Wan, J., Lin, D., Vila, R., Wang, H., Mackanic, D., Steinruck, H., Huang, W., Li, Y., Yang, A., Xie, J., Wu, Y., Wang, H., Cui, Y. 2020; 4 (4): 938–52
  • A Fireproof, Lightweight, Polymer-Polymer Solid-State Electrolyte for Safe Lithium Batteries. Nano letters Cui, Y., Wan, J., Ye, Y., Liu, K., Chou, L., Cui, Y. 2020


    Safety issues in lithium-ion batteries have raised serious concerns due to their ubiquitous utilization and close contact with the human body. Replacing flammable liquid electrolytes, solid-state electrolytes (SSEs) is thought to address this issue as well as provide unmatched energy densities in Li-based batteries. However, among the most intensively studied SSEs, polymeric solid electrolyte and polymer/ceramic composites are usually flammable, leaving the safety issue unattended. Here, we report the first design of a fireproof, ultralightweight polymer-polymer SSE. The SSE is composed of a porous mechanic enforcer (polyimide, PI), a fire-retardant additive (decabromodiphenyl ethane, DBDPE), and a ionic conductivepolymer electrolyte (poly(ethylene oxide)/lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide). The whole SSE is made from organic materials, with a thin, tunable thickness (10-25 mum), which endorse the energy density comparable to conventional separator/liquid electrolytes. The PI/DBDPE film is thermally stable, nonflammable, and mechanically strong, preventing Li-Li symmetrical cells from short-circuiting after more than 300 h of cycling. LiFePO4/Li half cells with our SSE show a high rate performance (131 mAh g-1 at 1 C) as well as cycling performance (300 cycles at C/2 rate) at 60 °C. Most intriguingly, pouch cells made with our polymer-polymer SSE still functioned well even under flame abuse tests.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.nanolett.9b04815

    View details for PubMedID 32020809

  • Designing hierarchical nanoporous membranes for highly efficient gas adsorption and storage. Science advances Mao, H., Tang, J., Chen, J., Wan, J., Hou, K., Peng, Y., Halat, D. M., Xiao, L., Zhang, R., Lv, X., Yang, A., Cui, Y., Reimer, J. A. 2020; 6 (41)


    Nanoporous membranes with two-dimensional materials such as graphene oxide have attracted attention in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and H2 adsorption because of their unique molecular sieving properties and operational simplicity. However, agglomeration of graphene sheets and low efficiency remain challenging. Therefore, we designed hierarchical nanoporous membranes (HNMs), a class of nanocomposites combined with a carbon sphere and graphene oxide. Hierarchical carbon spheres, prepared following Murray's law using chemical activation incorporating microwave heating, act as spacers and adsorbents. Hierarchical carbon spheres preclude the agglomeration of graphene oxide, while graphene oxide sheets physically disperse, ensuring structural stability. The obtained HNMs contain micropores that are dominated by a combination of ultramicropores and mesopores, resulting in high VOCs/H2 adsorption capacity, up to 235 and 352 mg/g at 200 ppmv and 3.3 weight % (77 K and 1.2 bar), respectively. Our work substantially expands the potential for HNMs applications in the environmental and energy fields.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abb0694

    View details for PubMedID 33028517

  • Ultrathin, flexible, solid polymer composite electrolyte enabled with aligned nanoporous host for lithium batteries. Nature nanotechnology Wan, J., Xie, J., Kong, X., Liu, Z., Liu, K., Shi, F., Pei, A., Chen, H., Chen, W., Chen, J., Zhang, X., Zong, L., Wang, J., Chen, L., Qin, J., Cui, Y. 2019


    The urgent need for safer batteries is leading research to all-solid-state lithium-based cells. To achieve energy density comparable to liquid electrolyte-based cells, ultrathin and lightweight solid electrolytes with high ionic conductivity are desired. However, solid electrolytes with comparable thicknesses to commercial polymer electrolyte separators (~10mum) used in liquid electrolytes remain challenging to make because of the increased risk of short-circuiting the battery. Here, we report on a polymer-polymer solid-state electrolyte design, demonstrated with an 8.6-mum-thick nanoporous polyimide (PI) film filled with polyethylene oxide/lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide (PEO/LiTFSI) that can be used as a safe solid polymer electrolyte. The PI film is nonflammable and mechanically strong, preventing batteries from short-circuiting even after more than 1,000h of cycling, and the vertical channels enhance the ionic conductivity (2.3*10-4Scm-1 at 30°C) of the infused polymer electrolyte. All-solid-state lithium-ion batteries fabricated with PI/PEO/LiTFSI solid electrolyte show good cycling performance (200 cycles at C/2 rate) at 60°C and withstand abuse tests such as bending, cutting and nail penetration.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41565-019-0465-3

    View details for PubMedID 31133663

  • Reversible and selective ion intercalation through the top surface of few-layer MoS2. Nature communications Zhang, J., Yang, A., Wu, X., van de Groep, J., Tang, P., Li, S., Liu, B., Shi, F., Wan, J., Li, Q., Sun, Y., Lu, Z., Zheng, X., Zhou, G., Wu, C., Zhang, S., Brongersma, M. L., Li, J., Cui, Y. 2018; 9 (1): 5289


    Electrochemical intercalation of ions into the van der Waals gap of two-dimensional (2D) layered materials is a promising low-temperature synthesis strategy to tune their physical and chemical properties. It is widely believed that ions prefer intercalation into the van der Waals gap through the edges of the 2D flake, which generally causes wrinkling and distortion. Here we demonstrate that the ions can also intercalate through the top surface of few-layer MoS2 and this type of intercalation is more reversible and stable compared to the intercalation through the edges. Density functional theory calculations show that this intercalation is enabled by the existence of natural defects in exfoliated MoS2 flakes. Furthermore, we reveal that sealed-edge MoS2 allows intercalation of small alkali metal ions (e.g., Li+ and Na+) and rejects large ions (e.g., K+). These findings imply potential applications in developing functional 2D-material-based devices with high tunability and ion selectivity.

    View details for PubMedID 30538249

  • Reversible and selective ion intercalation through the top surface of few-layer MoS2 NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Zhang, J., Yang, A., Wu, X., van de Groep, J., Tang, P., Li, S., Liu, B., Shi, F., Wan, J., Li, Q., Sun, Y., Lu, Z., Zheng, X., Zhou, G., Wu, C., Zhang, S., Brongersma, M. L., Li, J., Cui, Y. 2018; 9
  • A manganese-hydrogen battery with potential for grid-scale energy storage NATURE ENERGY Chen, W., Li, G., Pei, A., Li, Y., Liao, L., Wang, H., Wan, J., Liang, Z., Chen, G., Zhang, H., Wang, J., Cui, Y. 2018; 3 (5): 428–35