Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, CHEM-PHD (2014)
Bachelor of Science, Fudan University, Chemistry (2009)
Steve Chu, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Ionic conductivity enhancement of polymer electrolytes with ceramic nanowire fillers.
2015; 15 (4): 2740-2745
Solid-state electrolytes provide substantial improvements to safety and electrochemical stability in lithium-ion batteries when compared with conventional liquid electrolytes, which makes them a promising alternative technology for next-generation high-energy batteries. Currently, the low mobility of lithium ions in solid electrolytes limits their practical application. The ongoing research over the past few decades on dispersing of ceramic nanoparticles into polymer matrix has been proved effective to enhance ionic conductivity although it is challenging to form the efficiency networks of ionic conduction with nanoparticles. In this work, we first report that ceramic nanowire fillers can facilitate formation of such ionic conduction networks in polymer-based solid electrolyte to enhance its ionic conductivity by three orders of magnitude. Polyacrylonitrile-LiClO4 incorporated with 15 wt % Li0.33La0.557TiO3 nanowire composite electrolyte exhibits an unprecedented ionic conductivity of 2.4 × 10(-4) S cm(-1) at room temperature, which is attributed to the fast ion transport on the surfaces of ceramic nanowires acting as conductive network in the polymer matrix. In addition, the ceramic-nanowire filled composite polymer electrolyte shows an enlarged electrochemical stability window in comparison to the one without fillers. The discovery in the present work paves the way for the design of solid ion electrolytes with superior performance.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00600
View details for PubMedID 25782069
Transparent air filter for high-efficiency PM2.5 capture.
2015; 6: 6205-?
Particulate matter (PM) pollution has raised serious concerns for public health. Although outdoor individual protection could be achieved by facial masks, indoor air usually relies on expensive and energy-intensive air-filtering devices. Here, we introduce a transparent air filter for indoor air protection through windows that uses natural passive ventilation to effectively protect the indoor air quality. By controlling the surface chemistry to enable strong PM adhesion and also the microstructure of the air filters to increase the capture possibilities, we achieve transparent, high air flow and highly effective air filters of ~90% transparency with >95.00% removal of PM2.5 under extreme hazardous air-quality conditions (PM2.5 mass concentration >250 μg m(-3)). A field test in Beijing shows that the polyacrylonitrile transparent air filter has the best PM2.5 removal efficiency of 98.69% at high transmittance of ~77% during haze occurrence.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms7205
View details for PubMedID 25683688
- Manganese hexacyanomanganate open framework as a high-capacity positive electrode material for sodium-ion batteries NATURE COMMUNICATIONS 2014; 5
- Dry-air-stable lithium silicide-lithium oxide core-shell nanoparticles as high-capacity prelithiation reagents NATURE COMMUNICATIONS 2014; 5
Formation of stable phosphorus-carbon bond for enhanced performance in black phosphorus nanoparticle-graphite composite battery anodes.
2014; 14 (8): 4573-4580
High specific capacity battery electrode materials have attracted great research attention. Phosphorus as a low-cost abundant material has a high theoretical specific capacity of 2596 mAh/g with most of its capacity at the discharge potential range of 0.4-1.2 V, suitable as anodes. Although numerous research progress have shown other high capacity anodes such as Si, Ge, Sn, and SnO2, there are only a few studies on phosphorus anodes despite its high theoretical capacity. Successful applications of phosphorus anodes have been impeded by rapid capacity fading, mainly caused by large volume change (around 300%) upon lithiation and thus loss of electrical contact. Using the conducting allotrope of phosphorus, "black phosphorus" as starting materials, here we fabricated composites of black phosphorus nanoparticle-graphite by mechanochemical reaction in a high energy mechanical milling process. This process produces phosphorus-carbon bonds, which are stable during lithium insertion/extraction, maintaining excellent electrical connection between phosphorus and carbon. We demonstrated high initial discharge capacity of 2786 mAh·g(-1) at 0.2 C and an excellent cycle life of 100 cycles with 80% capacity retention. High specific discharge capacities are maintained at fast C rates (2270, 1750, 1500, and 1240 mAh·g(-1) at C/5, 1, 2, and 4.5 C, respectively).
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl501617j
View details for PubMedID 25019417
- Understanding Phase Transformation in Crystalline Ge Anodes for Li-Ion Batteries CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS 2014; 26 (12): 3739-3746
- Nanomaterials for electrochemical energy storage FRONTIERS OF PHYSICS 2014; 9 (3): 323-350
A pomegranate-inspired nanoscale design for large-volume-change lithium battery anodes
2014; 9 (3): 187-192
Silicon is an attractive material for anodes in energy storage devices, because it has ten times the theoretical capacity of its state-of-the-art carbonaceous counterpart. Silicon anodes can be used both in traditional lithium-ion batteries and in more recent Li-O2 and Li-S batteries as a replacement for the dendrite-forming lithium metal anodes. The main challenges associated with silicon anodes are structural degradation and instability of the solid-electrolyte interphase caused by the large volume change (∼300%) during cycling, the occurrence of side reactions with the electrolyte, and the low volumetric capacity when the material size is reduced to a nanometre scale. Here, we propose a hierarchical structured silicon anode that tackles all three of these problems. Our design is inspired by the structure of a pomegranate, where single silicon nanoparticles are encapsulated by a conductive carbon layer that leaves enough room for expansion and contraction following lithiation and delithiation. An ensemble of these hybrid nanoparticles is then encapsulated by a thicker carbon layer in micrometre-size pouches to act as an electrolyte barrier. As a result of this hierarchical arrangement, the solid-electrolyte interphase remains stable and spatially confined, resulting in superior cyclability (97% capacity retention after 1,000 cycles). In addition, the microstructures lower the electrode-electrolyte contact area, resulting in high Coulombic efficiency (99.87%) and volumetric capacity (1,270 mAh cm(-3)), and the cycling remains stable even when the areal capacity is increased to the level of commercial lithium-ion batteries (3.7 mAh cm(-2)).
View details for DOI 10.1038/NNANO.2014.6
View details for Web of Science ID 000332637200011
View details for PubMedID 24531496
- High-capacity Li2S-graphene oxide composite cathodes with stable cycling performance CHEMICAL SCIENCE 2014; 5 (4): 1396-1400
- Full open-framework batteries for stationary energy storage NATURE COMMUNICATIONS 2014; 5
- Elastic moduli of polycrystalline Li15Si4 produced in lithium ion batteries JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES 2013; 242: 732-735
Microbial battery for efficient energy recovery
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2013; 110 (40): 15925-15930
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 Web of Science ID 000325105500034
Conducting Nanosponge Electroporation for Affordable and High-Efficiency Disinfection of Bacteria and Viruses in Water
2013; 13 (9): 4288-4293
High-efficiency, affordable, and low energy water disinfection methods are in great need to prevent diarrheal illness, which is one of the top five leading causes of death over the world. Traditional water disinfection methods have drawbacks including carcinogenic disinfection byproducts formation, energy and time intensiveness, and pathogen recovery. Here, we report an innovative method that achieves high-efficiency water disinfection by introducing nanomaterial-assisted electroporation implemented by a conducting nanosponge filtration device. The use of one-dimensional (1D) nanomaterials allows electroporation to occur at only several volts, which is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than that in traditional electroporation applications. The disinfection mechanism of electroporation prevents harmful byproduct formation and ensures a fast treatment speed of 15 000 L/(h·m(2)), which is equal to a contact time of 1 s. The conducting nanosponge made from low-cost polyurethane sponge coated with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires ensures the device's affordability. This method achieves more than 6 log (99.9999%) removal of four model bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica Typhimirium, Enterococcus faecalis, and Bacillus subtilis, and more than 2 log (99%) removal of one model virus, bacteriophage MS2, with a low energy consumption of only 100 J/L.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl402053z
View details for Web of Science ID 000330158900051
MoSe2 and WSe2 nanofilms with vertically aligned molecular layers on curved and rough surfaces.
2013; 13 (7): 3426-3433
Two-dimensional (2D) layered materials exhibit high anisotropy in materials properties due to the large difference of intra- and interlayer bonding. This presents opportunities to engineer materials whose properties strongly depend on the orientation of the layers relative to the substrate. Here, using a similar growth process reported in our previous study of MoS2 and MoSe2 films whose layers were oriented vertically on flat substrates, we demonstrate that the vertical layer orientation can be realized on curved and rough surfaces such as nanowires (NWs) and microfibers. Such structures can increase the surface area while maintaining the perpendicular orientation of the layers, which may be useful in enhancing various catalytic activities. We show vertically aligned MoSe2 and WSe2 nanofilms on Si NWs and carbon fiber paper. We find that MoSe2 and WSe2 nanofilms on carbon fiber paper are highly efficient electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) compared to flat substrates. Both materials exhibit extremely high stability in acidic solution as the HER catalytic activity shows no degradation after 15 000 continuous potential cycles. The HER activity of MoSe2 is further improved by Ni doping.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl401944f
View details for PubMedID 23799638
- MoSe2 and WSe2 Nanofilms with Vertically Aligned Molecular Layers on Curved and Rough Surfaces NANO LETTERS 2013; 13 (7): 3426-3433
- Crab Shells as Sustainable Templates from Nature for Nanostructured Battery Electrodes NANO LETTERS 2013; 13 (7): 3385-3390
- Stable Li-ion battery anodes by in-situ polymerization of conducting hydrogel to conformally coat silicon nanoparticles NATURE COMMUNICATIONS 2013; 4
- Rice husks as a sustainable source of nanostructured silicon for high performance Li-ion battery anodes SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 2013; 3
High-performance hollow sulfur nanostructured battery cathode through a scalable, room temperature, one-step, bottom-up approach
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2013; 110 (18): 7148-7153
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 Web of Science ID 000318682300021
Nanoporous silicon networks as anodes for lithium ion batteries
PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS
2013; 15 (2): 440-443
Nanoporous silicon (Si) networks with controllable porosity and thickness are fabricated by a simple and scalable electrochemical process, and then released from Si wafers and transferred to flexible and conductive substrates. These nanoporous Si networks serve as high performance Li-ion battery electrodes, with an initial discharge capacity of 2570 mA h g(-1), above 1000 mA h g(-1) after 200 cycles without any electrolyte additives.
View details for DOI 10.1039/c2cp44046f
View details for Web of Science ID 000311963600004
View details for PubMedID 23183772
- Silicon-conductive nanopaper for Li-ion batteries NANO ENERGY 2013; 2 (1): 138-145
Hierarchical nanostructured conducting polymer hydrogel with high electrochemical activity
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2012; 109 (24): 9287-9292
Conducting polymer hydrogels represent a unique class of materials that synergizes the advantageous features of hydrogels and organic conductors and have been used in many applications such as bioelectronics and energy storage devices. They are often synthesized by polymerizing conductive polymer monomer within a nonconducting hydrogel matrix, resulting in deterioration of their electrical properties. Here, we report a scalable and versatile synthesis of multifunctional polyaniline (PAni) hydrogel with excellent electronic conductivity and electrochemical properties. With high surface area and three-dimensional porous nanostructures, the PAni hydrogels demonstrated potential as high-performance supercapacitor electrodes with high specific capacitance (~480 F·g(-1)), unprecedented rate capability, and cycling stability (~83% capacitance retention after 10,000 cycles). The PAni hydrogels can also function as the active component of glucose oxidase sensors with fast response time (~0.3 s) and superior sensitivity (~16.7 ?A · mM(-1)). The scalable synthesis and excellent electrode performance of the PAni hydrogel make it an attractive candidate for bioelectronics and future-generation energy storage electrodes.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1202636109
View details for Web of Science ID 000305511300024
View details for PubMedID 22645374
A Yolk-Shell Design for Stabilized and Scalable Li-Ion Battery Alloy Anodes
2012; 12 (6): 3315-3321
Silicon is regarded as one of the most promising anode materials for next generation lithium-ion batteries. For use in practical applications, a Si electrode must have high capacity, long cycle life, high efficiency, and the fabrication must be industrially scalable. Here, we design and fabricate a yolk-shell structure to meet all these needs. The fabrication is carried out without special equipment and mostly at room temperature. Commercially available Si nanoparticles are completely sealed inside conformal, thin, self-supporting carbon shells, with rationally designed void space in between the particles and the shell. The well-defined void space allows the Si particles to expand freely without breaking the outer carbon shell, therefore stabilizing the solid-electrolyte interphase on the shell surface. High capacity (?2800 mAh/g at C/10), long cycle life (1000 cycles with 74% capacity retention), and high Coulombic efficiency (99.84%) have been realized in this yolk-shell structured Si electrode.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl3014814
View details for Web of Science ID 000305106400110
View details for PubMedID 22551164
In Situ X-ray Diffraction Studies of (De)lithiation Mechanism in Silicon Nanowire Anodes
2012; 6 (6): 5465-5473
Silicon is a promising anode material for Li-ion batteries due to its high theoretical specific capacity. From previous work, silicon nanowires (SiNWs) are known to undergo amorphorization during lithiation, and no crystalline Li-Si product has been observed. In this work, we use an X-ray transparent battery cell to perform in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction on SiNWs in real time during electrochemical cycling. At deep lithiation voltages the known metastable Li(15)Si(4) phase forms, and we show that avoiding the formation of this phase, by modifying the SiNW growth temperature, improves the cycling performance of SiNW anodes. Our results provide insight on the (de)lithiation mechanism and a correlation between phase evolution and electrochemical performance for SiNW anodes.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nn301339g
View details for Web of Science ID 000305661300100
View details for PubMedID 22558938
Engineering Empty Space between Si Nanoparticles for Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes
2012; 12 (2): 904-909
Silicon is a promising high-capacity anode material for lithium-ion batteries yet attaining long cycle life remains a significant challenge due to pulverization of the silicon and unstable solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation during the electrochemical cycles. Despite significant advances in nanostructured Si electrodes, challenges including short cycle life and scalability hinder its widespread implementation. To address these challenges, we engineered an empty space between Si nanoparticles by encapsulating them in hollow carbon tubes. The synthesis process used low-cost Si nanoparticles and electrospinning methods, both of which can be easily scaled. The empty space around the Si nanoparticles allowed the electrode to successfully overcome these problems Our anode demonstrated a high gravimetric capacity (~1000 mAh/g based on the total mass) and long cycle life (200 cycles with 90% capacity retention).
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl203967r
View details for Web of Science ID 000299967800063
View details for PubMedID 22224827
Enhancing the Supercapacitor Performance of Graphene/MnO2 Nanostructured Electrodes by Conductive Wrapping
2011; 11 (10): 4438-4442
MnO2 is considered one of the most promising pseudocapactive materials for high-performance supercapacitors given its high theoretical specific capacitance, low-cost, environmental benignity, and natural abundance. However, MnO2 electrodes often suffer from poor electronic and ionic conductivities, resulting in their limited performance in power density and cycling. Here we developed a "conductive wrapping" method to greatly improve the supercapacitor performance of graphene/MnO2-based nanostructured electrodes. By three-dimensional (3D) conductive wrapping of graphene/MnO2 nanostructures with carbon nanotubes or conducting polymer, specific capacitance of the electrodes (considering total mass of active materials) has substantially increased by ?20% and ?45%, respectively, with values as high as ?380 F/g achieved. Moreover, these ternary composite electrodes have also exhibited excellent cycling performance with >95% capacitance retention over 3000 cycles. This 3D conductive wrapping approach represents an exciting direction for enhancing the device performance of metal oxide-based electrochemical supercapacitors and can be generalized for designing next-generation high-performance energy storage devices.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl2026635
View details for Web of Science ID 000295667000073
View details for PubMedID 21942427
Highly Conductive, Mechanically Robust, and Electrochemically Inactive TiC/C Nanofiber Scaffold for High-Performance Silicon Anode Batteries
2011; 5 (10): 8346-8351
Silicon has a high specific capacity of 4200 mAh/g as lithium-ion battery anodes, but its rapid capacity fading due to >300% volume expansion and pulverization presents a significant challenge for practical applications. Here we report a core-shell TiC/C/Si inactive/active nanocomposite for Si anodes demonstrating high specific capacity and excellent electrochemical cycling. The amorphous silicon layer serves as the active material to store Li(+), while the inactive TiC/C nanofibers act as a conductive and mechanically robust scaffold for electron transport during the Li-Si alloying process. The core-shell TiC/C/Si nanocomposite anode shows ?3000 mAh g(-1) discharge capacity and 92% capacity retention after 100 charge/discharge cycles. The excellent cycling stability and high rate performance could be attributed to the tapering of the nanofibers and the open structure that allows facile Li ion transport and the high conductivity and mechanical stability of the TiC/C scaffold.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nn2033693
View details for Web of Science ID 000296208700090
View details for PubMedID 21974912
Interconnected Silicon Hollow Nanospheres for Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes with Long Cycle Life
2011; 11 (7): 2949-2954
Silicon is a promising candidate for the anode material in lithium-ion batteries due to its high theoretical specific capacity. However, volume changes during cycling cause pulverization and capacity fade, and improving cycle life is a major research challenge. Here, we report a novel interconnected Si hollow nanosphere electrode that is capable of accommodating large volume changes without pulverization during cycling. We achieved the high initial discharge capacity of 2725 mAh g(-1) with less than 8% capacity degradation every hundred cycles for 700 total cycles. Si hollow sphere electrodes also show a Coulombic efficiency of 99.5% in later cycles. Superior rate capability is demonstrated and attributed to fast lithium diffusion in the interconnected Si hollow structure.
View details for DOI 10.1021/nl201470j
View details for Web of Science ID 000292849400066
View details for PubMedID 21668030