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
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
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