All Publications

  • Fast galvanic lithium corrosion involving a Kirkendall-type mechanism. Nature chemistry Lin, D., Liu, Y., Li, Y., Li, Y., Pei, A., Xie, J., Huang, W., Cui, Y. 2019


    Developing a viable metallic lithium anode is a prerequisite for next-generation batteries. However, the low redox potential of lithium metal renders it prone to corrosion, which must be thoroughly understood for it to be used in practical energy-storage devices. Here we report a previously overlooked mechanism by which lithium deposits can corrode on a copper surface. Voids are observed in the corroded deposits and a Kirkendall-type mechanism is validated through electrochemical analysis. Although it is a long-held view that lithium corrosion in electrolytes involves direct charge-transfer through the lithium-electrolyte interphase, the corrosion observed here is found to be governed by a galvanic process between lithium and the copper substrate-a pathway largely neglected by previous battery corrosion studies. The observations are further rationalized by detailed analyses of the solid-electrolyte interphase formed on copper and lithium, where the disparities in electrolyte reduction kinetics on the two surfaces can account for the fast galvanic process.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41557-018-0203-8

    View details for PubMedID 30664717

  • Nanostructural and Electrochemical Evolution of the Solid-Electrolyte Interphase on CuO Nanowires Revealed by Cryogenic-Electron Microscopy and Impedance Spectroscopy ACS NANO Huang, W., Boyle, D. T., Li, Y., Li, Y., Pei, A., Chen, H., Cui, Y. 2019; 13 (1): 737–44


    Battery performance is critically dependent on the nanostructure and electrochemical properties of the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) - a passivation film that exists on most lithium battery anodes. However, knowledge of how the SEI nanostructure forms and its impact on ionic transport remains limited due to its sensitivity to transmission electron microscopy and difficulty in accurately probing the SEI impedance. Here, we track the voltage-dependent, stepwise evolution of the nanostructure and impedance of the SEI on CuO nanowires using cryogenic-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). In carbonate electrolyte, the SEI forms at 1.0 V vs Li/Li+ as a 3 nm-thick amorphous SEI and grows to 4 nm at 0.5 V; as the potential approaches 0.0 V vs Li/Li+, the SEI on the CuO nanowires forms an 8 nm-thick inverted multilayered nanostructure in ethylene carbonate/diethyl carbonate (EC/DEC) electrolyte with 10 vol. % fluoroethylene carbonate (FEC) and a mosaic nanostructure in EC/DEC electrolyte. Upon Li deposition, the total SEI thickness grows to 16 nm and significant growth of the inner amorphous layer takes place in the inverted multilayered nanostructure, indicating electrolyte permeates the SEI. Using a refined EIS methodology, we isolate the SEI impedance on Cu and find that the SEI nanostructure directly correlates to macroscopic Li-ion transport through the SEI. The inverted layered nanostructure decreases the interfacial impedance upon formation, whereas the mosaic nanostructure continually increases the interfacial impedance during growth. These structural and electrochemical findings illustrate a more complete portrait of SEI formation and guide further improvements in engineered SEI.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acsnano.8b08012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000456749900075

    View details for PubMedID 30589528

  • Correlating Structure and Function of Battery Interphases at Atomic Resolution Using Cryoelectron Microscopy JOULE Li, Y., Huang, W., Li, Y., Pei, A., Boyle, D., Cui, Y. 2018; 2 (10): 2167–77
  • Core-Shell Nanofibrous Materials with High Particulate Matter Removal Efficiencies and Thermally Triggered Flame Retardant Properties. ACS central science Liu, K., Liu, C., Hsu, P., Xu, J., Kong, B., Wu, T., Zhang, R., Zhou, G., Huang, W., Sun, J., Cui, Y. 2018; 4 (7): 894–98


    Dust filtration is a crucial process for industrial waste gas treatment. Great efforts have been devoted to improve the performance of dust filtration filters both in industrial and fundamental research. Conventional air-filtering materials are limited by three key issues: (1) Low filtration efficiency, especially for particulate matter (PM) below 1 mum; (2) large air pressure drops across the filter, which require a high energy input to overcome; and (3) safety hazards such as dust explosions and fires. Here, we have developed a "smart" multifunctional material which can capture PM with high efficiency and an extremely low pressure drop, while possessing a flame retardant design. This multifunctionality is achieved through a core-shell nanofiber design with the polar polymer Nylon-6 as the shell and the flame retardant triphenyl phosphate (TPP) as the core. At 80% optical transmittance, the multifunctional materials showed capture efficiency of 99.00% for PM2.5 and >99.50% for PM10-2.5, with a pressure drop of only 0.25 kPa (0.2% of atmospheric pressure) at a flow rate of 0.5 m s-1. Moreover, during direct ignition tests, the multifunctional materials showed extraordinary flame retardation; the self-extinguishing time of the filtrate-contaminated filter is nearly instantaneous (0 s/g) compared to 150 s/g for unmodified Nylon-6.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acscentsci.8b00285

    View details for PubMedID 30062118

  • Engineering stable interfaces for three-dimensional lithium metal anodes. Science advances Xie, J., Wang, J., Lee, H. R., Yan, K., Li, Y., Shi, F., Huang, W., Pei, A., Chen, G., Subbaraman, R., Christensen, J., Cui, Y. 2018; 4 (7): eaat5168


    Lithium metal has long been considered one of the most promising anode materials for advanced lithium batteries (for example, Li-S and Li-O2), which could offer significantly improved energy density compared to state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries. Despite decades of intense research efforts, its commercialization remains limited by poor cyclability and safety concerns of lithium metal anodes. One root cause is the parasitic reaction between metallic lithium and the organic liquid electrolyte, resulting in continuous formation of an unstable solid electrolyte interphase, which consumes both active lithium and electrolyte. Until now, it has been challenging to completely shut down the parasitic reaction. We find that a thin-layer coating applied through atomic layer deposition on a hollow carbon host guides lithium deposition inside the hollow carbon sphere and simultaneously prevents electrolyte infiltration by sealing pinholes on the shell of the hollow carbon sphere. By encapsulating lithium inside the stable host, parasitic reactions are prevented, resulting in impressive cycling behavior. We report more than 500 cycles at a high coulombic efficiency of 99% in an ether-based electrolyte at a cycling rate of 0.5 mA/cm2 and a cycling capacity of 1 mAh/cm2, which is among the most stable Li anodes reported so far.

    View details for PubMedID 30062125