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Research Highlight

Confining Liquids in Hollow Nanospheres Can Yield Superior Quasi-Solid Electrolytes

(top) A free-standing quasi solid electrolyte membrane with a liquid electrolyte nanoconfined in silica nanospheres. (bottom) A schematic diagram showing charging and discharging processes.
The growth and proliferation of lithium dendrites during cell recharge seriously hinder development and application of rechargeable Li-metal batteries. Researchers developed a promising strategy for fabrication of quasi−solid electrolytes with superior lithium ionic conductivities, by using a hollow silica (HS) nanosphere-film architecture that blocks dendrites. 

Hollow silica nanospheres were pressed into a film for dense packing. The nanospheres, which have microporous shells, confine electrolytes in their cavities, while the close-packed HS arrays block Li dendrites from forming and short-circuiting the cell during repeated charge−discharge cycling. After fully soaked with liquid electrolytes, HS films can achieve room-temperature conductivities as high as 2.5 mS/cm.

Furthermore, the HS-film scaffolds are broadly tunable. Different liquid electrolytes containing, for example, Na, Mg2, or Al3, can be chosen for the fabrication of other quasi-solid electrolytes, providing a promising alternative strategy for the development of next-generation rechargeable batteries.

               

Jinshui Zhang, Ying Bai, Xiao-Guang Sun, Yunchao Li, Bingkun Guo, Jihua Chen, Gabriel M. Veith, Dale K. Hensley, Mariappan Parans Paranthaman, John B. Goodenough, and Sheng Dai, “Superior Conductive Solid-like Electrolytes: Nanoconfining Liquids within the Hollow Structures,” Nano Letters (2015). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00739.

 

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