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Superior Conductive Solid-like Electrolytes: Nanoconfining Liquids within the Hollow Structures

Publication Type
Journal Name
Nano Letters
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The growth and proliferation of lithium (Li) dendrites during cell recharge are currently unavoidable, which seriously hinders the development and application of rechargeable Li metal batteries. Solid electrolytes with robust mechanical modulus are regarded as a promising approach to overcome the dendrite problems. However, their room-temperature ionic conductivities are usually too low to reach the level required for normal battery operation. Here, a class of novel solid electrolytes with liquid-like room-temperature ionic conductivities (>1 mS cm–1) has been successfully synthesized by taking advantage of the unique nanoarchitectures of hollow silica (HS) spheres to confine liquid electrolytes in hollow space to afford high conductivities (2.5 mS cm–1). In a symmetric lithium/lithium cell, the solid-like electrolytes demonstrate a robust performance against the Li dendrite problem, preventing the cell from short circuiting at current densities ranging from 0.16 to 0.32 mA cm–2 over an extended period of time. Moreover, the high flexibility and compatibility of HS nanoarchitectures, in principle, enables broad tunability to choose desired liquids for the fabrication of other kinds of solid-like electrolytes, such as those containing Na+, Mg2+, or Al3+ as conductive media, providing a useful alternative strategy for the development of next generation rechargeable batteries.