Research by Professor Xiangfeng Duan and members of his group was published in the journal Science this week.
Duan group team members behind this research include the two co-first authors, postdoctoral fellows Dr. Hongtao Sun and Dr. Lin Mei (visiting from Hunan University, China). Other members are postdoctoral fellow Dr. Huilong Fei and graduate students Mufan Li, Xu Xu, visiting scholar Guolin Hao, and Benjamin Papandrea.
In a summary entitled “Is This the ‘Holey’ Grail of Batteries?,” the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) explained that in a battery system, electrodes containing porous graphene scaffolding offer a substantial improvement in both the transport of charge and retention of energy at high charge/discharge rate. Usually, techniques to improve the density of stored charge conflict with those that aim to improve the speed at which ions can move through a material. Nanostructured materials have shown extraordinary promise for electrochemical energy storage, but these materials are usually limited to laboratory cells with ultrathin electrodes and very low mass loadings.
AAAS states that the research team overcomes this obstacle by incorporating niobium pentoxide into a holey graphene framework. The nanopores facilitate rapid ion transport and by “fine-tuning” their size, the researchers were able to achieve high mass loading and improved power capability while still maintaining the higher charge transport.
In a related Perspective, Hui-Ming Cheng and Feng Li write, “An unprecedented combination of high areal capacity and current density at practical mass loadings (10 to 20 mg cm–2) marks a critical step toward the use of high-performance electrode materials in commercial cells.”
Other UCLA members of the research team were Junfei Liang, Zipeng Zhao Mengning Ding, Jonathan Lau, Chen Wang, Bruce Dun, and Yu Huang from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Imran Shakir from the Sustainable Energy Technologies Centre, College of Engineering, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia.