Aqueous zinc-ion batteries, in terms of integration with high safety, environmental benignity, and low cost, have attracted much attention for powering electronic devices and storage systems. However, the interface instability issues at the Zn anode caused by detrimental side reactions such as dendrite growth, hydrogen evolution, and metal corrosion at the solid (anode)/liquid (electrolyte) interface impede their practical applications in the fields requiring long-term performance persistence. Despite the rapid progress in suppressing the side reactions at the materials interface, the mechanism of ion storage and dendrite formation in practical aqueous zinc-ion batteries with dual-cation aqueous electrolytes is still unclear. Herein, we design an interface material consisting of forest-like three-dimensional zinc-copper alloy with engineered surfaces to explore the Zn plating/stripping mode in dual-cation electrolytes. The three-dimensional nanostructured surface of zinc-copper alloy is demonstrated to be in favor of effectively regulating the reaction kinetics of Zn plating/stripping processes. The developed interface materials suppress the dendrite growth on the anode surface towards high-performance persistent aqueous zinc-ion batteries in the aqueous electrolytes containing single and dual cations. This work remarkably enhances the fundamental understanding of dual-cation intercalation chemistry in aqueous electrochemical systems and provides a guide for exploring high-performance aqueous zinc-ion batteries andmore »
Metal anode instability, including dendrite growth, metal corrosion, and hetero-ions interference, occurring at the electrolyte/electrode interface of aqueous batteries, are among the most critical issues hindering their widespread use in energy storage. Herein, a universal strategy is proposed to overcome the anode instability issues by rationally designing alloyed materials, using Zn-M alloys as model systems (M = Mn and other transition metals). An in-situ optical visualization coupled with finite element analysis is utilized to mimic actual electrochemical environments analogous to the actual aqueous batteries and analyze the complex electrochemical behaviors. The Zn-Mn alloy anodes achieved stability over thousands of cycles even under harsh electrochemical conditions, including testing in seawater-based aqueous electrolytes and using a high current density of 80 mA cm−2. The proposed design strategy and the in-situ visualization protocol for the observation of dendrite growth set up a new milestone in developing durable electrodes for aqueous batteries and beyond.
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- Nature Communications
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- National Science Foundation
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