Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy: Research papers of the month

Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy

Research papers of the month

December 2016

Brush-like zinc oxide nano-wires prevent capacity loss in Li-S battery

In a new lithium-sulphur battery, which takes its inspiration in part from the cells lining the human intestine, a layer of material with a villi-like structure, made from tiny zinc oxide wires, is placed on the surface of one of the battery’s electrodes. This can trap fragments of the active material when they break off, keeping them electrochemically accessible and allowing the material to be reused. The batteries, if commercially developed, would have five times the energy density of the lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and other electronics. The results are reported in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

Figure: A brush-like ZnO interlayer that can trap polysulphides in a Li-S battery.

Teng Zhao, Dr. X. Peng, Dr. G. Divitini, Dr. H. K. Kim, C. Lao, Dr. P. R Coxon, Dr. K. Xi, Dr. Y. Liu, Dr. C. Ducati, Dr. R. V. Kumar, "Advanced Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Enabled by a Bio-Inspired Polysulfide Adsorptive Brush", Advanced Functional Materials (2016).

During the week following the publication of this paper over 25 news items appeared, including in the University Website Latest News, the front page of the MRS Bulletin and the BBC website.