Hierarchically structured nanocarbon electrodes for flexible solid lithium batteries

Abstract
The ever increasing demand for storage of electrical energy in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles is driving technological improvements in rechargeable batteries. Lithium (Li) batteries have many advantages over other rechargeable battery technologies, including high specific energy and energy density, operation over a wide range of temperatures (-40 to 70. °C) and a low self-discharge rate, which translates into a long shelf-life (~10 years) [1]. However, upon release of the first generation of rechargeable Li batteries, explosions related to the shorting of the circuit through Li dendrites bridging the anode and cathode were observed. As a result, Li metal batteries today are generally relegated to non-rechargeable primary battery applications, because the dendritic growth of Li is associated with the charging and discharging process. However, there still remain significant advantages in realizing rechargeable secondary batteries based on Li metal anodes because they possess superior electrical conductivity, higher specific energy and lower heat generation due to lower internal resistance. One of the most practical solutions is to use a solid polymer electrolyte to act as a physical barrier against dendrite growth. This may enable the use of Li metal once again in rechargeable secondary batteries [2]. Here we report a flexible and solid Li battery using a polymer electrolyte with a hierarchical and highly porous nanocarbon electrode comprising aligned multiwalled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon nanohorns (CNHs). Electrodes with high specific surface area are realized through the combination of CNHs with CNTs and provide a significant performance enhancement to the solid Li battery performance. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Citation
Wei D, Hiralal P, Wang H, Emrah Unalan H, Rouvala M, et al. (2013) Hierarchically structured nanocarbon electrodes for flexible solid lithium batteries. Nano Energy 2: 1054–1062. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2013.04.004.

Acknowledgements
This work was funded through the Nokia—Cambridge University Strategic Research Alliance in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. We also acknowledge the Advanced Nanofabrication, Imaging and Characterisation Core Lab in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia for allowing us to use their Titan 60–300 kV TEM.

Publisher
Elsevier BV

Journal
Nano Energy

DOI
10.1016/j.nanoen.2013.04.004

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