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Nature Communications

A different angle on perovskite defects

Scientists in China took a closer look at the role of defects in limiting the performance of perovskite solar cells, demonstrating a screening effect that could be tuned to make material defects “invisible” to charge carriers, greatly improving cell performance. Using this approach they demonstrate a 22% efficient inverted perovskite solar cell, and theorize several new pathways to even higher performance.

An aluminum battery that can charge in a fraction of a second

Scientists in China and the United States investigated the inner workings of aluminum-ion batteries. With new insights into mechanisms at work within the battery during cycling, the group was able to demonstrate a battery capable of ultrafast charging, with the highest capacity so far reported for an aluminum battery.

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Seawater aqueous battery based on alloy of zinc and manganese

Scientists in the United States developed a new anode for aqueous batteries. A working battery utilizing this anode, with seawater as an electrolyte, demonstrated impressive energy density, and remained stable after 1,000 hours of high current cycling. The group is already discussing the potential of their approach in large-scale manufacturing.

Triple junction perovskite cell hits 16.8% efficiency

Scientists in the Netherlands fabricated three different perovskite layers, all using the same process. The three cells are all tuned to different bandgaps in order to absorb different wavelengths of light. A triple-junction device incorporating all three achieved 16.8% conversion efficiency. This, the researchers say, is a promising result for the technology, though would require the development of new wide-bandgap perovskites to push much further.

Perovskite structure also benefits batteries

Scientists at Germany’s Karlsruher Institute of Technology are leading an investigation into a new lithium-ion battery anode. The innovation has a perovskite crystalline structure and, according to the researchers, could provide strong all-round performance from simpler, cheaper production methods than those used for other anode materials.

Australian researchers shine light on potential storage solution

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology have proposed a new design for a diamond nanothread bundle that could pave the way for a new form of mechanical storage. Pound-for-pound, the tech could be three times more powerful than lithium-ion batteries.

Looking back over lithium

Already responsible for changing the way we communicate and power portable devices, lithium-ion technology is now driving revolutions in both transport and energy supply the world over. A new paper published by Arumugam Manthiram of the University of Texas at Austin examines the technology’s development, from initial discoveries made in the 1970s to the considerations of today’s researchers working on the ‘batteries of the future’.

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Carbon nanotubes pave the way for silicon in storage

Scientists in the United States have developed a carbon nanotube method of fabricating a lithium-ion battery with a silicon anode. The device reportedly demonstrated better than 87% capacity retention after 1,500 cycles. The developers say their discovery overcomes many of the obstacles to the use of silicon as an anode and could open up the use of other materials for electrodes in lithium-ion devices.

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A battery breakthrough for titanium cathodes

Scientists in Moscow have developed a titanium-based electrode material for metal-ion batteries they claim challenges the perceived wisdom of the element’s cathode potential and which could give researchers a ‘playground’ for the design of sustainable, cost-effective, titanium-based electrodes.

The inner workings of a lithium battery

An international group of scientists has developed a comprehensive method to track the microscopic processes at work in lithium batteries. Employing a ‘virtual unrolling’ model developed for ancient manuscripts too sensitive to be opened, the group peeked inside the layers of a commercial battery to gain a better understanding of the processes at work and the degradation mechanisms affecting them. Their findings, the group says, could provide a benchmark for battery characterization.

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