Groundbreaking Research on Zinc Batteries Featured in Advanced Materials

By Richard Kaner

This article was originally published by UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry

A recent innovation in battery technology by Professor Richard Kaner’s group has been prominently featured on the cover of the prestigious journal Advanced Materials. The project, led by Kaner, along with the newly graduated Dr. Chenxiang Wang and researcher Dr. Maher El-Kady, introduces an innovative approach to enhance the efficiency and lifespan of zinc batteries.

Professor Richard Kaner, Dr. Chenxiang Wang, Dr. Maher El-Kady. (Image courtesy: Richard Kaner)

The study, titled “Labile Coordination Interphase for Regulating Lean Ion Dynamics in Reversible Zn Batteries,” represents a significant advance in the search for safer batteries.

As the world seeks alternatives to lithium-ion batteries, rechargeable zinc-based batteries emerge as a promising choice due to their low cost and safety. Their adoption, however, is limited by low efficiency and dendritic growth issues. The paper presents a zinc-coordinated interphase that binds Zn2+ ions with histidine and carboxylate ligands, enhancing stability and reducing chemical corrosion.

The research shows that the new method prevents common problems in zinc batteries, like dendrite formation, which can cause batteries to fail and even become unsafe. This innovation paves the way for zinc batteries as a more practical and sustainable option for energy storage.

This breakthrough is a big step forward in creating better, safer batteries for everything from flexible wearable electronics to storing renewable energy. It could lead to more affordable and environmentally friendly energy storage solutions, helping to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and move towards cleaner energy sources.