Dr. Shuya Wei is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering at UNM. She obtained her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University in 2017 and B. Eng in Bioengineering from Nanyang Technological University in 2013.
Rational Design of Interphases to Enable High Energy Metal-based Batteries
Abstract: Advances in the basic science and engineering principles of electrochemical energy storage are imperative for significant progress in electronic devices. Metal-based batteries, utilizing metals such as Li, Na, Al, and Zn as anodes, have garnered considerable attention due to their potential to enhance anode-specific capacity by up to 10 times compared to current state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries that employ graphitic anodes. These metal anodes also enable the use of highly energetic simple molecules like sulfur, oxygen, and carbon dioxide as cathodes, further enhancing the energy density at the cell level. However, a persistent challenge faced by most metal batteries is their tendency to fail due to short-circuits caused by dendrite growth during battery recharge and the increased resistance within the cell due to internal side reactions with the liquid electrolyte. In this presentation, I will discuss our research, which combines ion transport modeling and contemporary experimental efforts to gain a fundamental understanding and develop rational designs for electrode-electrolyte interphases. These designs aim to overcome the challenges associated with metal-based batteries. Specifically, our research has demonstrated that porous electrodes on the anode side can mitigate dendrite formation by reducing the diffusion-limited current density. Additionally, we have successfully designed cathodes and electrolytes to pair a metal anode with a small molecule (CO2) gas cathode, resulting in rechargeable metal-CO2 batteries. These developments pave the way for addressing the limitations of metal-based batteries and advancing their practical applications.