XinBo Zhang Research Lab

   Advanced Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion Devices and Systems   

To meet this century’s demands for environmentally friendly transportation and cleaner energy sources, our research focus on developing of advanced materials for high-performance next-generation energy storage and conversion devices and system. Much efforts have been devoted to design, synthesize, and characterize novel functional materials with various compositions and morphologies via various chemical and physical processes, exploit their applications in energy storage and conversion fields, especially Li-air batteries, Li-ion batteries, Na-ion batteries, Fuel cells, Water splitting, etc., and better understand the structure-property-performance relationship. The main achievements include:

Li-air Battery:

: The concept of integrated air-cathode has been proposed and a series of integrated air-cathodes with multi-channel network have been synthesized. The novel air cathodes exhibit the capability of tailoring the critical deposition behavior and morphology of the discharge product, which leads to superior battery performance with higher rate and longer cycling capabilities for  non-aqueous Li-air batteries. Based on the achievements above, our group has designed and developed the first prototype of rechargeable Li-air battery pack with intellectual property rights, paving the way for practical application in various fields such as the electrical vehicles and the renewable energy storage including the solar and wind power. 


Na-ion Battery: Porous CuO nanorod arrays has been prepared by a facile and low cost while effective in situ engraving method  on copper foil. The obtained flexible CuO nanorod array were directly used as anode for Na-ion batteries, and exhibited excellent electrochemical performance including cycle stability and rate capability even at room temperature. In addition, tailored aromatic carbonyl derivative PTCDA-based PIs can also deliver a high specific power and specific energy for Na-ion batteries. The use of PTCDA improves the working potentials and cycling stability compared with those of PMDA and NTCDA-based PIs.


Li-ion Battery: Many kinds of metal oxides/hydroxides/fluoride,  functional graphene and composites with excellent lithium storage performance have been controlled prepared by various methods, including V2O5 nanostructures using electro-spinning technique, binder-free and mechanically robust CoO/graphene electrodes through a novel electrostatic induced spread growth method; three-dimensionally ordered macroporous FeF3 and an homogenous coating of conductive polymer using polystyrene colloidal crystals as hard template; doped hierarchically porous graphene electrode through a facile in situ constructing strategy in nickel foam. Devices made with these electrodes exhibit higher specific capacity and rate capability over a wide temperature range and maintain excellent cycle stability.



Water Splitting: A novel 3D Ni foam/porous carbon/anodized Ni electrode is first successfully prepared which combines a 3D Ni foam, serving as the conductive substrate and the source of the in situ generated oxygen evolution catalyst (OEC), with a MOF-derived porous carbon membrane that provides voids to accommodate the OEC, endowing the whole electrode with efficient activity and high stability. As another kind of catalyst, graphene supported RhNi nanoparticles exert 100% H2 selectivity, excellent activity and stability toward complete decomposition of hydrous hydrazine under ambient conditions.

The above research results have been published in more than 90 papers in peer reviewed journals, such as Nat. Commun., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Adv. Mater., Chem. Soc. Rev., ACS Nano, Energy Environ. Sci., etc., and these papers have been totally cited over 1600 times by others. Some of the research results have been selected as hot paper, journal covers and frontispiece.

Representative publications:

Nat. Commun., 2013, 4, 2438; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52,5248; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52, 3887; Adv. Mater., 2014, advance article; ACS Nano, 2013, 7, 2422; Chem. Soc. Rev., 2014, advance article; Adv. Energy. Mater., 2014, advance article; Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 8538; Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 6885; Adv. Funct. Mater., 2013, 23, 4274; ChemSusChem, 2013, 6, 56; Adv. Funct. Mater., 2012, 22, 3699; Chem. Commun., 2013, 49, 10028; Chem. Commun., 2012, 48, 11674; Chem. Commun., 2012, 48, 6948;Chem. Commun., 2012, 48, 976.