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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2383. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3383.

A nanostructured cathode architecture for low charge overpotential in lithium-oxygen batteries.

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  • 1Chemical Science and Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA.

Erratum in

  • Nat Commun. 2014;5:3290.


The lithium-oxygen battery, of much interest because of its very high-energy density, presents many challenges, one of which is a high-charge overpotential that results in large inefficiencies. Here we report a cathode architecture based on nanoscale components that results in a dramatic reduction in charge overpotential to ~0.2 V. The cathode utilizes atomic layer deposition of palladium nanoparticles on a carbon surface with an alumina coating for passivation of carbon defect sites. The low charge potential is enabled by the combination of palladium nanoparticles attached to the carbon cathode surface, a nanocrystalline form of lithium peroxide with grain boundaries, and the alumina coating preventing electrolyte decomposition on carbon. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy provides evidence for the nanocrystalline form of lithium peroxide. The new cathode material architecture provides the basis for future development of lithium-oxygen cathode materials that can be used to improve the efficiency and to extend cycle life.

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