The escalating concerns of environmental degradation and energy crises pose significant challenges to achieving a sustainable human society. In this context, the development of high-performance electrochemical energy storage devices has become crucial for the advancement of portable electronics, vehicle electrification, smart grids, and the future of electronic technologies. Central to these advancements is the innovative design of electrochemical interfaces, which play a pivotal role in enhancing the performance and efficiency of these devices. Meanwhile, innovations in techniques for electrochemical monitoring, especially those offering enhanced spatial and temporal resolution, are key to unlocking the new understanding of electrochemical interfaces and reaction kinetics and are essential for further advancement in novel energy storage technologies.1

To achieve this goal, we have rationally designed and engineered micro-devices for in situ/operando electrochemical characterisation and novel electrochemical energy storage technologies for Sustainability and Future Electronics: For example, we've developed a Li-CO2 electrochemical technology that uses CO2 for energy storage and recycling. Using our unique multimodal on-chip testing platform, we screen catalysts and study mechanisms, leading to practical Li-CO2 pouch cells.2,3 This on-chip platform can also be broadly applied to other systems, such as electrocatalysis, opening new avenues for rapid screening, mechanism investigation, and guiding macroscopic applications.4 Beyond these, we also work on the development of multifunctional implantable sensors for noninvasive monitoring of the internal states of batteries and next-generation batteries for electric vehicles, targeting holistic optimization of high safety, fast charging, and high energy density. 5-11 Another research area is the innovative design and engineering of flexible self-powered energy storage devices with long-term stability for wearable/implantable electronics and miniaturized electronics. 11,12

  1. L. Mai, M. Yan, Y. Zhao, Track batteries degrading in real-time. Nature 546 (2017), 469.
  2. M. Wang, K. Yang, Y. Ji, X. Liao, M. G. Masteghin, N. Peng, F. Richheimer, H. Li, F. A. Castro, E. Petrucco, R. Silva, F. Pan, Y. Zhao*, Developing highly reversible Li-CO2 battery: from on-chip exploration to practical application. Energy & Environmental Science 16 (2023), 3960-3967.
  3. S. Chen, K.Yang, H. Zhu, J. Wang, Y. Gong, Huanxin Li, Manman Wang, S. R. P. Silva, Y. Zhao*, L. Yang*, Rational catalyst structural design to facilitate reversible Li-CO2 batteries with boosted CO2 conversion kinetics." Nano Energy 117 (2023): 108872.
  4. X. Pan, M. Yan. Q. Liu, R. Smith, N. Peng, J. England, S. Chi Edman Tsang*, Y. Zhao*, L. Mai*, et al. Electric-field-assisted proton coupling enhanced oxygen evolution reaction. Nature Communications, (2024).
  5. Li, Y. Gong, K. Yang, H. Zhou, J. Li, B. Mao, J. Zhang, Z. Huang, S. Jiao, Y. Kuang, Y. Zhao*, S. Luo*, Ampere-hour-scale soft-package potassium-ion hybrid capacitors enabling 6-minute fast-charging. Nature Communications, 14 (2023), 6407.
  6. Yao, X. Lu, Y. Zhou, T. Šamoril, J. Bi, M. G. Masteghin, H Zhang, L. Askew, J. Kim, F. Xiong, J. Wang, D. C. Cox, T. Sui, I. Gilmore, S. R. P. Silva, L. Mai, G. Hinds, P. R. Shearing, J. Park and Y. Zhao*, Rectifying Interphases for Preventing Li Dendrite Propagation in Solid-State Electrolytes. Energy & Environmental Science (2023) 16, 2167.
  7. J. Wang, K. Yang, S. Sun, Q. Ma, G. Yi, X. Chen, X. Liu, X., Q. Cai*, and Y. Zhao*, Advances in thermal‐related analysis techniques for solid‐state lithium batteries. InfoMat5(2023), p.e12401.
  8. Yao, Y. Zhao*, F. Castro, L. Mai*, Rational design of pre-intercalated electrodes for rechargeable battery. ACS Energy Letters 4, (2019), 771-778.
  9. Y. Zhao, C. Han, J. Yang, etc.Stable alkali metal ion intercalation compounds as optimized metal oxide nanowire cathodes for lithium batteries." Nano Letters 15.3 (2015): 2180-2185.
  10. Y. Zhao, J. Feng, X. Liu, etc. Self-adaptive strain-relaxation optimization for high-energy lithium storage material through crumpling of graphene. Nature Communications 5.1 (2014), 4565.
  11. Bi, J. Zhang, P. Giannakou, M. Shkunov, W. Zhang, Y. Zhao*, An integrated wearable photo-rechargeable system based on stable ultrahigh-rate quasi-solid-state zinc-ion micro-batteries and flexible solar cells. Energy Storage Materials, (2022) 51, 239.
  12. Xu, Y Liu, K Yang, S Li, M Wang, R Silva, F Castro, Y. Zhao* Minimally Invasive Power Sources for Implantable Electronics. Exploration, (2023) 20220106.