Volker Presser 2022 Highly Cited Researcher

It is a privilege to receive, after 2018 and 2021, the recognition as 2022 Highly Cited Researcher (HRC) by Clarivate. Only 6,938 out of abut 8M researchers have received this recognition. Citation numbers are not the most important parameter in science, but I am grateful to our team and collaborators that the community so well receives our works. I am also honored to be the only 2022 HRC of Saarland University and only 1 of 2 if counting the University Hospital, too.

New paper published in Carbon on photocatalytic use of TiO2 loaded carbon spherogels

New paper published in Carbon. This is our latest work from our collaboration with our Austrian partners now being published in the January issue of Carbon. Combining the expertise in catalysis of the Eder group (TU Vienna) with the innovative carbon spherogel material developed by Michael Elsaesser from the Hüsing Group (Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg) makes up for an interesting system. Spherogels are hollow carbon spheres which, as shown by this work, can be conveniently loaded with electrocatalytically active species, such as titania. In our case, we studied the photocatalytic hydrogen evolution.

New paper published in ACS Omega on Cu-Fe sulfides for lithium-ion batteries

New paper published in ACS Omega. Batteries employing transition-metal sulfides enable high-charge storage capacities, but polysulfide shuttling and volume expansion cause structural disintegration and early capacity fading. The design of heterostructures combining metal sulfides and carbon with an optimized morphology can effectively address these issues. Our work introduces dopamine-coated copper Prussian blue (CuPB) analogue as a template to prepare nanostructured mixed copper–iron sulfide electrodes. The material was prepared by coprecipitation of CuPB with in situ dopamine polymerization, followed by thermal sulfidation. Dopamine controls the particle size and favors K-rich CuPB due to its polymerization mechanism. While the presence of the coating prevents particle agglomeration during thermal sulfidation, its thickness demonstrates a key effect on the electrochemical performance of the derived sulfides. After a two-step activation process during cycling, the C-coated KCuFeS2 electrodes showed capacities up to 800 mAh/g at 10 mA/g with nearly 100% capacity recovery after rate handling and a capacity of 380 mAh/g at 250 mA/g after 500 cycles.

Volker Presser receives the 2022 Zhaowu Tian Prize for Energy Electrochemistry of the International Society of Electrochemistry

I am honored to receive the 2022 Zhaowu Tian Prize for Energy Electrochemistry. This award by the International Society of Electrochemistry recognizes the achievements in the field of electrochemistry for energy of my team and I. I am fortunate to join the list of awardees which includes from past years Xiangfeng Duan (2017), Fabio la Mantia (2018), Zhichuan (Jason) Xu (2019), and Joaquín Rodríguez-López (2021). Coming in the year of my 40th birthday and the 10-year-anniversary of being a PI at the INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials, I am grateful to not just my team but also our esteemed collaborators, especially dear friends such as Michael NaguibGuang FengChristian PrehalYury GogotsiVeronica Augustyn, and so many more!

New paper published in Electrochimica Acta on Ni-decorated AgAu alloy graphene/cobalt hydroxide electrodes for flexible micro-supercapacitors

New paper published in Electrochimica Acta on Ni-decorated AgAu alloy graphene/cobalt hydroxide electrodes for micro-supercapacitors to obtain high-performance micro-supercapacitors. A nanocomposite of graphene, cobalt hydroxide and nickel can was obtained from using gold-silver alloy lines. Using a two-step electrodeposition method, the scaly morphology is pre-deposited on a Ni film, followed by the interconnecting corrugated graphene/cobalt hydroxide composite nanomaterial. The resulting device, a graphene/cobalt hydroxide/Ni//activated carbon flexible micro-supercapacitor (MSC), was assembled by gel KOH-PVA electrolyte, graphene/cobalt hydroxide/Ni (positive electrode), and activated carbon (negative electrode). When testing, we obtained a volumetric energy of about 19 mWh/cm3 and the devices retained over 94% capacitance after 10,000 cycles. After 1,000 continuous bending/unbending cycles at a 180° bending angle with the frequency of 100 mHz, the capacitance retention of MSC is still maintained at 97% of the initial value.

New paper published in ACS Energy Letters on continuous Li-ion harvesting from seawater

new paper published in ACS Energy Letters on continuous electrochemical lithium-ion extraction. We used a redox electrolyte “engine” to drive the ion transfer (in our case: potassium ferricyanide). Employing a pair of ceramic lithium superionic conductor (LISICON) membranes meant that only Lithium ions were accessible to the redox electrolyte for charge compensation. And to complement the design, we used an anion exchange membrane to separate the inflow (e.g., seawater) from a recovery solution. By this way, we obtained an electrochemical system for the continuous extraction of Lithium ions. This sets this technology apart from earlier works (including our contributions) that relied on a cyclic operation to obtain ion separation. Yet, this is just one of many more steps towards seeing such technology toward application; future research must critically address cell design, optimization of the Li-membranes, and investigating the robustness and durability of continuous operation.

This work was the result of the collaboration of our Ph.D. students Lei Wang, Stefanie Arnold, Panyu Ren, and our former Postdoc (now group leader at Bavarian Center for Battery Technology (BayBatt)Qingsong Wang, as well as our Chinese collaborators Jun Jin and Zahoyin Wen (Chinese Academy of Sciences).

New paper published on the ion selectivity of carbon nanopores

New paper published in Desalination on the ion selectivity of carbon nanopores. It is well known that electrolyte confinement inside carbon nanopores strongly affects ion electrosorption in capacitive deionization. A thorough understanding of the intricate pore size influence enables enhanced charge storage performance and desalination in addition to ion separation. In subnanometer pores, where the pore size is smaller than hydrated ion size, a dehydration energy barrier must be overcome before the ions can be electrosorbed into the pores. Ion sieving is observed when the dehydration energy is larger than the applied energy. However, when a high electrochemical potential is used, the ions can desolvate and enter the pores. Capitalizing on the difference in size and dehydration energy barriers, this work applies the subnanometer porous carbon material, and a high electrochemical ion selectivity for Cs+ and K+ over Na+, Li+, Mg2+, and Ca2+ is observed. This establishes a viable way for selective heavy metal removal by varying pore and solvated ion sizes. Our work also shows the transition from double-layer capacitance to diffusion-limited electrochemical features in narrow ultramicropores.