Nat Commun. 2022 Dec 23;13(1):7922. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-35618-2.
Aqueous zinc-ion batteries, in terms of integration with high safety, environmental benignity, and low cost, have attracted much attention for powering electronic devices and storage systems. However, the interface instability issues at the Zn anode caused by detrimental side reactions such as dendrite growth, hydrogen evolution, and metal corrosion at the solid (anode)/liquid (electrolyte) interface impede their practical applications in the fields requiring long-term performance persistence. Despite the rapid progress in suppressing the side reactions at the materials interface, the mechanism of ion storage and dendrite formation in practical aqueous zinc-ion batteries with dual-cation aqueous electrolytes is still unclear. Herein, we design an interface material consisting of forest-like three-dimensional zinc-copper alloy with engineered surfaces to explore the Zn plating/stripping mode in dual-cation electrolytes. The three-dimensional nanostructured surface of zinc-copper alloy is demonstrated to be in favor of effectively regulating the reaction kinetics of Zn plating/stripping processes. The developed interface materials suppress the dendrite growth on the anode surface towards high-performance persistent aqueous zinc-ion batteries in the aqueous electrolytes containing single and dual cations. This work remarkably enhances the fundamental understanding of dual-cation intercalation chemistry in aqueous electrochemical systems and provides a guide for exploring high-performance aqueous zinc-ion batteries and beyond.