Research Highlights

Lithium-oxygen battery nearing feasibility

Published online 8 September 2013

Hazem Zohny

The lithium-oxygen (Li-O2) battery, which boasts the potential to store more energy than any other energy storage system, is a step closer to becoming feasible, thanks to research published in Nature Communications1.

A major obstacle facing Li-O2 batteries is the battery's high overpotential during charge, which results in the battery receiving a higher voltage than normal during charging. This large overpotential, even at very low current densities, causes poor voltage efficiency and cycle life.

To solve this problem, an international research team, which includes researchers from King Abdulaziz University, designed a new cathode architecture for the Li-O2 cells. Their use of nanoscale components promotes the growth of a nanocrystalline form of lithium peroxide, which has been shown to achieve a dramatic reduction in charge overpotential.

The researchers used atomic layer deposition (ALD), a technique to lay thin films of materials onto substrates of varying compositions, to attach very small palladium nanoparticles to the cathode's surface. These acted as effective electrocatalysts and led to better electronic transport.

They hope this new cathode architecture can open new avenues for Li-O2 battery development, allowing for greater optimization of the key components behind these promising batteries.


  1. Lu, J. et al. A nanostructured cathode architecture for low charge overpotential in lithium-oxygen batteries. Nat. Commun. (2013) doi:10.1038/ncomms3383