Research Highlight

Eco-friendly rechargeable batteries

doi:10.1038/nindia.2017.52 Published online 3 May 2017

Researchers have identified a host of organic molecules that could potentially be used for making smart rechargeable batteries1

Inorganic oxide-based materials have often been used in lithium ion batteries. But, these materials are expensive and they are made using processes that are harmful to the environment.

In search of cheap and safe alternative materials, scientists, led by Rajeev Ahuja from the Uppsala University in Sweden and Hindustan University in India, computationally calculated electronic structures and experimentally explored electrochemical properties including the redox potential of 137 organic molecules.

The aim of the study was to find how these organic molecules fit a backbone of a conducting polymer which could be used in rechargeable batteries. The reduction potential of the organic molecules was tuned using various strategies, such as fusion of rings, addition and substitution of different atoms.

Fused benzene rings exhibited greater reduction potential than a single benzene molecule. Adding nitrogen atoms to benzene rings also enhanced reduction potential.

The researchers eventually identified 25 organic molecules that could potentially be used with the conducting polymer.

“These findings will guide future researchers to choose high-charge capacity molecules for developing better conducting polymer-based electrode materials for rechargeable batteries,” says Ahuja. 



1. Araujo, R. B. et al. Designing strategies to tune reduction potential of organic molecules for sustainable high capacity battery application. J. Mater. Chem. A. 5, 4430 (2017)