Advanced Nanomaterials for Clean Energy GroupWestern Engineering

Atomic Layer Deposition

Atomic layer deposition (ALD) has emerged as an important technique for thin film depositions, owing to its unique advantages including highly uniform and conformal coverage on high-aspect-ratio substrates and exquisite control of thickness at atomic level.


Our group has been working on this area since 2010 and has accumulated a lot of experience. Various oxide systems have been developed as active battery components. For the anode, amorphous and crystallized TiO2, SnO2, and Fe2O3 can be grown in a well-controlled manner and have proven be presented excellent battery performances. In addition, LiCoO2 and LiFePO4 have been successfully prepared as cathode materials. Other lithium-containing materials obtained can be applied as SSEs including LiTaO3, Li3PO4, Li4SiO4, and LiNbO3. Besides, there are other coating materials available like ZrO2, AlPO4, FePO4, etc. Meanwhile, surface modification by ALD also can be applied as protecting layer for Li and Na anode. Our group also demonstrates different ALD coatings for Li and Na anode to achieve the reduced dendrite growth and longer life time.

Molecular layer deposition (MLD), as an analogy of ALD, can be employed to produce pure polymeric or inorganic–organic hybrid thin films, which holds many advantages such as lower growth temperatures, tunable thermal stability, and improved mechanical properties. Our group also has rich experience on the synthesis of different MLD thin films, including alucone, zircone, polyuria and conductive polymers. Furthermore, we apply different MLD thin film as coating layers in different battery systems, including Li-S batteries, Li/Na metal protection to significantly improve the performances of the batteries.

Typical References:

Review paper:

  1. N. Dasgupta, L. Li and X. Sun, Atomic Layer Deposition for Energy and Environmental Applications. Adv. Mater. Inter., 3, 21 (2016) 1600914. (Special issue in Materials Interfaces focused on Atomic Layer Deposition)
  2. X. Meng, X.-Q. Yang, X. Sun, Emerging Applications of Atomic Layer Dposition for Lithium-ion Battery Studies.Adv. Mater.24 (2012) 3589-3615
  3. J. Liu and X. Sun, Elegant Design of Electrode and Electrode/Electrolyte Interface in Lithium-Ion Batteries by Atomic Layer DepositionNanotechnology26 (2015) 024001
  4. N. Cheng, Y. Shao, J. Liu and X. Sun, Electrocatalysts by Atomic Layer Deposition for Fuel Cell ApplicationsNano Energy29 (2016) 220-242 


Batteries applications:

  1. J. Liu, M. Banis, Q. Sun, A. Lushington, R. Li, T.-K Sham, X. Sun, Rational Design of Atomic Layer Deposited LiFePO4 as High Performance Cathode for Lithium Ion Batteries.Adv. Mater.,26 (2014) 6472-6477
  2. X. Li, J. Liu, M. Banis, A. Lushington, R. Li, M. Cai, X. Sun, Atomic Layer Deposition of Solid-State Electrolyte Coated Cathode Materials with Superior High-Voltage Cycling Behavior for Lithium Ion Battery Application.Energy Environ. Sci.7 (2) (2014) 768-778
  3. X. Li, A. Lushington, Q. Sun, W. Xiao, J. Liu, B. Wang, Y. He, K. Nie, Y. Hu, Q. Xiao, R. Li, J. Guo, T.-K. Sham and X. Sun, Safe and Durable High-Temperature Lithium-sulfur Batteries via Molecular Layer Deposited Coating.Nano Lett.,16 (2016) 3545-3549
  4. Y. Zhao,  L. Goncharova, A. Lushington, Q. Sun, H. Yadegari, B. Wang, W. Xiao, R. Li, X. Sun., Superior Stable and Long Life Sodium Metal Anodes Achieved by Atomic Layer DepositionAdv. Mater.,2017, 1606663
  5. Biwei Xiao, Biqiong Wang, Jian Liu, Karthikeyan Kaliyappan, Qian Sun, Yulong Liu, Gayatri Dadheech, Michael P. Balogh, Li Yang, Tsun-Kong Sham, Ruying Li, Mei Cai, Highly stable Li1.2Mn0.54Co0.13Ni0.13O2 enabled by novel atomic layer deposited AlPO4 coating, Nano Energy 34 (2017) 120–130
  6. X. Li, X. Meng, J. Liu, D. Geng, Y. Zhang, M. Banis, Y. Li, R. Li, X. Sun, M. Cai, M. Verbrugge, Tin Oxide with Controlled Morphology and Crystallinity by Atomic Layer Deposition onto Graphene Nanosheets for Enhanced Lithium Storage.Adv. Funct. Mater.22 (2012) 1647-1654.
  7. B. Wang, J. Liu, Q. Sun, R. Li, T.-K Sham and X. Sun, Atomic Layer Deposition of Lithium Phosphats as Solid-State Electrolyte for All-Solid-State MicrobatteiriesNanotechnology 25 (2014) 504007
  8. J. Liu, M. Banis, X. Li, A. Lushington, M. Cai, R. Li, T.-K. Sham, X. Sun, Atomic Layer Deposition of Lithium Tantalate Solid-State Electrolytes.J. Phys. Chem. C 117(2013) 20260-20267
  9. B. Xiao, J. Liu, Q. Sun, B. Wang, M. Banis, D. Zhao, Z. Wang, R. Li, X. Cui, T.-K. Sham and X. Sun, Unravelling the role of electrochemically active FePO4 coating by atomic layer deposition for increased high-voltage stability of LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 cathode materialAdv. Sci.(2015) 1500022
  10. X. Li, A. Lushington, J. Liu, R. Li and X. Sun,  Superior Stable Sulfur Cathodes of Li-S Batteries Enabled by Molecular Layer DepositionChem. Commun.(50) (2014) 9757-9760


Fuel cell applications:

  1. N. Cheng, S. Stambula, D. Wang, M. Banis, J. Liu, A. Riese, B. Xiao, R. Li, T.-K. Sham, L. Liu, G. Botton and X. Sun, Platinum Single-atom and Cluster Catalysis of the Hydrogen Evolution ReactionNat. Commun., 7 (2016) 13638.
  2. N. Cheng, M. Banis, J. Liu, A. Riese, X. Li, R. Li S. Ye, S. Knights and X. Sun, Extremely stable platinum nanoparticles encapsulated in zirconia nanocages by area-selective atomic layer deposition for oxygen reduction reactionAdv. Mater.,27 2 (2015) 277
  3. N. Cheng, M. Banis, J. Liu, A. Riese, S. Mu, R. Li, T.-K. Sham and X. Sun, Atomic scale enhancement of metal-support interactions between Pt and ZrC for highly stable electrocatalystsEnergy Environ. Sci. 8(2015) 1450
  4. S. Sun , G. Zhang, N. Gauquelin, N. Chen, J. Zhou, S. Yang, W. Chen, X. Meng, D. Geng, M. Banis, R. Li, S. Ye, S. Knights, G. Botton, T.-K. Sham, X. Sun, Single-atom Catalysis Using Pt/Graphene Achieved through Atomic Layer Deposition.Scientific Reports 3 (2013) 1775.