Nanostructured electrode materials for electrochemical energy storage and conversion


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Manipulation of matter at the nanoscale is a way forward to move beyond our current choices in electrochemical energy storage and conversion technologies with promise of higher efficiency, environmental benignity, and cost-effectiveness. Electrochemical processes being basically surface phenomena, tailored multifunctional nanoarchitecturing can lead to improvements in terms of electronic and ionic conductivities, diffusion and mass transport, and electron transfer and electrocatalysis. The nanoscale is also a domain in which queer properties surface: those associated with conversion electrodes, ceramic particles enhancing the conductivity of polymer electrolytes, and transition metal oxide powders catalyzing fuel cell reactions, to cite a few. Although this review attempts to present a bird's eye view of the vast literature that has accumulated in this rather infant field, it also lists a few representative studies that establish the beneficial effects of going ‘nano’. Investigations on nanostructuring and use of nanoparticles and nanoarchitectures related to lithium-ion batteries (active materials and electrolytes), supercapacitors (electrical double-layer capacitors, supercapacitors based on pseudo-capacitance, and hybrid supercapacitors), and fuel cells (electrocatalysts, membranes and hydrogen storage materials) are highlighted.