Peptide Gel Electrolytes for Stabilized Zn Metal Anodes

Yizhou Wang, Xinzhi Liu, Rui Ge, Manola Moretti, Jian Yin, Zhiming Zhao, Alexander U. Valle-Pérez, Hao Liu, Zhengnan Tian, Tianchao Guo, Yunpei Zhu, Charlotte A.E. Hauser*, Husam N. Alshareef*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The rechargeable aqueous Zn ion battery (AZIB) is considered a promising candidate for future energy storage applications due to its intrinsic safety features and low cost. However, Zn dendrites and side reactions (e.g., corrosion, hydrogen evolution reaction, and inactive side product (Zn hydroxide sulfate) formation) at the Zn metal anode have been serious obstacles to realizing a satisfactory AZIB performance. The application of gel electrolytes is a common strategy for suppressing these problems, but the normally used highly cross-linked polymer matrix (e.g., polyacrylamide (PAM)) brings additional difficulties for battery assembly and recycling. Herein, we have developed a gel electrolyte for Zn metal anode stabilization, where a peptide matrix, a highly biocompatible material, is used for gel construction. Various experiments and simulations elucidate the sulfate anion-assisted self-assembly gel formation and its effect in stabilizing Zn metal anodes. Unlike polymer gel electrolytes, the peptide gel electrolyte can reversibly transform between gel and liquid states, thus facilitating the gel-involved battery assembly and recycling. Furthermore, the peptide gel electrolyte provides fast Zn ion diffusion (comparable to conventional liquid electrolyte) while suppressing side reactions and dendrite growth, thus achieving highly stable Zn metal anodes as validated in various cell configurations. We believe that our concept of gel electrolyte design will inspire more future directions for Zn metal anode protection based on gel electrolyte design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-177
Number of pages14
JournalACS Nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Chemical Society.


  • aqueous Zn ion batteries
  • gel electrolytes
  • hydrogels
  • peptides
  • Zn metal anodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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