XMUM Publication in Top Journal, Energy & Environmental Science (EES), with an Impact Factor of 30.067


The Office of Research and Innovation congratulates Professor Dr. Zheng Jin-Cheng on his recent publication entitled “Empowering multicomponent cathode materials for sodium ion batteries by exploring three-dimensional compositional heterogeneities.” The paper was published online on 25 June 2018 (vol. 11 and pages 2496-2508) in Energy & Environmental Science, which is a leading international journal for the publication of extraordinarily high quality, agenda-setting research relating to energy conversion and storage, alternative fuel technologies and environmental science. Professor Zheng co-authors the paper with 14 other scientists affiliated with Virginia Tech, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC), Argonne National Laboratory, City University of Hong Kong, and Xiamen University (China/Malaysia). 

This project is led by Prof. Feng Lin at Virginia Tech (https://thelinlabatvt.weebly.com/and Dr. Yijin Liu at SLAC. Graduate student Muhammad Mominur Rahman at Virginia Tech is the first author on the publication. The innovative work has also been highlighted at the website of Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. 


The study focuses on developing a three dimensional heterogeneous distribution of transition metal ions to promote high performance sodium layered cathodes. Three dimensional heterogeneity was manifested to improve the life cycle of sodium ion batteries as compared to the more widely adopted homogeneous distribution. Combined with many advanced techniques, synchrotron X-ray spectroscopy/imaging and density functional theory studies reveal depth-dependent chemical environments due to changes to factors such as charge compensation and strength of orbital hybridization .

The authors state the significance of their study:

“Our study provides insight into the effect of transition metal heterogeneity on the performance of cathode materials as well as illuminating a path towards further stabilizing Mn based layered oxide materials.”

The mesoscale 3D elemental distribution measured by transmission X-ray tomography, and charge density analysis performed by DFT calculations.

Prof. Dr. Zheng and his PhD student Mr Cheng Hao, who has been a visiting student in Xiamen University Malaysia, performed the first principles calculation based on density-functional theory (DFT). The combination of experiment and theory may shed some light on the electronic origin of electrochemical performance of nanoparticles with high heterogeneity.

More details of the publication can be found below and it is available online:

Muhammad Mominur Rahman, Yahong Xu, Hao Cheng, Qianli Shi, Ronghui Kou, Linqin Mu, Qi Liu, Sihao Xia, Xianghui Xiao, Cheng-Jun Sun, Dimosthenis Sokaras, Dennis Nordlund, Jin-Cheng Zheng, Yijin Liu, Feng Lin

Empowering Multicomponent Cathode Materials for Sodium Ion Batteries by Exploring Three-Dimensional Compositional Heterogeneities

Energy & Environmental Science, 11, 2496-2508 (2018).


Professor Zheng Jin-Cheng is honoured as Distinguished Professor of Minjiang Scholar’s Program in Xiamen University China in view of his contribution and commitment to the field of Physics. He is currently serving as the advisor to the Office of Research and Innovation, Xiamen University Malaysia. Professor Zheng, with h-index of 34 (based on Google Scholar), has published more than 140 peer-reviewed articles in SCI journals with total citations of more than 3700. He has supervised more than 20 doctoral and master’s students to date.

Professor Zheng’s research interests and updates are available online:


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