1. Advances in Organic Anode Materials

Aamod V. Desai, Russell E. Morris, and Anthony Robert Armstrong

ChemSusChem Published: 16 July 2020

Electrochemical energy storage (EES) devices are gaining ever greater prominence in the quest for global energy security. With increasing applications and widening scope, rechargeable battery technology is gradually finding avenues for more abundant and sustainable systems such as Na‐ion (NIB) and K‐ion batteries (KIB). Development of suitable electrode materials lies at the core of this transition. Organic redox-active molecules are attractive candidates as negative electrode materials due to their low redox potentials and the fact that they can be obtained from biomass. Also, the rich structural diversity allows integration into several solid‐state polymeric materials. Research in this domain is increasingly focused on deploying molecular engineering to address specific electrochemical limitations which hamper competition with rival materials. This mini-review aims to summarize the advances in both the electrochemical properties and the materials development of organic anode materials.

2. Surface engineering strategy using urea to improve the rate performance of Na2Ti3O7 in Na‐ion batteries

Sara I. R. Costa, Yong-Seok Choi, Alistair J Fielding, Andrew J Naylor, John M Griffin, Zdenek Sofer, David O Scanlon, Nuria Tapia Ruiz

Chemistry Europe Published: 27 August 2020

Na2Ti3O7 (NTO) is considered a promising anode material for Na‐ion batteries due to its layered structure with an open framework and low and safe average operating voltage of 0.3 V vs. Na+/Na. However, its poor electronic conductivity needs to be addressed to make this material attractive for practical applications among other anode choices. Here, we report a safe, controllable and affordable method using urea that significantly improves the rate performance of NTO by producing surface defects (e.g. oxygen vacancies and hydroxyl groups) and the secondary phase Na2Ti6O13. A comprehensive study using a combination of diffraction, microscopic, spectroscopic and electrochemical techniques supported by computational studies based on DTF calculations, was carried out to understand the effects of this treatment on the surface, chemistry and electronic and charge storage properties of NTO. This study underscores the benefits of using urea as a strategy for enhancing the charge storage properties of NTO and thus, unfolding the potential of this material in practical energy storage applications.

3. Vacancy enhanced oxygen redox reversibility in P3-type magnesium doped sodium manganese oxide Na0.67Mg0.2Mn0.8O2

EunJeong Kim, Le Anh Ma, David Pickup, Alan V. Chadwick, Reza Younesi, Philip Maughan, John T. S. Irvine, A. Robert Armstrong

ACS Appl. Energy Mater. Published: 29 September, 2020

Lithium-rich layered oxides and sodium layered oxides represent attractive positive electrode materials exhibiting excess capacity delivered by additional oxygen redox activity. However, structural degradation in the bulk and detrimental reactions with the electrolyte on the surface often occur, leading to limited reversibility of oxygen redox processes. Here we present the properties of P3-type Na0.67Mg0.2Mn0.8O2 synthesized under both air and oxygen. Both materials exhibit stable cycling performance in the voltage range 1.8-3.8 V where the Mn3+/Mn4+ redox couple entirely dominates the electrochemical reaction. Oxygen redox activity is triggered for both compounds in the wider voltage window 1.8-4.3 V with typical large voltage hysteresis from non-bonding O 2p states generated by substituted Mg. Interestingly, for the compound prepared under oxygen, an additional reversible oxygen redox activity is shown with exceptionally small voltage hysteresis (20 mV). The presence of vacancies in the transition metal layers is shown to play a critical role not only in forming unpaired O 2p states independent of substituted elements but also in stabilising the P3 structure during charge with reduced structural transformation to the O’3 phase at the end of discharge. This study reveals the important role of vacancies in P3-type sodium layered oxides to increase energy density using both cationic and anionic redox processes.