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Title: Anti‐Oxygen Leaking LiCoO2
LiCoO2 is a prime example of widely used cathodes that suffer from the structural/thermal instability issues that lead to the release of their lattice oxygen under nonequilibrium conditions and safety concerns in Li‐ion batteries. Here, it is shown that an atomically thin layer of reduced graphene oxide can suppress oxygen release from LixCoO2 particles and improve their structural stability. Electrochemical cycling, differential electrochemical mass spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, and in situ heating transmission electron microscopy are performed to characterize the effectiveness of the graphene‐coating on the abusive tolerance of LixCoO2. Electrochemical cycling mass spectroscopy results suggest that oxygen release is hindered at high cutoff voltage cycling when the cathode is coated with reduced graphene oxide. Thermal analysis, in situ heating transmission electron microscopy, and electron energy loss spectroscopy results show that the reduction of Co species from the graphene‐coated samples is delayed when compared with bare cathodes. Finally, density functional theory and ab initio molecular dynamics calculations show that the rGO layers could suppress O2 formation more effectively due to the strong Co cathode bond formation at the interface of rGO/LCO where low coordination oxygens exist. This investigation uncovers a reliable approach for hindering the oxygen release reaction and improving more » the thermal stability of battery cathodes. « less
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Advanced functional materials
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    One of the most challenging aspects of developing high-energy lithium-based batteries is the structural and (electro)chemical stability of Ni-rich active cathode materials at thermally-abused and prolonged cell cycling conditions. Here, we report in situ physicochemical characterizations to improve the fundamental understanding of the degradation mechanism of charged polycrystalline Ni-rich cathodes at elevated temperatures (e.g., ≥ 40 °C). Using multiple microscopy, scattering, thermal, and electrochemical probes, we decouple the major contributors for the thermal instability from intertwined factors. Our research work demonstrates that the grain microstructures play an essential role in the thermal stability of polycrystalline lithium-based positive battery electrodes. We also show that the oxygen release, a crucial process during battery thermal runaway, can be regulated by engineering grain arrangements. Furthermore, the grain arrangements can also modulate the macroscopic crystallographic transformation pattern and oxygen diffusion length in layered oxide cathode materials.

  2. Microbial electrosynthesis (MES) is an emerging technology that can convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into value-added organic carbon compounds using electrons supplied from a cathode. However, MES is affected by low product formation due to limited extracellular electron uptake by microbes. Herein, a novel cathode was developed from chemically synthesized magnetite nanoparticles and reduced graphene oxide nanocomposite (rGO-MNPs). This nanocomposite was electrochemically deposited on carbon felt (CF/rGO-MNPs), and the modified material was used as a cathode for MES production. The bioplastic, polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) produced by Rhodopseudomonas palustris TIE-1 (TIE-1), was measured from reactors with modified and unmodified cathodes. Results demonstrate that the magnetite nanoparticle anchored graphene cathode (CF/rGO-MNPs) exhibited higher PHB production (91.31±0.9 mg l−1). This is ∼4.2 times higher than unmodified carbon felt (CF), and 20 times higher than previously reported using graphite. This modified cathode enhanced electron uptake to −11.7±0.1 μA cm−2, ∼5 times higher than CF cathode (−2.3±0.08 μA cm−2). The faradaic efficiency of the modified cathode was ∼2 times higher than the unmodified cathode. Electrochemical analysis and scanning electron microscopy suggest that rGO-MNPs facilitated electron uptake and improved PHB production by TIE-1. Overall, the nanocomposite (rGO-MNPs) cathode modification enhances MES efficiency.
  3. All-solid-state batteries (ASSBs) have garnered increasing attention due to the enhanced safety, featuring nonflammable solid electrolytes as well as the potential to achieve high energy density. 1 The advancement of the ASSBs is expected to provide, arguably, the most straightforward path towards practical, high-energy, and rechargeable batteries based on metallic anodes. 1 However, the sluggish ion transmission at the cathode-electrolyte (solid/solid) interface would result in the high resistant at the contact and limit the practical implementation of these all solid-state materials in real world batteries. 2 Several methods were suggested to enhance the kinetic condition of the ion migration between the cathode and the solid electrolyte (SE). 3 A composite strategy that mixes active materials and SEs for the cathode is a general way to decrease the ion transmission barrier at the cathode-electrolyte interface. 3 The active material concentration in the cathode is reduced as much as the SE portion increases by which the energy density of the ASSB is restricted. In addition, the mixing approach generally accompanies lattice mismatches between the cathode active materials and the SE, thus providing only limited improvements, which is imputed by random contacts between the cathode active materials and the SE during the mixingmore »process. Implementing high-pressure for the electrode and electrolyte of ASSB in the assembling process has been verified is a but effective way to boost the ion transmission ability between the cathode active materials and the SE by decreasing the grain boundary impedance. Whereas the short-circuit of the battery would be induced by the mechanical deformation of the electrolyte under high pressure. 4 Herein, we demonstrate a novel way to address the ion transmission problem at the cathode-electrolyte interface in ASSBs. Starting from the cathode configuration, the finite element method (FEM) was employed to evaluate the current concentration and the distribution of the space charge layer at the cathode-electrolyte interface. Hierarchical three-dimensional (HTD) structures are found to have a higher Li + transfer number (t Li+ ), fewer free anions, and the weaker space-charge layer at the cathode-electrolyte interface in the resulting FEM simulation. To take advantage of the HTD structure, stereolithography is adopted as a manufacturing technique and single-crystalline Ni-rich (SCN) materials are selected as the active materials. Next, the manufactured HTD cathode is sintered at 600 °C in an N 2 atmosphere for the carbonization of the resin, which induces sufficient electronic conductivity for the cathode. Then, the gel-like Li 1.4 Al 0.4 Ti 1.6 (PO 4 ) 3 (LATP) precursor is synthesized and filled into the voids of the HTD structure cathode sufficiently. And the filled HTD structure cathodes are sintered at 900 °C to achieve the crystallization of the LATP gel. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) is used to unveil the morphology of the cathode-electrolyte interface between the sintered HTD cathode and the in-situ generated electrolyte (LATP). A transient phase has been found generated at the interface and matched with both lattices of the SCN and the SE, accelerating the transmission of the Li-ions, which is further verified by density functional theory calculations. In addition, Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy demonstrates the preserved interface between HTD cathode and SEs. Atomic force microscopy is employed to measure the potential image of the cross-sectional interface by the peak force tapping mode. The average potential of modified samples is lower than the sample that mix SCN and SEs simply in the 2D planar structure, which confirms a weakened space charge layer by the enhanced contact capability as well as the ion transmission ability. To see if the demonstrated method is universally applicable, LiNi 0.8 Co 0.1 Mn 0.1 O 2 (NCM811) is selected as the cathode active material and manufactured in the same way as the SCN. The HTD cathode based on NCM811 exhibits higher electrochemical performance compared with the reference sample based on the 2D planar mixing-type cathode. We believe such a demonstrated universal strategy provides a new guideline to engineer the cathode/electrolyte interface by revolutionizing electrode structures that can be applicable to all-solid-state batteries. Figure 1. Schematic of comparing of traditional 2D planar cathode and HTD cathode in ASSB Tikekar, M. D. , et al. , Nature Energy (2016) 1 (9), 16114 Banerjee, A. , et al. , Chem Rev (2020) 120 (14), 6878 Chen, R. , et al. , Chem Rev (2020) 120 (14), 6820 Cheng, X. , et al. , Advanced Energy Materials (2018) 8 (7) Figure 1« less
  4. Yiying Wu (Ed.)
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  5. Hybrid capacitive deionization (HCDI), which combines a capacitive carbon electrode and a redox active electrode in a single device, has emerged as a promising method for water desalination, enabling higher ion removal capacity than devices containing two carbon electrodes. However, to date, the desalination performance of few redox active materials has been reported. For the first time, we present the electrochemical behavior of manganese oxide nanowires with four different tunnel crystal structures as faradaic electrodes in HCDI cells. Two of these phases are square tunnel structured manganese oxides, α-MnO2 and todorokite-MnO2. The other two phases have novel structures that cross-sectional scanning transmission electron microscopy analysis revealed to have ordered and disordered combinations of structural tunnels with different dimensions. The ion removal performance of the nanowires was evaluated not only in NaCl solution, which is traditionally used in laboratory experiments, but also in KCl and MgCl2 solutions, providing better understanding of the behavior of these materials for desalination of brackish water that contains multiple cation species. High ion removal capacities (as large as 27.8 mg g−1, 44.4 mg g−1, and 43.1 mg g−1 in NaCl, KCl, and MgCl2 solutions, respectively) and high ion removal rates (as large as 0.112 mg g−1more »s−1, 0.165 mg g−1 s−1, and 0.164 mg g−1 s−1 in NaCl, KCl, and MgCl2 solutions, respectively) were achieved. By comparing ion removal capacity to structural tunnel size, it was found that smaller tunnels do not favor the removal of cations with larger hydrated radii, and more efficient removal of larger hydrated cations can be achieved by utilizing manganese oxides with larger structural tunnels. Extended HCDI cycling and ex situ X-ray diffraction analysis revealed the excellent stability of the manganese oxide electrodes in repeated ion removal/ion release cycles, and compositional analysis of the electrodes indicated that ion removal is achieved through both surface redox reactions and intercalation of ions into the structural tunnels. This work contributes to the understanding of the behavior of faradaic materials in electrochemical water desalination and elucidates the relationship between the electrode material crystal structure and the ion removal capacity/ion removal rate in various salt solutions.« less