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  1. Earth-abundant, cost-effective electrode materials are essential for sustainable rechargeable batteries and global decarbonization. Manganese dioxide (MnO2) and hard carbon both exhibit high structural and chemical tunability, making them excellent electrode candidates for batteries. Herein, we elucidate the impact of electrolytes on the cycling performance of commercial electrolytic manganese dioxide in Li chemistry. We leverage synchrotron X-ray analysis to discern the chemical state and local structural characteristics of Mn during cycling, as well as to quantify the Mn deposition on the counter electrode. By using an ether-based electrolyte instead of conventional carbonate electrolytes, we circumvent the formation of a surface Mn(II)-layer and Mn dissolution from LixMnO2. Consequently, we achieved an impressive ∼100% capacity retention for MnO2after 300 cycles at C/3. To create a lithium metal-lean full cell, we introduce hard carbon as the anode which is compatible with ether-based electrolytes. Commercial hard carbon delivers a specific capacity of ∼230 mAh g−1at 0.1 A g−1without plateau, indicating a surface-adsorption mechanism. The resulting manganese dioxide||hard carbon full cell exhibits stable cycling and high Coulombic efficiency. Our research provides a promising solution to develop cost-effective, scalable, and safe energy storage solutions using widely available manganese oxide and hard carbon materials.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 27, 2025
  2. Aqueous Li-ion batteries (ALIBs) are an important class of battery chemistries owing to the intrinsic non-flammability of aqueous electrolytes. However, water is detrimental to most cathode materials and could result in rapid cell failure. Identifying the degradation mechanisms and evaluating the pros and cons of different cathode materials are crucial to guide the materials selection and maximize their electrochemical performance in ALIBs. In this study, we investigate the stability of LiFePO4(LFP), LiMn2O4(LMO) and LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2(NMC) cathodes, without protective coating, in three different aqueous electrolytes, i.e., salt-in-water, water-in-salt, and molecular crowding electrolytes. The latter two are the widely reported “water-deficient electrolytes.” LFP cycled in the molecular crowding electrolyte exhibits the best cycle life in both symmetric and full cells owing to the stable crystal structure. Mn dissolution and surface reduction accelerate the capacity decay of LMO in water-rich electrolyte. On the other hand, the bulk structural collapse leads to the degradation of NMC cathodes. LMO demonstrates better full-cell performance than NMC in water-deficient aqueous electrolytes. LFP is shown to be more promising than LMO and NMC for long-cycle-life ALIB full cells, especially in the molecular crowding electrolyte. However, none of the aqueous electrolytes studied here provide enough battery performance that can compete with conventional non-aqueous electrolytes. This work reveals the degradation mechanisms of olivine, spinel, and layered cathodes in different aqueous electrolytes and yields insights into improving electrode materials and electrolytes for ALIBs.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Lithium‐ion batteries (LIBs) are increasingly encouraged to enhance their environmental friendliness and safety while maintaining optimal energy density and cost‐effectiveness. Although various electrolytes using greener and safer glyme solvents have been reported, the low charge voltage (usually lower than 4.0 V vs Li/Li+) restricts the energy density of LIBs. Herein, tetraglyme, a less‐toxic, non‐volatile, and non‐flammable ether solvent, is exploited to build safer and greener LIBs. It is demonstrated that ether electrolytes, at a standard salt concentration (1 m), can be reversibly cycled to 4.5 V vs Li/Li+. Anchored with Boron‐rich cathode‐electrolyte interphase (CEI) and mitigated current collector corrosion, the LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2(NMC811) cathode delivers competitive cyclability versus commercial carbonate electrolytes when charged to 4.5 V. Synchrotron spectroscopic and imaging analyses show that the tetraglyme electrolyte can sufficiently suppress the overcharge behavior associated with the high‐voltage electrolyte decomposition, which is advantageous over previously reported glyme electrolytes. The new electrolyte also enables minimal transition metal dissolution and deposition. NMC811||hard carbon full cell delivers excellent cycling stability at C/3 with a high average Coulombic efficiency of 99.77%. This work reports an oxidation‐resilient tetraglyme electrolyte with record‐high 4.5 V stability and enlightens further applications of glyme solvents for sustainable LIBs by designing Boron‐rich interphases.

     
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  4. The diffusion layer created by transition metal (TM) dissolution is ubiquitous at the electrochemical solid-liquid interface and plays a key role in determining electrochemical performance. Tracking the spatiotemporal dynamics of the diffusion layer has remained an unresolved challenge. With spatially resolved synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy and micro-X-ray absorption spectroscopy, we demonstrate the in situ visualization and chemical identification of the dynamic diffusion layer near the electrode surface under electrochemical operating conditions. Our method allows for direct mapping of the reactive electrochemical interface and provides insights into engineering the diffusion layer for improving electrochemical performance.

     
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