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  1. Abstract Single-crystalline nickel-rich cathodes are a rising candidate with great potential for high-energy lithium-ion batteries due to their superior structural and chemical robustness in comparison with polycrystalline counterparts. Within the single-crystalline cathode materials, the lattice strain and defects have significant impacts on the intercalation chemistry and, therefore, play a key role in determining the macroscopic electrochemical performance. Guided by our predictive theoretical model, we have systematically evaluated the effectiveness of regaining lost capacity by modulating the lattice deformation via an energy-efficient thermal treatment at different chemical states. We demonstrate that the lattice structure recoverability is highly dependent on both the cathode composition and the state of charge, providing clues to relieving the fatigued cathode crystal for sustainable lithium-ion batteries. 
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  2. Abstract

    Deep sodium extraction/insertion of sodium cathodes usually causes undesired Jahn–Teller distortion and phase transition, both of which will reduce structural stability and lead to poor long‐cycle reliability. Here we report a zero‐strain P2‐ Na2/3Li1/6Co1/6Mn2/3O2cathode, in which the lithium/cobalt substitution contributes to reinforcing the host structure by reducing the Mn3+/Mn4+redox, mitigating the Jahn–Teller distortion, and minimizing the lattice change. 94.5 % of Na+in the unit structure can be reversibly cycled with a charge cut‐off voltage of 4.5 V (vs. Na+/Na). Impressively, a solid‐solution reaction without phase transitions is realized upon deep sodium (de)intercalation, which poses a minimal volume deviation of 0.53 %. It attains a high discharge capacity of 178 mAh g−1, a high energy density of 534 Wh kg−1, and excellent capacity retention of 95.8 % at 1 C after 250 cycles.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Deep sodium extraction/insertion of sodium cathodes usually causes undesired Jahn–Teller distortion and phase transition, both of which will reduce structural stability and lead to poor long‐cycle reliability. Here we report a zero‐strain P2‐ Na2/3Li1/6Co1/6Mn2/3O2cathode, in which the lithium/cobalt substitution contributes to reinforcing the host structure by reducing the Mn3+/Mn4+redox, mitigating the Jahn–Teller distortion, and minimizing the lattice change. 94.5 % of Na+in the unit structure can be reversibly cycled with a charge cut‐off voltage of 4.5 V (vs. Na+/Na). Impressively, a solid‐solution reaction without phase transitions is realized upon deep sodium (de)intercalation, which poses a minimal volume deviation of 0.53 %. It attains a high discharge capacity of 178 mAh g−1, a high energy density of 534 Wh kg−1, and excellent capacity retention of 95.8 % at 1 C after 250 cycles.

     
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  4. Low-dimensional materials with chain-like (one-dimensional) or layered (two-dimensional) structures are of significant interest due to their anisotropic electrical, optical, and thermal properties. One material with a chain-like structure, BaTiS3 (BTS), was recently shown to possess giant in-plane optical anisotropy and glass-like thermal conductivity. To understand the origin of these effects, it is necessary to fully characterize the optical, thermal, and electronic anisotropy of BTS. To this end, BTS crystals with different orientations (a- and c-axis orientations) were grown by chemical vapor transport. X-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to characterize the local structure and electronic anisotropy of BTS. Fourier transform infrared reflection/transmission spectra show a large in-plane optical anisotropy in the a-oriented crystals, while the c-axis oriented crystals were nearly isotropic in-plane. BTS platelet crystals are promising uniaxial materials for infrared optics with their optic axis parallel to the c-axis. The thermal conductivity measurements revealed a thermal anisotropy of ∼4.5 between the c- and a-axis. Time-domain Brillouin scattering showed that the longitudinal sound speed along the two axes is nearly the same, suggesting that the thermal anisotropy is a result of different phonon scattering rates. 
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  5. Charge density waves (CDWs) have been observed in nearly all families of copper-oxide superconductors. But the behavior of these phases across different families has been perplexing. In La-based cuprates, the CDW wavevector is an increasing function of doping, exhibiting the so-called Yamada behavior, while in Y- and Bi-based materials the behavior is the opposite. Here, we report a combined resonant soft X-ray scattering (RSXS) and neutron scattering study of charge and spin density waves in isotopically enriched La 1.8 − x Eu 0.2 Sr x CuO 4 over a range of doping 0.07 ≤ x ≤ 0.20 . We find that the CDW amplitude is temperature independent and develops well above experimentally accessible temperatures. Further, the CDW wavevector shows a nonmonotonic temperature dependence, exhibiting Yamada behavior at low temperature with a sudden change occurring near the spin ordering temperature. We describe these observations using a Landau–Ginzburg theory for an incommensurate CDW in a metallic system with a finite charge compressibility and spin-CDW coupling. Extrapolating to high temperature, where the CDW amplitude is small and spin order is absent, our analysis predicts a decreasing wavevector with doping, similar to Y and Bi cuprates. Our study suggests that CDW order in all families of cuprates forms by a common mechanism. 
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  8. Abstract

    Surface lattice reconstruction is commonly observed in nickel-rich layered oxide battery cathode materials, causing unsatisfactory high-voltage cycling performance. However, the interplay of the surface chemistry and the bulk microstructure remains largely unexplored due to the intrinsic structural complexity and the lack of integrated diagnostic tools for a thorough investigation at complementary length scales. Herein, by combining nano-resolution X-ray probes in both soft and hard X-ray regimes, we demonstrate correlative surface chemical mapping and bulk microstructure imaging over a single charged LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2(NMC811) secondary particle. We reveal that the sub-particle regions with more micro cracks are associated with more severe surface degradation. A mechanism of mutual modulation between the surface chemistry and the bulk microstructure is formulated based on our experimental observations and finite element modeling. Such a surface-to-bulk reaction coupling effect is fundamentally important for the design of the next generation battery cathode materials.

     
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