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  1. Earth-abundant manganese-based oxides have emerged as promising alternatives to noble-metal-based catalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) in acidic conditions; however, their inferior activity and stability present critical challenges for the sustainable production of hydrogen via water electrolysis. Moving beyond oxides, heteroanionic materials, which incorporate anions with lower electronegativity than oxygen, have shown potential for improving the OER performance, but a detailed understanding of the underlying mechanisms is lacking. Here, we investigate manganese based oxychlorides (Mn8O10Cl3 and FeMn7O10Cl3) that exhibit excellent activity and stability for acidic OER to elucidate material property dynamics and correlate them with OER behaviors. Our rigorous electrochemical stability testing reveals that the high operating potential mitigates Mn dissolution over prolonged exposure to the OER conditions. Through a combination of ex situ and in situ surface and bulk-sensitive X-ray spectroscopy analyses, we observe a trade-off between increasing Mn valence and maintaining structural integrity, which results in dynamic bond length changes within the [MnCl6] octahedra during the activation and degradation processes of these oxychloride catalysts. This study provides insights into the fundamental relationships between the chemical, electronic, and geometric properties of the catalysts and their electrocatalytic outcomes. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 13, 2025
  2. 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
  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. Nickel K- and L 2,3 -edge X-ray absorption spectra (XAS) are discussed for 16 complexes and complex ions with nickel centers spanning a range of formal oxidation states from II to IV. K-edge XAS alone is shown to be an ambiguous metric of physical oxidation state for these Ni complexes. Meanwhile, L 2,3 -edge XAS reveals that the physical d-counts of the formally Ni IV compounds measured lie well above the d 6 count implied by the oxidation state formalism. The generality of this phenomenon is explored computationally by scrutinizing 8 additional complexes. The extreme case of NiF 6 2− is considered using high-level molecular orbital approaches as well as advanced valence bond methods. The emergent electronic structure picture reveals that even highly electronegative F-donors are incapable of supporting a physical d 6 Ni IV center. The reactivity of Ni IV complexes is then discussed, highlighting the dominant role of the ligands in this chemistry over that of the metal centers. 
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  5. Abstract

    Li‐rich disordered rocksalt (DRS) oxyfluorides have emerged as promising high‐energy cathode materials for lithium‐ion batteries. While a high level of fluorination in DRS materials offers performance advantages, it can only be achieved via mechanochemical synthesis, which poses challenges of reproducibility and scalability. The definition of relationships between fluorination and structural stability is required to devise alternative methods that overcome these challenges. In this study, the thermal evolution of three highly fluorinated phases, Li2TMO2F (TM = Mn, Co, and Ni), is investigated in an inert atmosphere. Diffraction and spectroscopic techniques are utilized to examine their electronic and chemical states up until conditions of decomposition. The analysis reveals that the materials phase‐separate above 400 °C, at most. It is also observed that heat‐treated DRS materials exhibit intricate changes in the local coordination of the metals, including their spin, and ordering compared to the pristine states. The changes upon annealing are accompanied by a modulation of the voltage profile, including reduced hysteresis, when used as electrodes. These results provide an in‐depth understanding of the fundamental crystal chemistry of DRS oxyfluorides in view of their promising role as the next generation of Li‐ion cathodes.

     
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  6. null (Ed.)