This work describes the investigation of novel cathode and anode materials. Specifically, several mixed polyanion compounds were evaluated as cathodes for Li and Na-ion batteries. Clathrate compounds composed of silicon or germanium arranged in cage-like structures were studied as anodes for Li-ion batteries.
Nanostructured Cu4(OH)6SO4 (brochantite) platelets were synthesized using polymer-assisted titration and microwave-assisted hydrothermal methods. These nanostructures exhibited a capacity of 474 mAh/g corresponding to the full utilization of the copper redox in an conversion reaction. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) studies were preformed to understand the mechanism and structural changes.
A microwave hydrothermal synthesis was developed to prepare a series compounds based on jarosite, AM3(SO4)2(OH)6 (A = K, Na; M = Fe, V). Both the morphology and electrochemical properties showed a compositional dependence. At potentials >1.5 V vs. Li/Li+, an insertion-type reaction was observed in Na,Fe-jarosite but not in K,Fe-jarosite. Reversible insertion-type reactions were observed in both vanadium jarosites between 1 – 4 V with capacities around 40 - 60 mAh/g. Below 1 V vs. Li/Li+, all four jarosite compounds underwent conversion reactions with capacities ~500 mAh/g for the Fe-jarosites.
The electrochemical properties of hydrogen titanium phosphate sulfate, H0.4Ti2(PO4)2.4(SO4)0.6 (HTPS), a new mixed polyanion material with NASICON structure was reported. A capacity of 148 mAh/g corresponding to2 Li+ insertion per formula unit was observed. XRD and XPS were used to characterize the HTPS before and after cycling and to identify the lithium sites. Evaluation of the HTPS in Na-ion cell was also performed, and a discharge capacity of 93 mAh/g was observed.
A systematic investigation of the role of the processing steps, such as ball-milling and acid/base etching, on the electrochemical properties of a silicon clathrate compound with nominal composition of Ba8Al16Si30 was performed. According to the transmission electron microscope (TEM), XPS, and electrochemical analysis, very few Li atoms can be electrochemically inserted, but the introduction of disorder through ball-milling resulted in higher capacity, while the oxidation layer made by the acid/base treatment prevented the reation. The electrochemical property of germanium clathrate was also investigated, unlike the silicon clathrate, the germanium one underwent a conversion reaction.