Role of Defects, Pores, and Interfaces in Deciphering the Alkali Metal Storage Mechanism in Hard Carbon

ACS Appl Energy Mater. 2023 Jan 9;6(1):127-140. doi: 10.1021/acsaem.2c02591. Epub 2022 Dec 29.

ABSTRACT

There are several questions and controversies regarding the Na storage mechanism in hard carbon. This springs from the difficulty of probing the vast diversity of possible configurational environments for Na storage, including surface and defect sites, edges, pores, and intercalation morphologies. In the effort to explain the observed voltage profile, typically existing of a voltage slope section and a low-voltage plateau, several experimental and computational studies have provided a variety of contradicting results. This work employs density functional theory to thoroughly examine Na storage in hard carbon in combination with electrochemical experiments. Our calculation scheme disentangles the possible interactions by evaluating the enthalpies of formation, shedding light on the storage mechanisms. Parallel evaluation of the Li and K storage, and comparison with experiments, put forward a unified reaction mechanism for the three alkali metals. The results underline the importance of exposed metal surfaces and metal-carbon interfaces for the stability of the pore-filling mechanism responsible for the low-voltage plateau, in excellent agreement with the experimental voltage profiles. This generalized understanding provides insights into hard carbons as negative electrodes and their optimized properties.

PMID:36644115 | PMC:PMC9832432 | DOI:10.1021/acsaem.2c02591

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