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Title: Electrochemically formed ultrafine metal oxide nanocatalysts for high performance lithium-oxygen batteries

Lithium-oxygen (Li-O2) battery has an extremely high theoretical specific energy density as compared with conventional energy storage systems. However, practical application of Li-O2 battery system still faces significant challenges, especially its poor cyclability. In this work, we report a new approach to synthesis ultrafine metal oxide nanocatalysts through an electrochemical pre-lithiation process. This process reduces the size of NiCo2O4 (NCO) particles from 20~30 nm to a uniformly distributed domain of ~ 2 nm and largely improved their catalytic activity. Structurally, the pre-lithiated NCO NWs are featured by ultrafine NiO/CoO nanoparticles, which show high stability during prolonged cycles in terms of morphology and the particle size, therefore maintaining an excellent catalytic effect to oxygen reduction and evolution reactions. Li-O2 battery using this catalyst has demonstrated an initial capacity of 29,280 mAh g-1 and has retained a stable capacity of over 1,000 mAh g-1 after 100 cycles based on the weight of NCO active material. Direct in-situ TEM observation conclusively reveals the lithiation/delithiation process of as-prepared NCO NWs, clarifying the NCO/Li electrochemical reaction mechanism that can be extended to other transition-metal oxides and providing the in depth understandings on the catalysts and battery chemistries of other ternary transition-metal oxides.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
48688; 48379; 49128; VT1201000
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nano Letters, 16(8):4932-4939
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
lithium-oxygen battery; ultra-fine catalyst; nanoparticle; NiCo2O4; pre-lithiation; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory