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Title: Understanding the nanoscale redox-behavior of iron-anodes for rechargeable iron-air batteries

Iron-air cells provide a promising and resource-efficient alternative battery concept with superior area specific power density characteristics compared to state-of-the-art Li-air batteries and potentially superior energy density characteristics compared to present Li-ion batteries. Understanding charge-transfer reactions at the anode-electrolyte interface is the key to develop high-performance cells. By employing in-situ electrochemical atomic force microscopy (in-situ EC-AFM), in-depth insight into the electrochemically induced surface reaction processes on iron in concentrated alkaline electrolyte is obtained. The results highlight the formation and growth of the redox-layer on iron over the course of several oxidation/reduction cycles. By this means, a direct correlation between topography changes and the corresponding electrochemical reactions at the nanoscale could unambiguously be established. Here in this paper, the twofold character of the nanoparticulate redox-layer in terms of its passivating character and its contribution to the electrochemical reactions is elucidated. Furthermore, the evolution of single nanoparticles on the iron electrode surface is evaluated in unprecedented and artifact-free detail. Based on the dedicated topography analysis, a detailed structural model for the evolution of the redox-layer which is likewise elementary for corrosion science and battery research is derived.
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  1. Forschungszentrum Julich (Germany). Inst. for Energy and Climate Research-Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK-9); RWTH Aachen Univ., Aachen (Germany). Inst. of Physical Chemistry
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
  3. Forschungszentrum Julich (Germany). Inst. for Energy and Climate Research-Fundamental Electrochemistry (IEK-9)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nano Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 41; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 2211-2855
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
25 ENERGY STORAGE; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Iron electrode; Iron-air battery; Nanoparticles; Passivation; Corrosion; In-situ EC-AFM
OSTI Identifier: