Organic Anodes and Sulfur/Selenium Cathodes for Advanced Li and Na Batteries

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To address energy crisis and environmental pollution induced by fossil fuels, there is an urgent demand to develop sustainable, renewable, environmental benign, low cost and high capacity energy storage devices to power electric vehicles and enhance clean energy approaches such as solar energy, wind energy and hydroenergy. However, the commercial Li-ion batteries cannot satisfy the critical requirements for next generation rechargeable batteries. The commercial electrode materials (graphite anode and LiCoO2 cathode) are unsustainable, unrenewable and environmental harmful.

Organic materials derived from biomasses are promising candidates for next

generation rechargeable battery anodes due to their sustainability, renewability, environmental benignity and low cost. Driven by the high potential of organic materials for next generation batteries, I initiated a new research direction on exploring advanced organic compounds for Li-ion and Na-ion battery anodes. In my work, I employed croconic acid disodium salt and 2,5-Dihydroxy-1,4-benzoquinone disodium salt as models to investigate the effects of size and carbon coating on electrochemical performance for Li-ion and Na-ion batteries. The results demonstrate that the minimization of organic particle size into nano-scale and wrapping organic materials with graphene oxide can remarkably enhance the rate capability and cycling stability of organic anodes in both Li-ion and Na-ion batteries.

To match with organic anodes, high capacity sulfur and selenium cathodes were also investigated. However, sulfur and selenium cathodes suffer from low electrical conductivity and shuttle reaction, which result in capacity fading and poor lifetime. To circumvent the drawbacks of sulfur and selenium, carbon matrixes such as mesoporous carbon, carbonized polyacrylonitrile and carbonized perylene-3, 4, 9, 10-tetracarboxylic dianhydride are employed to encapsulate sulfur, selenium and selenium sulfide. The resulting composites exhibit exceptional electrochemical performance owing to the high conductivity of carbon and effective restriction of polysulfides and polyselenides in carbon matrix, which avoids shuttle reaction.