Exploration of Non-Aqueous Metal-O2 Batteries via In Operando X-ray Diffraction

Sammanfattning: Non-aqueous metal-air (Li-O2 and Na-O2) batteries have been emerging as one of the most promising high-energy storage systems to meet the requirements for demanding applications due to their high theoretical specific energy. In the present thesis work, advanced characterization techniques are demonstrated for the exploration of metal-O2 batteries. Prominently, the electrochemical reactions occurring within the Li-O2 and Na-O2 batteries upon cycling are studied by in operando powder X-ray diffraction (XRD).In the first part, a new in operando cell with a combined form of coin cell and pouch cell is designed. In operando synchrotron radiation powder X-ray diffraction (SR-PXD) is applied to investigate the evolution of Li2O2 inside the Li-O2 cells with carbon and Ru-TiC cathodes. By quantitatively tracking the Li2O2 evolution, a two-step process during growth and oxidation is observed.This newly developed analysis technique is further applied to the Na-O2 battery system. The formation of NaO2 and the influence of the electrolyte salt are followed quantitatively by in operando SR-PXD. The results indicate that the discharge capacity of Na-O2 cells containing a weak solvating ether solvent depends heavily on the choice of the conducting salt anion, which also has impact on the growth of NaO2 particles.In addition, the stability of the discharge product in Na-O2 cells is studied. Using both ex situ and in operando XRD, the influence of sodium anode, solvent, salt and oxygen on the stability of NaO2 are quantitatively identified. These findings bring new insights into the understanding of conflicting observations of different discharge products in previous studies.In the last part, a binder-free graphene based cathode concept is developed for Li-O2 cells. The formation of discharge products and their decomposition upon charge, as well as different morphologies of the discharge products on the electrode, are demonstrated. Moreover, considering the instability of carbon based cathode materials, a new type of titanium carbide on carbon cloth cathode is designed and fabricated. With a surface modification by loading Ru nanoparticles, the titanium carbide shows enhanced oxygen reduction/evolution activity and stability. Compared with the carbon based cathode materials, titanium carbide demonstrated a higher discharge and charge efficiency.