Researchers at Wuhan University (China) have synthesized a Sb/C (antimony/carbon) nanocomposite for use as an anode material in a room-temperature sodium-ion (Na-ion) battery.
|A comparison of the cycling capacities of the metallic Sb and the Sb/C nanocomposite electrode at a current rate of 100 mA/g. Source: Yang et al. Click to enlarge.|
The Sb/C nanocomposite delivers a reversible 3 Na storage capacity of 610 mAh/g; a strong rate capability at a very high current of 2000 mA/g and a long-term cycling stability with 94% capacity retention of more than 100 cycles. The material thus could serve as a high capacity and cycling-stable anode for room temperature Na-ion batteries, the researchers suggest in a paper published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications.
To measure the electrochemical performance of the Sb/C nanocomposite, the team used 2032-type coin cells. The working electrode was made by spreading an electrode slurry of 80 wt% active material, 10 wt% CMC binder and 10 wt% Super P on copper foil substrate. A sodium disk served as the counter and reference electrode.
Sodium-ion batteries are considered a potential attractive alternative to lithium-ion batteries, and members of the Wuhan team have worked with the US Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) on cathode materials (earlier post). A battery that uses sodium ions instead of lithium ions could potentially be much less expensive and safer, and it would be more environmentally benign. However, Na-ion batteries have exhibited weak charge-discharge behavior except at high temperature—indicative of sluggish kinetics in standard carbon anodes (earlier post).
Han Xi Yang, Jiangfeng Qian, Yao Chen, Lin Wu and Yuliang Cao (2012) High Capacity Na-storage and Superior Cyclability of Nanocomposite Sb/C Anode for Na-ion Batteries. Chem. Commun. doi: 10.1039/C2CC32730A