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The role of the electrode surface in Na-Air batteries

Journal Contribution - e-publication

Subtitle:insights in electrochemical product formation and chemical growth of $NaO_{2}$
The Na-air battery, because of its high energy density and low charging overpotential, is a promising candidate for low-cost energy storage, hence leading to intensive research. However, to achieve such a battery, the role of the positive electrode material in the discharge process must be understood. This issue is herein addressed by exploring the electrochemical reduction of oxygen, as well as the chemical formation and precipitation of NaO2 using different electrodes. Whereas a minor influence of the electrode surface is demonstrated on the electrochemical formation of NaO2, a strong dependence of the subsequent chemical precipitation of NaO2 is identified. In the origin, this effect stems from the surface energy and O-2/O-2(-) affinity of the electrode. The strong interaction of Au with O-2/O-2(-) increases the nucleation rate and leads to an altered growth process when compared to C surfaces. Consequently, thin (3 mu m) flakes of NaO2 are found on Au, whereas on C large cubes (10 mu m) of NaO2 are formed. This has significant impact on the cell performance and leads to four times higher capacity when C electrodes with low surface energy and O-2/O-2(-) affinity are used. It is hoped that these findings will enable the design of new positive electrode materials with optimized surfaces.
Journal: Advanced Energy Materials
ISSN: 1614-6832
Volume: 8
Number of pages: 9
Publication year:2018
Keywords:Physical chemistry, Energy & fuels, Materials science, Applied physics, Physics of solids, fluids and plasmas