3 years ago

In Situ Tracking Kinetic Pathways of Li+/Na+ Substitution during Ion-Exchange Synthesis of LixNa1.5–xVOPO4F0.5

In Situ Tracking Kinetic Pathways of Li+/Na+ Substitution during Ion-Exchange Synthesis of LixNa1.5–xVOPO4F0.5
Gabin Yoon, J. Patrick Looney, Young-Uk Park, Jianming Bai, Liping Wang, Feng Wang, Seongsu Lee, Hyungsub Kim, Kisuk Kang, Sung-Wook Kim, Wei Zhang
Ion exchange is a ubiquitous phenomenon central to wide industrial applications, ranging from traditional (bio)chemical separation to the emerging chimie douce synthesis of materials with metastable structure for batteries and other energy applications. The exchange process is complex, involving substitution and transport of different ions under non-equilibrium conditions, and thus difficult to probe, leaving a gap in mechanistic understanding of kinetic exchange pathways toward final products. Herein, we report in situ tracking kinetic pathways of Li+/Na+ substitution during solvothermal ion-exchange synthesis of LixNa1.5–xVOPO4F0.5 (0 ≤ x ≤ 1.5), a promising multi-Li polyanionic cathode for batteries. The real-time observation, corroborated by first-principles calculations, reveals a selective replacement of Na+ by Li+, leading to peculiar Na+/Li+/vacancy orderings in the intermediates. Contradicting the traditional belief of facile topotactic substitution via solid solution reaction, an abrupt two-phase transformation occurs and predominantly governs the kinetics of ion exchange and transport in the 1D polyanionic framework, consequently leading to significant difference of Li stoichiometry and electrochemical properties in the exchanged products. The findings may help to pave the way for rational design of ion exchange synthesis for making new materials.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b05302

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b05302

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