Scientists Discovered working principles of a promising material for fast-charging batteries

Written by Adeel Abbas

The charge storage mechanisms of NiBTA, a recently discovered material that can enable advanced fast-charging batteries, were unveiled by Skoltech researchers with the help of their colleagues from Moscow State University. Their report is published in a scientific journal.

image showing Formulas of BTA molecule and NiBTA and (b) electronic structure of NiBTA.
(a) Formulas of BTA molecule and NiBTA and (b) electronic structure of NiBTA. The electronic structure is partitioned into σ- and π-systems. The π-system is further decomposed into LMOs of Ni and BTA blocks. The density of Ni lone pairs (LPs) is excluded from DOS (σ). Ni LMOs are labeled by harmonic polynomials corresponding to the orbital symmetry, 3d, and 4p labels are added for clarity. Electrons in BTA and Ni diagrams are shown as dots. The red dots correspond to electrons of BTA that are absent in the ligand moieties of NiBTA. 3dXY, 4s, 4pX, and 4pY orbitals of Ni are highly intermixed with other orbitals into σ-bands and are not shown here. Credit: Chemical Science (2022). DOI: 10.1039/D2SC03127B

Electric vehicles that suffer from the “range anxiety” issue require fast-charging batteries. Modern battery materials can’t be used for reliable fast charging or can only have moderate energy density. The scientists are motivated to search for new materials that can operate safely under fast-charging conditions and have larger capacities.

NiBTA, a nickel-based coordination polymer derived from benzenetetramine, was recently proposed by researchers. It was not clear how NiBTA was charged and discharged in batteries. The data was too ambiguous to give reliable conclusions, which is why different research groups proposed entirely different mechanisms. In the new work, Skoltech scientists used a combination of advanced methods to gain insights into NiBTA behavior in the batteries.

The author of the study said that the beauty of the work is putting together various techniques, both experimental and theoretical. We were able to track the structural changes inside the batteries with the help of operando X-ray diffract and operando Raman spectroscopy. We were the first to apply a rigorous approach to this class. This study sheds light on the chemistry of coordination polymers, which can be useful.

Read More information

Roman R. Kapaev et al, Charge storage mechanisms of a π–d conjugated polymer for advanced alkali-ion battery anodes, Chemical Science (2022). DOI: 10.1039/D2SC03127B

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