Emptying and filling a tunnel bronze†
The classical orthorhombic layered phase of V2O5 has long been regarded as the thermodynamic sink for binary vanadium oxides and has found great practical utility as a result of its open framework and easily accessible redox states. Herein, we exploit a cation-exchange mechanism to synthesize a new stable tunnel-structured polymorph of V2O5 (ζ-V2O5) and demonstrate the subsequent ability of this framework to accommodate Li and Mg ions. The facile extraction and insertion of cations and stabilization of the novel tunnel framework is facilitated by the nanometer-sized dimensions of the materials, which leads to accommodation of strain without amorphization. The topotactic approach demonstrated here indicates not just novel intercalation chemistry accessible at nanoscale dimensions but also suggests a facile synthetic route to ternary vanadium oxide bronzes (MxV2O5) exhibiting intriguing physical properties that range from electronic phase transitions to charge ordering and superconductivity.