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Issue 1, 2021
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Lithium-activated SnS–graphene alternating nanolayers enable dendrite-free cycling of thin sodium metal anodes in carbonate electrolyte

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Abstract

Sodium metal battery (SMB, NMB) anodes can become dendritic due to an electrochemically unstable native Na-based solid electrolyte interphase (SEI). Herein Li-ion activated tin sulfide graphene nanocomposite membrane (A-SnS–G) is employed as an artificial SEI layer, allowing cyclability of record-thin 100 μm Na metal foils. The thin Na metal is prepared by a self-designed metallurgical rolling protocol. A-SnS–G is initially placed onto the polypropylene (PP) separator but becomes in situ transferred onto the Na metal surface. Symmetric metal cells protected by A-SnS–G achieve low-overpotential extended high-rate cycling in a standard carbonate electrolyte (EC : DEC = 1 : 1, 5% FEC). Accumulated capacity of 1000 mA h cm−2 is obtained after 500 cycles at 4 mA cm−2, with accumulated capacity-to-foil capacity (A/F) ratio of 90.9. This is among the most favorable cycle life, accumulated capacity, and anode utilization combinations reported. Protection by non-activated SnS–G membrane yields significantly worse cycling, albeit still superior to the baseline unprotected sodium. Post-mortem and dedicated light optical analysis indicate that metal swelling, dendrite growth and dead metal formation is extensive for the unprotected sample, but is suppressed with A-SnS–G. Per XPS, post-100 cycles near-surface structure of A-SnS–G is rich in metallic Sn alloys and inorganic carbonate salts. Even after 300 cycles, Li-based SEI components ROCO2-Li, Li2CO3 and LiF are detected with A-SnS–G. As a proof of principle, an SMB with a high mass loading (6 mg cm−2) NVP cathode and a A-SnS–G protected anode delivered extended cyclability, achieving 74 mA h g−1 after 400 cycles at 0.4C.

Graphical abstract: Lithium-activated SnS–graphene alternating nanolayers enable dendrite-free cycling of thin sodium metal anodes in carbonate electrolyte

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Article information


Submitted
30 Jul 2020
Accepted
13 Nov 2020
First published
13 Nov 2020

Energy Environ. Sci., 2021,14, 382-395
Article type
Paper

Lithium-activated SnS–graphene alternating nanolayers enable dendrite-free cycling of thin sodium metal anodes in carbonate electrolyte

W. Liu, Z. Chen, Z. Zhang, P. Jiang, Y. Chen, E. Paek, Y. Wang and D. Mitlin, Energy Environ. Sci., 2021, 14, 382
DOI: 10.1039/D0EE02423F

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