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Prof. Bin Xu’s team published research paper in ‘Advanced Energy Materials’

Recently, Prof. Bin Xu’s team published research paper entitled ‘Extended “Adsorption–Insertion” Model: A New Insight into the Sodium Storage Mechanism of Hard Carbons’ in international famous journal Advanced Energy Materials. In the paper, an extended “adsorption-insertion” model is proposed, which gives a new insight into the sodium-storage mechanism of hard carbon (HC). The extended “adsorption-insertion” model can well explain the evolution of the sodium storage behaviour and the performance of HCs with pyrolysis temperature, which significantly affects the advancement of HC design for sodium storage.

Sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) are new secondary battery systems suitable for large-scale energy storage because sodium resources are earth abundant and low cost. Hard carbons with amorphous structure and large interlayer distance are considered the most promising anode materials for practical applications due to their high capacity, low cost, abundance and nontoxicity. Although many efforts have been made in the preparation of HCs by pyrolyzing various precursors in recent years, the sodium storage mechanism, i.e., the origin of sloping region in high voltage and plateau region in low voltage, is still controversial, which hinders the exploration of advanced HCs for SIBs. There are mainly three viewpoints on the sodium storage mechanism of HC, including the ‘insertion-filling’ model proposed by Jeff Dahn et al, the ‘adsorption-filling’ model proposed by Tarascon et al, and the ‘adsorption-insertion’ model proposed by Yuliang Cao et al. All of these three mechanisms are based on the experimental results; nevertheless, none of them can fully explain all the existing experimental phenomena.

In this paper, Prof. Bin Xu et al proposed the extended “adsorption-insertion” sodium storage mechanism based on a detailed investigation and correlation of the microstructure and sodium storage behaviour of HCs, which can well explain the evolution of the sodium storage behaviour and the performance of HCs with pyrolysis temperature. They also firstly put forward the theoretical Na-storage capacity of 279 mAh g-1 (NaC8) for HC combining the theoretical calculation and experimental analysis.

Ning Sun, doctor student, is the first author of the paper. Prof. Bin Xu is the corresponding author. Beijing University of Chemical Technology is the first research institution. Cooperative research institutions include Wuhan University and Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. This work was financially supported by Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission, National Key Research and Development Program of China, and National Natural Science Foundation of China.

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