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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jan 14;111(2):599-604. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1316557110. Epub 2013 Dec 30.

Role of intermediate phase for stable cycling of Na7V4(P2O7)4PO4 in sodium ion battery.

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  • 1Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability, World Class University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.


Sodium ion batteries offer promising opportunities in emerging utility grid applications because of the low cost of raw materials, yet low energy density and limited cycle life remain critical drawbacks in their electrochemical operations. Herein, we report a vanadium-based ortho-diphosphate, Na7V4(P2O7)4PO4, or VODP, that significantly reduces all these drawbacks. Indeed, VODP exhibits single-valued voltage plateaus at 3.88 V vs. Na/Na(+) while retaining substantial capacity (>78%) over 1,000 cycles. Electronic structure calculations reveal that the remarkable single plateau and cycle life originate from an intermediate phase (a very shallow voltage step) that is similar both in the energy level and lattice parameters to those of fully intercalated and deintercalated states. We propose a theoretical scheme in which the reaction barrier that arises from lattice mismatches can be evaluated by using a simple energetic consideration, suggesting that the presence of intermediate phases is beneficial for cell kinetics by buffering the differences in lattice parameters between initial and final phases. We expect these insights into the role of intermediate phases found for VODP hold in general and thus provide a helpful guideline in the further understanding and design of battery materials.


ab initio calculation; atomic reorganization; cathode; single voltage

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