"A Highly Reversible Room-Temperature Sodium Metal Anode"

Zhi Wei Seh: Jie Sun, Yongming Sun, and Yi Cui; ACS Central Science, 11/02/15.

Additional Authors: Jie Sun, Yongming Sun, and Yi Cui

Abstract:

Abstract Image

Owing to its low cost and high natural abundance, sodium metal is among the most promising anode materials for energy storage technologies beyond lithium ion batteries. However, room-temperature sodium metal anodes suffer from poor reversibility during long-term plating and stripping, mainly due to formation of nonuniform solid electrolyte interphase as well as dendritic growth of sodium metal. Herein we report for the first time that a simple liquid electrolyte, sodium hexafluorophosphate in glymes (mono-, di-, and tetraglyme), can enable highly reversible and nondendritic plating–stripping of sodium metal anodes at room temperature. High average Coulombic efficiencies of 99.9% were achieved over 300 plating–stripping cycles at 0.5 mA cm–2. The long-term reversibility was found to arise from the formation of a uniform, inorganic solid electrolyte interphase made of sodium oxide and sodium fluoride, which is highly impermeable to electrolyte solvent and conducive to nondendritic growth. As a proof of concept, we also demonstrate a room-temperature sodium–sulfur battery using this class of electrolytes, paving the way for the development of next-generation, sodium-based energy storage technologies.