Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DisorMetox (Disorder and Order in the Conversion Mechanism of Metal Oxides in Lithium-ion Batteries)
Reporting period: 2018-08-01 to 2020-07-31
The redefined new OBJ 1, OBJ 2 and OBJ3 were all fully achieved with two publication in revision for OB2 and OBJ3, respectively. A publication related to OBJ 1 is in preparation. The fellow has studied the reaction mechanisms of both binary metal oxides and fluorides and found that their phase behaviours are dominated by topochemical displacement reactions, instead of the reconstructive conversion pathways that are commonly believed to associate with these materials. The renewed mechanistic understanding of these materials is profound to the community because it suggests the kinetic performances of these materials - previously believed to be intrinsically slow as defined by the conversion mechanism - can be enhanced by employing displaced species with faster mobilities. This knowledge sheds light into future strategies to improve these materials' applicability into real-world devices and provides opportunities to make better and cheaper batteries, reflecting the significance to our society. This potential impact of the scientific achievement is in line with the objective of the EU commission to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 – as part of the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework and contribution to the Paris Agreement.
a. The fellow has learnt how to code using Fortran and how to write programs for scientific calculation and data analysis. Beamtime applications were successful and materials for battery application were successfully prepared and measured as planned. Robust data analysis and interpretation were performed using the new programming skill that the fellow has acquired during the fellowship.
b. The fellow has received training from the university by taking language and IT courses. He has also received significant career training by the host (Prof Andrew Goodwin) in writing scientific article and job applications, as well as the training for career interview – the fellow was selected in the final round of interview for a lectureship position.
c. The researcher worked closely with internal group members in the host group. On the one hand, he has enhanced his analytical skills in crystallography study; on the other hand, his knowledge and experience of battery research has benefited the host group by expanding the group’s research domains.
d. Difficulties concerning materials preparation for OBJ 1 were encountered at the beginning of the fellowship. The fellow has readjusted the objectives based on the feasibility of the original OBJ 1 and the significance of the new preliminary results for OBJ 2.
a. New reaction pathway of metal oxides and fluorides were discovered which significantly improved the fundamental knowledge of these materials’ reaction mechanisms as electrode materials.
b. Two publications are in the revision, with one additional publication in preparation.
c. New methodology to study heterogeneous electrode reaction was developed, which requires no a priori knowledge of the number and the nature of various phases within the mixture.
d. The study was based on high-quality data obtained from awarded beamtime in synchrotron facilities.
Exploitation and dissmination:
The fellow has attended a series of conferences in fields of crystallography and batteries to present his work and results, including: Winter crystallography 2018, International Battery Association 2019, and European Crystallography Meeting 2019. He has also been invited to give seminars at Complutense University of Madrid 2019 and Shanghai Jiaotong University 2020. Two publications are in revision, one publication is still in preparation. EU funding through MSCA action are acknowledged in all his presentation and publication.
The significance of the research achievements in this fellowship is reflected by the influence of the renewed understanding of the functionality of binary metal oxides and fluorides on the battery community. These materials are commonly perceived as “conversion” materials and are therefore believed to have intrinsically slow kinetic performance. However, the new mechanistic understanding of these materials shows that their kinetic performance can be theoretically improved. This result would promote renewed interests from researchers to revisit these cost-effective materials for future battery application, and eventually to enhance their energy capacity for practical use. This potential impact of the scientific achievement is in line with the objective of the EU commission to reduce emissions by at least 40% by 2030 – as part of the EU's 2030 climate and energy framework and contribution to the Paris Agreement.