Article

Reversible multi-electron redox chemistry of π-conjugated N-containing heteroaromatic molecule-based organic cathodes

  • Nature Energy 2, Article number: 17074 (2017)
  • doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.74
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Abstract

Even though organic molecules with well-designed functional groups can be programmed to have high electron density per unit mass, their poor electrical conductivity and low cycle stability limit their applications in batteries. Here we report a facile synthesis of π-conjugated quinoxaline-based heteroaromatic molecules (3Q) by condensation of cyclic carbonyl molecules with o-phenylenediamine. 3Q features a number of electron-deficient pyrazine sites, where multiple redox reactions take place. When hybridized with graphene and coupled with an ether-based electrolyte, an organic cathode based on 3Q molecules displays a discharge capacity of 395 mAh g−1 at 400 mA g−1 (1C) in the voltage range of 1.2–3.9 V and a nearly 70% capacity retention after 10,000 cycles at 8 A g−1. It also exhibits a capacity of 222 mAh g−1 at 20C, which corresponds to 60% of the initial specific capacity. Our results offer evidence that heteroaromatic molecules with multiple redox sites are promising in developing high-energy-density, long-cycle-life organic rechargeable batteries.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Research Foundation Investigator Award (NRF-NRF12015-01) ‘Graphene oxide – A new class of catalytic, ionic and molecular sieving materials’ funded by National Research Foundation, Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore. Y.Y. would like to acknowledge the financial support for their research at Xiamen University from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos 21233004 and 21621091) and National Key Research and Development Program (Grant No. 2016YFB0901502).

Author information

Author notes

    • Chengxin Peng
    • , Guo-Hong Ning
    •  & Jie Su

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry, Centre for Advanced 2D Materials and Graphene Research Centre, National University of Singapore, 3 Science Drive 3, Singapore 117543, Singapore

    • Chengxin Peng
    • , Guo-Hong Ning
    • , Jie Su
    • , Wei Tang
    • , Bingbing Tian
    • , Chenliang Su
    • , Dingyi Yu
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  2. State Key Laboratory of Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces, Department of Chemistry, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemistry for Energy Materials(iChEM), Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China

    • Guiming Zhong
    •  & Yong Yang
  3. Department of Chemistry, Tongji University, Siping Road 1239, Shanghai 200092, China

    • Lianhai Zu
    •  & Jinhu Yang
  4. Institute of High Performance Computing, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, 1 Fusionopolis Way, #16-16 Connexis, Singapore 138632, Singapore

    • Man-Fai Ng
  5. Key Laboratory for Renewable Energy, Beijing Key Laboratory for New Energy Materials and Devices, Beijing National Laboratory for Condensed Matter Physics, Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, School of Physical Sciences, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China

    • Yong-Sheng Hu
    •  & Michel Armand

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Contributions

C.P., J.S., C.S., Y.-S.H., Y.Y. and K.P.L. conceived and designed this work. J.S., C.P., G.-H.N. and D.Y. performed the syntheses and characterization of 2Q and 3Q materials, including 15N-labelled 3Q samples. G.-H.N. and B.T. prepared and characterized single-crystalline 3Q. C.P. and G.-H.N. conducted the EPR characterization. J.S. and C.P. assembled the cells for 2Q and 3Q and conducted the measurements. C.P. and G.Z. assembled the pouch cells for 15N-labelled 3Q and characterized the resource for 15N- and 13C-labelled 3Q during the charging/discharging processes. C.P., G.Z., Y.-S.H., M.-F.N., J.Y., M.A., Y.Y. and K.L. analysed the solid-state NMR results and proposed the mechanism. M.-F.N. conducted the DFT simulation. W.T. and J.S. performed TEM for 3Q samples after cycling. C.P. acquired high-resolution SRPES data. C.P., G.-H.N., L.Z., M.-F.N., J.Y., Y.-S.H., Y.Y., M.A. and K.P.L. co-wrote the manuscript. All the authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript at all stages.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yong Yang or Kian Ping Loh.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–36, Supplementary Tables 16, Supplementary Notes