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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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).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Peng, C., Ning, GH., Su, J. et al. Reversible multi-electron redox chemistry of π-conjugated N-containing heteroaromatic molecule-based organic cathodes. Nat Energy 2, 17074 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nenergy.2017.74
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