Understanding energy storage mechanisms in electrochemical energy storage devices lays the foundations for improving their energy and power density. Here we introduce in situ ultraviolet–visible (UV–Vis) spectroscopy method to distinguish battery-type, pseudocapacitive and electrical double-layer charge storage processes. On the basis of Ti3C2Tx MXene in aqueous acidic and neutral electrolytes, and lithium titanium oxide in an organic electrolyte, we found a correlation between the evolution of UV–Vis spectra and the charge storage mechanism. The electron transfer number for Ti3C2Tx in an acidic electrolyte was calculated using quantitative analysis, which was close to previous measurements using X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Further, we tested the methodology to distinguish the non-Faradaic process in Ti3C2Tx MXene in a water-in-salt electrolyte, despite well-defined peaks in cyclic voltammograms. In situ UV–Vis spectroscopy is a fast and cost-effective technique that effectively supplements electrochemical characterization to track changes in oxidation state and materials chemistry and determine the charge storage mechanism.
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This work was supported by the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures, and Transport (FIRST) Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science and Office of Basic Energy Sciences. D.Z. and Y.G. also acknowledge funding for MXene synthesis from NSF Grant DMR-2041050.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Zhang, D., Wang, R.(., Wang, X. et al. In situ monitoring redox processes in energy storage using UV–Vis spectroscopy. Nat Energy 8, 567–576 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-023-01240-9