Designed Formulation of Se-Impregnated N‑Containing Hollow Core Mesoporous Shell Carbon Spheres: Multifunctional Potential Cathode for Li–Se and Na–Se Batteries

Nitrogen-containing carbon spheres with hollow core and mesoporous shell (NHCS), capable of confining Se at levels as high as 72 wt % has been demonstrated to exhibit appreciable electrochemical behavior with 52 and 61 wt % Se loading. In particular, 52 wt % Se confined NHCS cathode exhibits 265 mAh/g at 10C rate and retains 75% of initial capacity at 2C rate up to 10 000 cycles with an insignificant decay of 0.0025% per cycle, which is an ever first report on the extended cycle life of Li–Se batteries. Due to the negligible difference found between the transport kinetics of Se and that of Li2Se, irrespective of the cycling rate, 52 wt % Se @ NHCS performs better at high rates. Furthermore, capacity is governed by the extent of utilization of confined Se and cycle life by the extent of mitigation of volume expansion. Accordingly, rate capability studies recommend 52 wt % Se loaded cathode above 2C rate and 61 wt % Se loading up to 2C rate. Furthermore, NHCS/Se-52 cathode demonstrates suitability for Na–Se batteries by exhibiting 339 and 219 mAh/g of capacity at rates of C/5 and 2C rates, respectively. NHCS with select Se concentration could thus be exploited for multifunctional cathode behavior in Li–Se and Na–Se systems.