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Intensive Study on the Catalytical Behavior of N‑Methylphenothiazine as a Soluble Mediator to Oxidize the Li2O2 Cathode of the Li–O2 Battery

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journal contribution
posted on 12.01.2017, 00:00 by Ningning Feng, Xiaowei Mu, Xueping Zhang, Ping He, Haoshen Zhou
Aprotic Li–O2 batteries have attracted worldwide interest owing to their ultrahigh theoretical energy density. However, the practical Li–O2 batteries still suffer from high charge overpotential and low energy efficiency resulting from the sluggish kinetics in electrochemically oxidizing the insulating lithium peroxide (Li2O2). Recently, dissolved redox mediators in the electrolyte have enabled the effective catalytic oxidation of Li2O2 at the liquid–solid interface. Here, we report that the incorporation of N-methylphenothiazine (MPT), as a redox shuttle in Li–O2 batteries, provides a dramatic reduction in charge overpotential to 0.67 V and an improved round-trip efficiency close to 76%. Moreover, the efficacy of MPT in Li–O2 cells was further investigated by various characterizations. On charging, MPT+ cations are first generated electrochemically at the cathode surface and subsequently oxidize the solid discharge products Li2O2 through a chemical reaction. Furthermore, the presence of MPT has been demonstrated to improve the cycling stability of the cells and suppress side reactions arising from carbon and electrolytes at high potentials.