Colloidal spray pyrolysis: A new fabrication technology for nanostructured energy storage materials

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Journal Article
Energy Storage Materials, 2018, 13 pp. 8 - 18
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© 2017 Spray pyrolysis is a scalable process to fabricate functional particles as cathode/anode materials in rechargeable batteries from precursor solutions. However, one prerequisite of spray pyrolysis to achieve uniform particle-to-particle composition and structure is a stable precursor solution, restricting its usage to highly soluble salts. Otherwise, extremely acidic precursors are necessary to ease the uncontrollable hydrolysis of the salts and the subsequent precipitation. Moreover, strong reducing agents such as H2 are also needed for complete solid-state reactions, introducing potential safety concerns. Herein, for the first time, we develop a novel process, colloidal spray pyrolysis (CSP), which can eliminate all the prerequisites simultaneously. Our process can generate particles directly from a multiphase precursor in mild processing conditions through in-situ solid-state reactions. The product structure and composition can be precisely designed based on aerosol dynamics and reaction kinetics. By applying CSP, Sn@C particles with three distinct interior nanostructures have been synthesized and evaluated as anodes for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) and sodium-ion batteries (SIBs). The best performing Sn@C anode delivers 627.9 mAh/g at 2 C with capacity retention of 88.5% after 1500 cycles in LIBs and demonstrates superior rate capability for SIBs. This novel CSP process is promising in preparing electrode materials in LIBs and SIBs for future practical applications.
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