Bor(o)n for Lithium

The invention and commercialization of lithium-ion batteries is considered to be one of the most important things to have happened in the history of humankind. They are used in almost every type of electronics, including in cell phones, laptops, and other consumer electronics. They are also used in grid energy storage and military and aerospace applications.

With such an impact on our lives, surely lithium-ion batteries must be manufactured using only the best methods and with the best parts.

Recently, two-dimensional borophene (2D-B) has attracted a lot of attention. It is similar to graphene, which can be used as an electrical conductor, and is lighter than it. It has good electronic conductivity in some form, and thus can be used as a good electrode material for several electrochemical applications.

Borophene can be manufactured in quite a few ways, but the one method that attracted the authors’ attention is the use of  liquid phase exfoliation (a process by which chemical bonds are broken to separate layered materials into nanomaterials) of boron using aqueous solvent. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there is only one such report on the exfoliation of boron in aqueous medium. In this study, the authors Dr. Anandhakumar Sukeri, Ms. Swati Panigrahi, and Prof. Kothandaraman Ramanujam from the Clean Energy Laboratory, Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, India (Prof. Kothandaraman Ramanujam is also affiliated with the Advanced Centre for Energy Storage and Conversion-The Energy Consortium, IIT Madras, Chennai, India), have synthesized hydride-inserted boron nanosheets (H-BNS) using a probe sonicator and ball milling equipment. This is a new method to synthesize H-BNS.

The synthesized H-BNS was found to be highly stable in atmospheric conditions, and was successfully used as an anode material for lithium-ion batteries. Besides, due to its hydride content, it can be used for controlled reduction reactions and hydrogen storage medium.

It demonstrated good rate capability and capacity retention even after 500 cycles of use. This study can be used to open new avenues for finding H-BNS’s suitability for energy, sensors, and catalysis applications.

Prof. Perumal Elumalai from the Department of Green Energy Technology, Madanjeet School of Green Energy Technologies, Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India, pointed out the advantages of the method used by the authors and lauded their efforts with the following comments: “This article reports a new layered material as anode for lithium-ion battery. The material, hydride-stabilized boron having layered structure could be synthesized by means of a simple sonochemical method with high quantity. The method doesn’t involve high temperature, high pressure, long time and high energy. 

Gram quantity can be easily synthesized in less time and using less energy. The medium, solvent used is water, a facile solvent. This material has a huge potential to commercial application.

The developed material exhibited high capacity of as high as 280 mAh g-1 with excellent charge retention. This capacity is almost similar to the capacity that can be obtained for the conventional graphite anode that is currently used in the lithium-ion battery.”

Article by Akshay Anantharaman
Click here for the original link to the paper


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