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Elevating the Practical Application of Sodium-Ion Batteries through Advanced Characterization Studies on Cathodes

by Mengya Li
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Sodium-ion batteries (SIBs) have emerged as promising alternatives to their lithium-ion counterparts due to the abundance of sodium resources and their potential for cost-effective energy storage solutions. The chemistry for SIBs has been investigated since the 1980s, but it went through a slow research and development process. Recently, there has been an acceleration in technology maturation due to a supply chain crisis originating from unequal resource distribution and sustainability and safety concerns regarding lithium-ion batteries. However, the practical application of SIBs has been hindered primarily by challenges related to cathode materials, specifically, surface and structural stabilities in different conditions. Through the integration of advanced techniques such as in situ spectroscopy, operando diffraction, and high-resolution microscopy, a comprehensive understanding of the cathode’s dynamic behavior and degradation mechanisms can be achieved. The identified structural modifications, phase transitions, and degradation pathways offer critical insights into the design of robust cathode materials with prolonged cycling stability, fast charging capability, high energy density, great low-temperature performance, and safety. This review underscores the pivotal role of cutting-edge characterization techniques in guiding the development of high-performance sodium-ion batteries, thereby fostering the realization of sustainable and efficient energy storage solutions for diverse technological applications.