Selective deposition of Ru nanoparticles on TiSi₂ nanonet and its utilization for Li₂O₂ formation and decomposition

J Am Chem Soc. 2014 Jun 25;136(25):8903-6. doi: 10.1021/ja504431k. Epub 2014 Jun 16.


The Li-O2 battery promises high capacity to meet the need for electrochemical energy storage applications. Successful development of the technology hinges on the availability of stable cathodes. The reactivity exhibited by a carbon support compromises the cyclability of Li-O2 operation. A noncarbon cathode support has therefore become a necessity. Using a TiSi2 nanonet as a high surface area, conductive support, we obtained a new noncarbon cathode material that corrects the deficiency. To enable oxygen reduction and evolution, Ru nanoparticles were deposited by atomic layer deposition onto TiSi2 nanonets. A surprising site-selective growth whereupon Ru nanoparticles only deposit onto the b planes of TiSi2 was observed. DFT calculations show that the selectivity is a result of different interface energetics. The resulting heteronanostructure proves to be a highly effective cathode material. It enables Li-O2 test cells that can be recharged more than 100 cycles with average round-trip efficiencies >70%.