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Reversible intercalation of methyl viologen as a dicationic charge carrier in aqueous batteries


The interactions between charge carriers and electrode structures represent one of the most important considerations in the search for new energy storage devices. Currently, ionic bonding dominates the battery chemistry. Here we report the reversible insertion of a large molecular dication, methyl viologen, into the crystal structure of an aromatic solid electrode, 3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic dianhydride. This is the largest insertion charge carrier when non-solvated ever reported for batteries; surprisingly, the kinetic properties of the (de)insertion of methyl viologen are excellent with 60% of capacity retained when the current rate is increased from 100 mA g-1 to 2000 mA g-1. Characterization reveals that the insertion of methyl viologen causes phase transformation of the organic host, and embodies guest-host chemical bonding. First-principles density functional theory calculations suggest strong guest-host interaction beyond the pure ionic bonding, where a large extent of covalency may exist. This study extends the boundary of battery chemistry to large molecular ions as charge carriers and also highlights the electrochemical assembly of a supramolecular system.

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