Anatase TiO2: Better anode material than amorphous and rutile phases of TiO2 for Na-Ion batteries
Amorphous TiO2@C nanospheres were synthesized via a template approach. After being sintered under different conditions, two types of polyphase TiO2 hollow nanospheres were obtained. The electrochemical properties of the amorphous TiO2 nanospheres and the TiO2 hollow nanospheres with different phases were characterized as anodes for the Na-ion batteries. It was found that all the samples demonstrated excellent cyclability, which was sustainable for hundreds of cycles with little capacity fading, although the anatase TiO2 presented a capability that was better than that of the mixed anatase/rutile TiO2 or the amorphous TiO2@C. Through crystallographic analysis, it was revealed that the anatase TiO2 crystal structure supplies two-dimensional diffusion paths for Na-ion intercalation and more accommodation sites. Density functional theory calculations indicated lower energy barriers for the insertion of Na+ into anatase TiO2. Therefore, anatase TiO2 hollow nanospheres show excellent high-rate performance. Through ex situ field emission scanning electron microscopy, it was revealed that the TiO2 hollow nanosphere architecture can be maintained for hundreds of cycles, which is the main reason for its superior cyclability.