Structural mechanism of the phase transitions in the Mg-Cu-Mo 6S8 system probed by ex situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction

E. Levi, A. Mitelman, D. Aurbach, M. Brunelli

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Mo6S8 is a unique cathode material for rechargeable magnesium batteries, but its theoretical capacity cannot be realized at ambient temperature due to partial Mg trapping. This work shows that this trapping can be avoided by using Cu∼1Mo6S8 instead of Mo6S8. The phase diagram of Mg insertion into Cu ∼1Mo6S8 was studied by a combination of cyclic voltammetry and ex situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction. Similarly to the previously studied Li-M-Mo6S8 (M = metal) systems, the insertion results in Cu extrusion from the intercalation compound, but contrary to the known cases, this process is fully reversible. The structural mechanism of the insertion reactions was established by Rietveld analysis performed for nine new MgxCuyMo6S8 phases. It was found that the crystal structure of the quaternary intercalation compounds in the Mg-Cu-Mo6S8 system is similar to that of the ternary phases: both Mg2+ and Cu+ cations are located in the tetrahedral sites of the inner and outer rings, while the occupancy of the sites increases with intercalation level. However, the cation distribution is not disordered. It can be characterized by (i) Mg preference for the inner sites and (ii) cation segregation. The latter is typical for the separate cation groups in the same intercalation compound, but it appears also as cation segregation in different phases. As a result, similarly to the previously studied Li-Cu-Mo6S8 system, the phase diagram of Mg insertion into Cu∼1Mo6S8 is rather complex. It includes three phase regions and the coexistence of Cu-rich and Cu-depleted compounds. The structural mechanism proposed in this work sheds light on the electrochemical behavior of the Cu∼1Mo6S8 electrodes in Mg battery; in particular, it explains the absence of Mg trapping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5131-5142
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number21
StatePublished - 16 Oct 2007


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