Analytical Chemistry

Investigation of Polyoxometalate-(Poly)pyrrole Heterogeneous Nanostructures as Cathodes for Rechargeable Magnesium-Ion Batteries

Hakeem K. Henry University of Maryland, College Park


The PMo12-PPy heterogeneous cathode was synthesized electrochemically. In doing so, the PMo12 redox-active material was impregnated throughout the conductive polymer matrix of the poly(pyrrole) nanowires. All chemicals and reagents used were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich. Anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) purchased from Whatman served as the porous hard template for nanowire deposition. A thin layer of gold of approximately 200nm was sputtered onto the disordered side of the AAO membrane to serve as the current collector. Copper tape was connected to the sputtered gold for contact and the device was sealed in parafilm with heat with an exposed area of 0.32 cm2 to serve as the electroactive area for deposition. All electrochemical synthesis and experiments were conducted using a Bio-Logic MPG2 potentiostat. The deposition was carried out using a 3-electrode beaker cell setup with a solution of acetonitrile containing 5mM and 14mM of the phosphomolybdic acid and pyrrole monomer, respectively. The synthesis was achieved using chronoamperometry to apply a constant voltage of 0.8V vs. Ag/AgCl (BASi) to oxidatively polymerize the pyrrole monomer to poly(pyrrole). To prevent the POM from chemically polymerizing the pyrrole, an injection method was used in which the pyrrole monomer was added to the POM solution only after the deposition voltage had already been applied. The deposition was well controlled by limiting the amount of charge transferred to 300mC. Following deposition, the AAO template was removed by soaking in 3M sodium hydroxide (NaOH) for 20 minutes and rinsed several times with water. After synthesis, all cathodes underwent electrochemical testing to determine their performance using cyclic voltammetry and constant current charge-discharge cycling in 0.1 M Mg(ClO4)2/PC electrolyte. The cathodes were further characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

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