Unraveling the Electrochemical Mechanism in Tin Oxide/MXene Nanocomposites as Highly Reversible Negative Electrodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are constantly developing as the demands for power and energy storage increase. One promising approach to designing high-performance lithium-ion batteries is using conversion/alloying materials, such as SnO2. This class of materials does, in fact, present excellent performance and ease of preparation; however, it suffers from mechanical instabilities during cycling that impair its use. One way to overcome these problems is to prepare composites with bi-dimensional materials that stabilize them. Thus, over the past 10 years, two-dimensional materials with excellent transport properties (graphene, MXenes) have been developed that can be used synergistically with conversion materials to exploit both advantages. In this work, a 50/50 (by mass) SnO2/Ti3C2Tz nanocomposite is prepared and optimized as a negative electrode for lithium-ion batteries. The nanocomposite delivers over 500 mAh g−1 for 700 cycles at 0.1 A g−1 and demonstrates excellent rate capability, with 340 mAh g−1 at 8 A g−1. These results are due to the synergistic behavior of the two components of the nanocomposite, as demonstrated by ex situ chemical, structural, and morphological analyses. This knowledge allows, for the first time, to formulate a reaction mechanism with lithium-ions that provides partial reversibility of the conversion reaction with the formation of SnO.