β‑NaMnO<sub>2</sub>: A High-Performance Cathode for Sodium-Ion Batteries

There is much interest in Na-ion batteries for grid storage because of the lower projected cost compared with Li-ion. Identifying Earth-abundant, low-cost, and safe materials that can function as intercalation cathodes in Na-ion batteries is an important challenge facing the field. Here we investigate such a material, β-NaMnO<sub>2</sub>, with a different structure from that of NaMnO<sub>2</sub> polymorphs and other compounds studied extensively in the past. It exhibits a high capacity (of ca. 190 mA h g<sup>–1</sup> at a rate of C/20), along with a good rate capability (142 mA h g<sup>–1</sup> at a rate of 2C) and a good capacity retention (100 mA h g<sup>–1</sup>after 100 Na extraction/insertion cycles at a rate of 2C). Powder XRD, HRTEM, and <sup>23</sup>Na NMR studies revealed that this compound exhibits a complex structure consisting of intergrown regions of α-NaMnO<sub>2</sub> and β-NaMnO<sub>2</sub> domains. The collapse of the long-range structure at low Na content is expected to compromise the reversibility of the Na extraction and insertion processes occurring upon charge and discharge of the cathode material, respectively. Yet stable, reproducible, and reversible Na intercalation is observed.