Aqueous Exfoliation of Transition Metal Oxides for Energy Storage and Photocatalysis Applications : Vanadium Oxide and Molybdenum Oxide Nanosheets

Abstract: Two-dimensional (2D) transition metal oxides (TMOs) are a category of materials which have unique physical and chemical properties compared to their bulk counterparts. However, the synthesis of 2D TMOs commonly includes the use of environmental threats such as organic solvents. In this thesis, we developed environmentally friendly strategies to fabricate TMO nanosheets from the commercially available bulk oxides. In particular, hydrated vanadium pentoxide (V2O5∙nH2O) nanosheets and oxygen deficient molybdenum trioxide (MoO3-x) nanosheets were prepared.  The V2O5∙nH2O nanosheets were drop-cast onto multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) paper and applied as a free-standing electrode (FSE) for a lithium battery. The accessible capacity of the FSE was dependent on the electrode thickness; the thickest electrode delivered the lowest accessible capacity.  Alternatively, a composite material of V2O5∙nH2O nanosheets with 10% MWCNT (VOx-CNT composite) was prepared and two types of electrodes, FSE and conventionally cast electrode (CCE), were employed as cathode materials for lithium batteries. A detailed comparison between these electrodes was presented. In addition, the VOx-CNT composite was applied as a negative electrode for a sodium-ion battery and showed a reversible capacity of about 140 mAh g-1. On the other hand, the MoO3-x nanosheets were employed as binder-free electrodes for supercapacitor application in an acidified Na2SO4 electrolyte. Furthermore, the MoO3-x nanosheets were used as photocatalysts for organic dye degradation. The simple eco-friendly synthesis methods coupled with the potential application of the TMO nanosheets reflect the significance of this thesis in both the synthesis and the energy-related applications of 2D materials.

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