Building better batteries.
Organic carbonyl compounds represent a promising class of electrode materials for secondary batteries; however, the storage mechanism still remains unclear. We take Na2C6H2O4 as an example to unravel the mechanism. It consists of alternating Na-O octahedral inorganic layer and π-stacked benzene organic layer in spatial separation, delivering a high reversible capacity and first coulombic efficiency. The experiment and calculation results reveal that the Na-O inorganic layer provides both Na+ ion transport pathway and storage site, whereas the benzene organic layer provides electron transport pathway and redox center. Our contribution provides a brand-new insight in understanding the storage mechanism in inorganic-organic layered host and opens up a new exciting direction for designing new materials for secondary batteries.