In this study, we want to highlight the assets and restrictions of X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) and Mössbauer spectroscopy for investigating the mechanism of the electrochemical reaction of antimony electrode materials vs. Na. For this, operando XAS was carried out during the first one and a half cycles, and the whole set of measured data was analysed using a statistical-chemometric approach, while low temperature Mössbauer spectroscopy measurements were carried out ex situ on selected samples stopped at different points of the electrochemical reaction. Complementary ab initio calculations were performed to support the experimental findings. Both techniques show that, upon the first sodiation, most Sb reacts with Na to form disordered Na 3 Sb. This step is accompanied by the formation of amorphous Sb as an intermediate. Upon inversion of the current Na 3 Sb is desodiated and an amorphous Sb phase, distinct from the pristine bulk Sb state, is gradually formed. However, both XAS and Mössbauer spectroscopy were unable to spot the formation of intermediate Na x Sb phases, which were evinced in previous works by operando Pair Distribution Function analyses. The results shown here clearly assign such failure to the intrinsic inability of both techniques to identify these intermediates.
- Alloy reaction
- DFT calculations
- Mössbauer spectroscopy
- Na-ion batteries
- X-ray absorption spectroscopy