Layered sodium titanium oxide, Na2Ti3O7, is synthesized by a solid-state reaction method as a potential anode for sodium-ion batteries. Through optimization of the electrolyte and binder, the microsized Na2Ti3O7 electrode delivers a reversible capacity of 188 mA h g−1 in 1 M NaFSI/PC electrolyte at a current rate of 0.1C in a voltage range of 0.0–3.0 V, with sodium alginate as binder. The average Na storage voltage plateau is found at ca. 0.3 V vs. Na+/Na, in good agreement with a first-principles prediction of 0.35 V. The Na storage properties in Na2Ti3O7 are investigated from thermodynamic and kinetic aspects. By reducing particle size, the nanosized Na2Ti3O7 exhibits much higher capacity, but still with unsatisfied cyclic properties. The solid-state interphase layer on Na2Ti3O7 electrode is analyzed. A zero-current overpotential related to thermodynamic factors is observed for both nano- and microsized Na2Ti3O7. The electronic structure, Na+ ion transport and conductivity are investigated by the combination of first-principles calculation and electrochemical characterizations. On the basis of the vacancy-hopping mechanism, a quasi-3D energy favorable trajectory is proposed for Na2Ti3O7. The Na+ ions diffuse between the TiO6 octahedron layers with pretty low activation energy of 0.186 eV.
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