Effects of interlayer confinement and hydration on capacitive charge storage in birnessite

Shelby Boyd, Karthik Ganeshan, Wan Yu Tsai, Tao Wu, Saeed Saeed, De en Jiang, Nina Balke, Adri C.T. van Duin, Veronica Augustyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Nanostructured birnessite exhibits high specific capacitance and nearly ideal capacitive behaviour in aqueous electrolytes, rendering it an important electrode material for low-cost, high-power energy storage devices. The mechanism of electrochemical capacitance in birnessite has been described as both Faradaic (involving redox) and non-Faradaic (involving only electrostatic interactions). To clarify the capacitive mechanism, we characterized birnessite’s response to applied potential using ex situ X-ray diffraction, electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance, in situ Raman spectroscopy and operando atomic force microscope dilatometry to provide a holistic understanding of its structural, gravimetric and mechanical responses. These observations are supported by atomic-scale simulations using density functional theory for the cation-intercalated structure of birnessite, ReaxFF reactive force field-based molecular dynamics and ReaxFF-based grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations on the dynamics at the birnessite–water–electrolyte interface. We show that capacitive charge storage in birnessite is governed by interlayer cation intercalation. We conclude that the intercalation appears capacitive due to the presence of nanoconfined interlayer structural water, which mediates the interaction between the intercalated cation and the birnessite host and leads to minimal structural changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1689-1694
Number of pages6
JournalNature Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of interlayer confinement and hydration on capacitive charge storage in birnessite'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this