The α-molybdenum trioxide has attracted much attention for proton storage owing to its easily modified bilayer structure, fast proton insertion kinetics, and high theoretical specific capacity. However, the fundamental science of the proton insertion mechanism in α-molybdenum trioxide has not been fully understood. Herein, we uncover a three-proton intercalation mechanism in α-molybdenum trioxide using a specially designed phosphoric acid based liquid crystalline electrolyte. The semiconductor-to-metal transition behavior and the expansion of the lattice interlayers of α-molybdenum trioxide after trapping one mole of protons are verified experimentally and theoretically. Further investigation of the morphology of α-molybdenum trioxide indicates its fracture behavior upon the proton intercalation process, which creates diffusion channels for hydronium ions. Notably, the observation of an additional redox behavior at low potential endows α-molybdenum trioxide with an improved specific discharge capacity of 362 mAh g−1.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 7 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-09-11
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). We thank Dr. Thom Leach, Amoeba Studios KAUST for making the illustrations.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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