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Polyoxyanion compounds, particularly the olivine-phosphate LiFePO4, are receiving considerable attention as alternative cathodes for rechargeable lithium batteries. More recently, an entirely new class of polyoxyanion cathodes based on the orthosilicates, Li2MSiO4 (where M = Mn, Fe, and Co), has been attracting growing interest. In the case of Li2FeSiO4, iron and silicon are among the most abundant and lowest cost elements, and hence offer the tantalising prospect of preparing cheap and safe cathodes from rust and sand! This Highlight presents an overview of recent developments and future challenges of silicate cathode materials focusing on their structural polymorphs, electrochemical behaviour and nanomaterials chemistry.
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