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Understanding how intercalation materials change during electrochemical operation is paramount to optimizing their behaviour and function and in situ characterization methods allow us to observe these changes without sample destruction. Here we first report the improved intercalation properties of bronze phase vanadium dioxide VO2 (B) prepared by a microwave-assisted route which exhibits a larger electrochemical capacity (232 mAh g−1) compared with VO2 (B) prepared by a solvothermal route (197 mAh g−1). These electrochemical differences have also been followed using in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy allowing us to follow oxidation state changes as they occur during battery operation.

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