Pursuing Better Rate Performance of Li-Rich Layered Cathode Materials for Li-Ion Batteries

Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Expo Center, 1st Floor, Center and Right Foyers (Moon Palace Resort)
L. Li (National University of Singapore), Y. L. Zhang (National Taiwan University), H. Xia (Nanjing University of Science and Technology), B. H. Song (University of Oxford), J. R. Yang (National Taiwan University), K. S. Lee, and L. Lu (National University of Singapore)
The high-energy-density Li-rich layered materials are promising cathode materials for the next-generation high-performance lithium-ion batteries1. They have attracted a lot of attentions due mainly to their high reversible capacity of more than 250 mAh·g-1 at low charge-discharge current. However several drawbacks still hinder their applications, such as the poor rate capability2

To conquer this critical issue, the present study is focused on surface modification of Li-rich layered cathode materials to improve their rate capability as well as maintain the high capacity retention of the pristine material. Surface treatment is conducted on Li1.2Mn0.54Ni0.13Co0.13Ousing NH4F by thermal annealing at low temperature. Material characterizations reveal that the modification process triggers fluorine doping and phase transition (Figure 1) from the layered phase to a spinel phase at the particle surface. Figure 2 shows the rate performances of the pristine Li1.2Mn0.54Ni0.13Co0.13Oand the modified materials. The pristine material could deliver a high reversible capacity of about 250 mAh·g-1 at 0.1C (25 mA·g-1). However, its discharge capacity decreases to 109 mAh·g-1 at 1C, which is only 43% of the capacity at 0.1C. Compared with the pristine material, both the materials modified by 5 wt.% and 10 wt.% NH4F can deliver a discharge capacity over 140 mAh·g-1at 1C, which is more than 70% of their discharge capacities at 0.1C. Particularly, the material modified by 20 wt.% NH4F has a discharge capacity as high as 172 mAh·g-1 at 1C, which is about 87% of its capacity at 0.1C.  Moreover at even higher rate like 5C, the discharge capacity of the material modified by 20 wt.% NH4F still can reach 126 mAh·g-1 while that of pristine one is only 41 mAh·g-1. Generally, the NH4F modified Li1.2Mn0.54Ni0.13Co0.13Oexhibits greatly improved rate performance and satisfactory cycling stability compared to the pristine one, which can be attributed to the modified particle surface. Firstly, the spinel shell of the particle provides three-dimensional Li+ ion diffusion paths3, which creates fully opened surface, enabling fast Li+ ion transfer at the electrode/electrolyte interface. Secondly, the formation of spinel shell prevents the Ni segregation at the surface, thus suppressing its negative effect on Liion diffusion. Finally, the fluorine doped spinel surface improves the surface stability during wide-voltage-range charge-discharge process, resulting in improved cycling stability.

The enhancement in the electrochemical properties of the modified materials as a function of the NH4F amount is comprehensively investigated using powder X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and electrochemical tests.


1. Whittingham, M. S., Lithium batteries and cathode materials. Chemical Reviews 2004, 104(10), 4271-4301.

2. Thackeray, M. M.; Kang, S.-H.; Johnson, C. S.; Vaughey, J. T.; Benedek, R.; Hackney, S. A., Li2MnO3-stabilized LiMO2 (M = Mn, Ni, Co) electrodes for lithium-ion batteries. Journal of Materials Chemistry 2007, 17(30), 3112.

3. Song, B.; Liu, H.; Liu, Z.; Xiao, P.; Lai, M. O.; Lu, L., High rate capability caused by surface cubic spinels in Li-rich layer-structured cathodes for Li-ion batteries. Scientific reports 2013, 3.