For layered NCM compounds differing explanations for capacity loss when charged above 4.5 V vs. Li/Li+ have been presented. Kang et. Al. and others suggested that capacity loss in NCM materials cycled to high upper cut-off voltages is due to a structural rearrangement at the near-surface of the layered oxide. This structural degradation leads to a dramatic increase in electrochemical polarization, and is in contrast to the formation of a resistive surface film formed by electrolyte decomposition (4) (5) (6). Still, electrolyte additives have been found to suppress structural re-arrangement of NCM compounds, indicating that the electrode-electrolyte interface, rather than a purely structural phenomenon, is involved in NCM capacity loss (5) (6). Thus, from these studies it’s not clear how a simple mechanical mixture of spinel and layered compounds could influence the interfacial degradation of NCM. Our work has found that there are indeed significant changes to LiNi0.5Co0.2Mn0.3O2 surface chemistry as observed by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) after a few electrochemical cycles indicating newly formed C-O and C-F bonds, shown in Figure 1A. Meanwhile, when comparing the potentiodynamic behavior of the layered LiNi0.5Co0.2Mn0.3O2 to high voltage spinel-structured LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4, an apparent irreversible oxidation peak is observed in the layered compound near 4.8 V vs. Li/Li+, which is coincident with the split reversible oxidation peaks observed for the spinel compound. This overlap in apparent reversible and irreversible behaviors may play a key role in determining the surface chemistry of blended cathode materials and will be discussed further during our presentation.
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