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Ab Initio Study on Surface Segregation and Anisotropy of Ni-Rich LiNi1–2yCoyMnyO2 (NCM) (y ≤ 0.1) Cathodes

Liang, Chaoping, Longo, Roberto C., Kong, Fantai, Zhang, Chenxi, Nie, Yifan, Zheng, Yongping, Cho, Kyeongjae
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.7 pp. 6673-6680
anisotropy, cathodes, coatings, deformation, density functional theory, electrochemistry, lithium batteries, nanomaterials, nickel, nickel oxide, oxygen
Advances in ex situ and in situ (operando) characteristic techniques have unraveled unprecedented atomic details in the electrochemical reaction of Li-ion batteries. To bridge the gap between emerging evidences and practical material development, an elaborate understanding on the electrochemical properties of cathode materials on the atomic scale is urgently needed. In this work, we perform comprehensive first-principle calculations within the density functional theory + U framework on the surface stability, morphology, and elastic anisotropy of Ni-rich LiNi₁–₂yCoyMnyO₂ (NCM) (y ≤ 0.1) cathode materials, which are strongly related to the emerging evidence in the degradation of Li-ion batteries. On the basis of the surface stability results, the equilibrium particle morphology is obtained, which is mainly determined by the oxygen chemical potential. Ni-rich NCM particles are terminated mostly by the (012) and (001) surfaces for oxygen-poor conditions, whereas the termination corresponds to the (104) and (001) surfaces for oxygen-rich conditions. Besides, Ni surface segregation predominantly occurs on the (100), (110), and (104) nonpolar surfaces, showing a tendency to form a rocksalt NiO domain on the surface because of severe Li–Ni exchange. The observed elastic anisotropy reveals that an uneven deformation is more likely to be formed in the particles synthesized under poor-oxygen conditions, leading to crack generation and propagation. Our findings provide a deep understanding of the surface properties and degradation of Ni-rich NCM particles, thereby proposing possible solution mechanisms to the factors affecting degradation, such as synthesis conditions, coating, or novel nanostructures.