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How to make lithium iron phosphate better: a review exploring classical modification approaches in-depth and proposing future optimization methods

Yang, Zhigao, Dai, Yu, Wang, Shengping, Yu, Jingxian
Journal of materials chemistry A 2016 v.4 no.47 pp. 18210-18222
cathodes, corrosion, electrochemistry, electrons, ions, iron phosphates, lithium, nanorods, nanotubes, nanowires, phase transition, system optimization
LiFePO₄ is still a promising cathode, which is inexpensive, nontoxic, environmentally benign, and most importantly safe. However, LiFePO₄ suffers from low conductivity and sluggish diffusion of lithium ions. Surface decoration, nanocrystallization and lattice substitution (doping) are modification approaches widely employed to promote the conductivity of electrons and the diffusion of lithium ions in the crystal lattices of LiFePO₄. This review focuses on discussing the functional mechanisms of these optimization methods from the extent of electron and lithium ion migration and the features of LiFePO₄, namely, its structure and phase transformation reactions. At the interface of LiFePO₄ and the electrolyte, decoration layers not only ensure the stability of LiFePO₄ by excluding HF corrosion and surface degradation, but also reduce charge transfer resistances for the surface reactions with fast lithium ions and electrons. When it comes to the lattices of LiFePO₄, nanocrystallization unblocks the diffusion path, as well as shortens the diffusion length of lithium ions. Decoration layers in the inner surface avoid slowing down the diffusion of lithium ions in the lattices throughout the reactions and maximize the utilization of LiFePO₄. Lattice substitutions, which increase the electronic conductivity by decreasing the band gap, interrupt the major advantage of LiFePO₄, the structural stability, which guarantees the safety as well as the cycling and rate performances. To make the electrochemical performance of LiFePO₄ better and overcome the contradiction about the miscibility gaps, [010]-oriented LiFePO₄ nanoflakes/nanomeshes/nanoplates, [100]-oriented or [001]-oriented nanorod/nanowire structures and nanowires/nanorods/nanotubes with a carbon/LiFePO₄/carbon coaxial structure (graphically shown in the text) can be developed in the future.