Phase Evolution and Degradation Modes of Rm LixNi1–yzCoyAlzO2 Electrodes Cycled Near Complete Delithiation

Practical utilization of energy densities near the theoretical limit for Rm layered oxide positive electrode materials is dependent on the stability of the electrochemical performance of these materials at or near full delithiation. To develop new chemistries and novel approaches toward the improvement of the electrochemical performance of these materials at such high states of charge, a robust understanding of the failure mechanisms limiting current materials is necessary. Thorough analysis of LixCo1–yAlyO2 and LixNi1–yAlyO2 as well as LixNi0.8Co0.2O2 and LixNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2 (1 ≥ x ≥ 0 and 0.2 ≥ y ≥ 0) enabled the identification of key relationships between the transition metal chemistry of the electrode, its structural stability, and cycling characteristics at or near complete delithiation (4.75 V). Extensive characterization of these materials was achieved by a multitude of physical and electrochemical techniques to investigate the relative importance of surface vs bulk phenomena. The resulting insights derived from these analyses highlight the importance of the intrinsic structural and mechanical stability of the electrode when highly delithiated and establish guidelines for identifying positive electrode materials with improved high state of charge performance. Particularly important is the contrasting electrochemical impact of Al substitution into LiCoO2- and LiNiO2-based materials, which is shown to likely arise from the enhanced propensity for Al ions to migrate to the tetrahedral site in Co-rich compounds at high states of delithiation.