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Probing Sources of Capacity Fade in LiNi0.6Mn0.2Co0.2O2 (NMC622): An Operando XRD Study of Li/NMC622 Batteries during Extended Cycling

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journal contribution
posted on 06.04.2020 by Calvin D. Quilty, David C. Bock, Shan Yan, Kenneth J. Takeuchi, Esther S. Takeuchi, Amy C. Marschilok
LiNi0.6Mn0.2Co0.2O2 (NMC622) is one of the most promising Li-ion battery cathodes as it delivers high capacity at high potentials. However, high potentials also lead to decreases in capacity retention where the disintegration of the secondary particles has been implicated as a major driving force of this capacity fade. This has been attributed to anisotropic lattice changes and increased microstrain during cycling. To probe how these factors affect capacity fade, Li/NMC622 batteries were cycled from 3 to 4.3 or 4.7 V and probed with operando X-ray diffraction (XRD) over the 1st, 2nd, and 101st cycles. Further characterization with scanning electron microscopy and inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy was also performed. The use of operando XRD over many cycles allowed for the collection of detailed structural information in real time over a time frame in which fading can be observed. During the first two cycles, the cells charged to 4.7 V exhibit increased anisotropic lattice changes as compared to the cells charged to 4.3 V. Upon the 101st cycle, when significant fade has been observed, the cells charged to 4.3 and 4.7 V show identical lattice changes to one another, while the 4.7 V charge limit induces more microstrain. This shows that elevated microstrain at high charge limits is a major driver for particle disintegration in NMC622 cathodes. This study provides important insights into the mechanisms of particle disintegration and capacity fade in NMC/Li-ion batteries, which will enable the design of NMC electrodes that deliver both higher capacities and exhibit better capacity retention.