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Hierarchically Structured Core–Shell Design of a Lithium Transition-Metal Oxide Cathode Material for Excellent Electrochemical Performance

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posted on 04.01.2019, 00:00 by Jae-Hyun Shim, Young-Hoon Kim, Han-Sol Yoon, Han-A Kim, Ji-Soo Kim, Jongsik Kim, Nam-Hee Cho, Young-Min Kim, Sanghun Lee
Tuning geometrical parameters of lithium-mixed transition-metal oxide (LiTM) cathode materials is a promising strategy for resource-efficient design of high-performance Li-ion batteries. In this paper, we demonstrate that simple and facile geometrical tailoring of the secondary microstructure of LiTM cathode materials without complex chemical modification or heterostructure engineering can significantly improve overall electrochemical performance of the active cathode materials. An optimized LiTM with a bimodal size distribution of primary particles inside the secondary particles exhibits a 53.8% increase in capacity at a high discharge rate (10 C) compared to a commercially available reference and comparable rate capability after 100 charge/discharge cycles. The key concept of this approach is to maximize the beneficial effects arising from the controlled sizes of primary particles. Multimodal/multiscale microscopic characterizations based on electron tomography and scanning transmission electron microscopy, combined with electron energy-loss spectroscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy from the atomic level to the microscale level, were employed to elucidate structural origins of enhanced battery performance. This study paves the way for the resource-efficient microstructure design of LiTM cathode materials to maximize capacity and stability via simple adjustment of processing conditions, which is advantageous for mass-production applications.