Understanding the Origins of Higher Capacities at Faster Rates in Lithium-Excess LixNi2-4x/3Sbx/3O2
N. Twu, M. Metzger, M. Balasubramanian, C. Marino, X. Li, H. Chen, H. A. Gasteiger, and G. Ceder, “Understanding the Origins of Higher Capacities at Faster Rates in Lithium-Excess LixNi2-4x/3Sbx/3O2”, Chem. Mater., 29 (6), 2584-2593 (2017), DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b04691.
The lithium-excess LixNi2–4x/3Sbx/3O2 (LNSO) materials were previously shown to demonstrate higher capacities and improved cyclability with increasing lithium content. While the performance trend is promising, observed capacities are much lower than theoretical capacities, pointing to a need for further understanding of active redox processes in these materials. In this work, we study the electrochemical behavior of the LNSO materials as a function of lithium content and at slow and fast rates. Surprisingly, Li1.15Ni0.47Sb0.38O2 (LNSO-15) exhibits higher discharge capacities at faster rates and traverses distinct voltage curves at slow and fast rates. To understand these two peculiarities, we characterize the redox activity of nickel, antimony, and oxygen at different rates. While experiments confirm some nickel redox activity and oxygen loss, these two mechanisms cannot account for all observed capacity. We propose that the balance of the observed capacity may be due to reversible oxygen redox and that the rate-dependent voltage curve features may derive from irreversible nickel migration occurring on slow charge. As future high energy density cathodes are likely to contain both lithium excess and high nickel content, both of these findings have important implications for the development of novel high capacity cathode materials.