Effect of Passivating Shells on the Chemistry and Electrode Properties of LiMn2O4 Nanocrystal HeterostructuresLatest updated: January 20, 2020
Bob Jin Kwon, Fulya Dogan, Jacob Jokisaari, Baris Key, Chunjoong Kim, Yi-Sheng Liu, Jinghua Guo, Robert F Klie, and Jordi Cabana
Building a stable chemical environment at the cathode/electrolyte interface is directly linked to the durability of Li-ion batteries with high energy density. Recently, colloidal chemistry methods have enabled the design of core–shell nanocrystals of Li1+xMn2–xO4, an important battery cathode, with passivating shells rich in Al3+ through a colloidal synthetic route. These heterostructures combine the presence of redox-inactive ions on the surface to minimize undesired reactions, with the coverage of each individual particle in an epitaxial manner. Although they improve electrode performance, the exact chemistry and structure of the shell as well as the precise effect of the ratio between the shell and the active core remain to be elucidated. Correlation of these parameters to electrode properties would serve to tailor the heterostructure design toward complete shutdown of undesired reactions. These knowledge gaps are the target of this study. Li1+xMn2–xO4 nanocrystals with Al3+-rich shells of different thicknesses were synthesized. Multimodal characterization comprehensively revealed the elemental distribution, electronic state, and crystallinity in the heterostructures, which confirmed the potential of this approach to finely tune passivating layers. All of the modified nanocrystals improved the capacity retention while retaining charge storage compared to the bare counterpart, even under harsh conditions.