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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Jul 18;134(28):11740-8. doi: 10.1021/ja3042228. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Site-specific transition metal occupation in multicomponent pyrophosphate for improved electrochemical and thermal properties in lithium battery cathodes: a combined experimental and theoretical study.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Republic of Korea.


As an attempt to develop lithium ion batteries with excellent performance, which is desirable for a variety of applications including mobile electronics, electrical vehicles, and utility grids, the battery community has continuously pursued cathode materials that function at higher potentials with efficient kinetics for lithium insertion and extraction. By employing both experimental and theoretical tools, herein we report multicomponent pyrophosphate (Li(2)MP(2)O(7), M = Fe(1/3)Mn(1/3)Co(1/3)) cathode materials with novel and advantageous properties as compared to the single-component analogues and other multicomponent polyanions. Li(2)Fe(1/3)Mn(1/3)Co(1/3)P(2)O(7) is formed on the basis of a solid solution among the three individual transition-metal-based pyrophosphates. The unique crystal structure of pyrophosphate and the first principles calculations show that different transition metals have a tendency to preferentially occupy either octahedral or pyramidal sites, and this site-specific transition metal occupation leads to significant improvements in various battery properties: a single-phase mode for Li insertion/extraction, improved cell potentials for Fe(2+)/Fe(3+) (raised by 0.18 eV) and Co(2+)/Co(3+) (lowered by 0.26 eV), and increased activity for Mn(2+)/Mn(3+) with significantly reduced overpotential. We reveal that the favorable energy of transition metal mixing and the sequential redox reaction for each TM element with a sufficient redox gap is the underlying physical reason for the preferential single-phase mode of Li intercalation/deintercalation reaction in pyrophosphate, a general concept that can be applied to other multicomponent systems. Furthermore, an extremely small volume change of ~0.7% between the fully charged and discharged states and the significantly enhanced thermal stability are observed for the present material, the effects unseen in previous multicomponent battery materials.

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