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Title: Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's "Deep Dive" Effort to Understand Voltage Fade in Li- and Mn-rich Cathodes

With roughly two-thirds of daily oil consumption in the United States allotted for transportation, the possibility of efficient and affordable electric vehicles suggests a way to substantially alleviate the Country’s dependence on oil and mitigate the rise of greenhouse gases. Although commercialized Li-ion batteries do not currently meet the stringent demands of a would-be, economically competitive, electrified vehicle fleet, significant efforts are being focused on promising new materials for the next generation of Li-ion batteries. The leading class of materials most suitable for the challenge is the Li- and manganese-rich class of oxides. Denoted as LMR-NMC (Li-manganese-rich, nickel, manganese, cobalt), these materials could significantly improve energy densities, cost, and safety, relative to state-of-the-art Ni- and Co-rich Li-ion cells, if successfully developed.1 The success or failure of such a development relies heavily on understanding two defining characteristics of LMR-NMC cathodes. The first is a mechanism whereby the average voltage of cells continuously decreases with each successive charge and discharge cycle. This phenomenon, known as voltage fade, decreases the energy output of cells to unacceptable levels too early in cycling. The second characteristic is a pronounced hysteresis, or voltage difference, between charge and discharge cycles. The hysteresis represents not only an energymore » inefficiency (i.e., energy in vs energy out) but may also complicate the state of charge/depth of discharge management of larger systems, especially when accompanied by voltage fade. n 2012, the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technologies, well aware of the inherent potential of LMR-NMC materials for improving the energy density of automotive energy storage systems, tasked a team of scientists across the National Laboratory Complex to investigate the phenomenon of voltage fade. Unique studies using synchrotron X-ray absorption (XAS) and high-resolution diffraction (HR-XRD) were coupled with nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), neutron diffraction, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), first-principles calculations, molecular dynamics simulations, and detailed electrochemical analyses. These studies demonstrated for the first time the atomic-scale, structure–property relationships that exist between nanoscale inhomogeneities and defects, and the macroscale, electrochemical performance of these layered oxides. These inhomogeneities and defects have been directly correlated with voltage fade and hysteresis, and a model describing these mechanisms has been proposed. This Account gives a brief summary of the findings of this recently concluded, approximately three-year investigation. Lastly, the interested reader is directed to the extensive body of work cited in the given references for a more comprehensive review of the subject.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). X-ray Science Division
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Accounts of Chemical Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 48; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 0001-4842
American Chemical Society
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Vehicle Technologies Office (EE-3V)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: