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Native lattice strain induced structural earthquake in sodium layered oxide cathodes (batteries)

Argonne National Lab researchers develop new approach for overcoming the performance decline that occurs with repeated charge-discharge cycling in the cathodes of next generation batteries.

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Abstract
“High-voltage operation is essential for the energy and power densities of battery cathode materials, but its stabilization remains a universal challenge. To date, the degradation origin has been mostly attributed to cycling-initiated structural deformation while the effect of native crystallographic defects induced during the sophisticated synthesis process has been significantly overlooked. Here, using in situ synchrotron X-ray probes and advanced transmission electron microscopy to probe the solid-state synthesis and charge/discharge process of sodium layered oxide cathodes, we reveal that quenching-induced native lattice strain plays an overwhelming role in the catastrophic capacity degradation of sodium layered cathodes, which runs counter to conventional perception—phase transition and cathode interfacial reactions. We observe that the spontaneous relaxation of native lattice strain is responsible for the structural earthquake (e.g., dislocation, stacking faults and fragmentation) of sodium layered cathodes during cycling, which is unexpectedly not regulated by the voltage window but is strongly coupled with charge/discharge temperature and rate. Our findings resolve the controversial understanding on the degradation origin of cathode materials and highlight the importance of eliminating intrinsic crystallographic defects to guarantee superior cycling stability at high voltages.”

Find the open access technical paper here. Published Jan. 2022. Find Argonne National Lab’s news article here.

Xu, GL., Liu, X., Zhou, X. et al. Native lattice strain induced structural earthquake in sodium layered oxide cathodes. Nat Commun 13, 436 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-28052-x

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