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Issue 3, 2017
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A density functional theory study of the carbon-coating effects on lithium iron borate battery electrodes

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Abstract

Lithium iron borate (LiFeBO3) is a promising cathode material due to its high theoretical specific capacity, inexpensive components and small volume change during operation. Yet, challenges related to severe air- and moisture-induced degradation have prompted the utilization of a protective coating on the electrode which also improves the electronic conductivity. However, not much is known about the preferential geometries of the coating as well as how these coating–electrode interfaces influence the lithium diffusion between the coating and the electrode. Here, we therefore present a density functional theory (DFT) study of the anchoring configurations of carbon coating on the LiFeBO3 electrode and its implications on the interfacial lithium diffusion. Due to large barriers associated with Li-ion diffusion through a parallel-oriented pristine graphene coating on the FeBO3 and LiFeBO3 electrode surfaces, large structural defects in the graphene coating are required for fast Li-ion diffusion. However, such defects are expected to exist only in small concentrations due to their high formation energies. Alternative coating geometries were therefore investigated, and the configuration in which the coating layers were anchored normal to the electrode surface at B and O atoms was found to be most stable. Nudged elastic band (NEB) calculations of the lithium diffusion barriers across the interface between the optimally oriented coating layers and the electrode show no kinetic limitations for lithium extraction and insertion. Additionally, this graphite-coating configuration showed partial blocking of electrode-degrading species.

Graphical abstract: A density functional theory study of the carbon-coating effects on lithium iron borate battery electrodes

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Sep 2016, accepted on 04 Dec 2016 and first published on 08 Dec 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6CP06312H
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017,19, 2087-2094
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    A density functional theory study of the carbon-coating effects on lithium iron borate battery electrodes

    S. Loftager, J. M. García-Lastra and T. Vegge, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, 19, 2087
    DOI: 10.1039/C6CP06312H

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