Understanding and recent development of carbon coating on LiFePO4 cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries
Olivine-structured LiFePO4 has been the focus of research in developing low cost, high performance cathode materials for lithium ion batteries. Various processes have been developed to synthesize LiFePO4 or C/LiFePO4 (carbon coating on LiFePO4), and some of them are being used to mass produce C/LiFePO4 at the commercial or pilot scale. Due to the low intrinsic electronic and ionic conductivities of LiFePO4, the decrease of particle size and the nano-layer of carbon coating on LiFePO4 particle surfaces are necessary to achieve a high electrochemical performance. Significant progress has been made in understanding and controlling phase purity, particle size and carbon coating of the C/LiFePO4 composite material in the past. However, there are still many challenges in achieving a high quality product with high consistency. In this review, we summarize some of the recent progress and advances based on selected reports from peer-reviewed journal publications. Several typical synthesis methods and the effect of carbon coating quality on the properties of C/LiFePO4 composite are reviewed. An insight into the future research and further development of C/LiFePO4 composite is also discussed.