Particle shapes and surface structures of olivine NaFePO4 in comparison to LiFePO4†
The expansion of batteries into electric vehicle and grid storage applications has driven the development of new battery materials and chemistries, such as olivine phosphate cathodes and sodium-ion batteries. Here we present atomistic simulations of the surfaces of olivine-structured NaFePO4 as a sodium-ion battery cathode, and discuss differences in its morphology compared to the lithium analogue LiFePO4. The calculated equilibrium morphology is mostly isometric in appearance, with (010), (201) and (011) faces dominant. Exposure of the (010) surface is vital because it is normal to the one-dimensional ion-conduction pathway. Platelet and cube-like shapes observed by previous microscopy studies are reproduced by adjusting surface energies. The results indicate that a variety of (nano)particle morphologies can be achieved by tuning surface stabilities, which depend on synthesis methods and solvent conditions, and will be important in optimising electrochemical performance.