Roles of transition metals interchanging with lithium in electrode materials†
Roles of antisite transition metals interchanging with Li atoms in electrode materials of Li transition-metal complex oxides were clarified using a newly developed direct labeling method, termed powder diffraction anomalous fine structure (P-DAFS) near the Ni K-edge. We site-selectively investigated the valence states and local structures of Ni in Li0.89Ni1.11O2, where Ni atoms occupy mainly the NiO2 host-layer sites and partially the interlayer Li sites in-between the host layers, during electrochemical Li insertion/extraction in a lithium-ion battery (LIB). The site-selective X-ray near edge structure evaluated via the P-DAFS method revealed that the interlayer Ni atoms exhibited much lower electrochemical activity as compared to those at the host-layer site. Furthermore, the present analyses of site-selective extended X-ray absorption fine structure performed using the P-DAFS method indicates local structural changes around the residual Ni atoms at the interlayer space during the initial charge; it tends to gather to form rock-salt NiO-like domains around the interlayer Ni. The presence of the NiO-like domains in the interlayer space locally diminishes the interlayer distance and would yield strain energy because of the lattice mismatch, which retards the subsequent Li insertion both thermodynamically and kinetically. Such restrictions on the Li insertion inevitably make the NiO-like domains electrochemically inactive, resulting in an appreciable irreversible capacity after the initial charge but an achievement of robust linkage of neighboring NiO2 layers that tend to be dissociated without the Li occupation. The P-DAFS characterization of antisite transition metals interchanging with Li atoms complements the understanding of the detailed charge-compensation and degradation mechanisms in the electrode materials.