Nanoscale Voltage Enhancement at Cathode Interfaces in Li-Ion Batteries

Shenzhen Xu, Ryan Jacobs, Chris Wolverton, Thomas Kuech, Dane Morgan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Interfaces are ubiquitous in Li-ion battery electrodes, occurring across compositional gradients, across regions of multiphase intergrowths, and between electrodes and solid electrolyte interphases or protective coatings. However, the impact of these interfaces on Li energetics remains largely unknown. In this work, we calculated Li intercalation-site energetics across cathode interfaces and demonstrated the physics governing these energetics on both sides of the interface. We studied the olivine/olivine-structured LixFePO4/LixMPO4 (x = 0 and 1, M = Co, Ti, Mn) and layered/layered-structured LiNiO2/TiO2 interfaces to explore different material structures and transition metal elements. We found that across an interface from a high- to low-voltage material the Li voltage remains constant in the high-voltage material and decays approximately linearly in the low-voltage region, approaching the Li voltage of the low-voltage material. This effect ranges from 0.5 to 9 nm depending on the interfacial dipole screening. This effect provides a mechanism for a high-voltage material at an interface to significantly enhance the Li intercalation voltage in a low-voltage material over the nanometer scale. We showed that this voltage enhancement is governed by a combination of electron transfer (from low- to high-voltage regions), strain, and interfacial dipole screening. We explored the implications of this voltage enhancement for a novel heterostructured-cathode design and redox pseudocapacitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1229
Number of pages12
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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