Lithium manganate LixMn2O4 (LMO) is a lithium ion cathode that suffers from the widely observed but poorly understood phenomenon of capacity loss due to Mn dissolution during electrochemical cycling. Here, operando X-ray reflectivity (low- and high-angle) is used to study the structure and morphology of epitaxial LMO (111) thin film cathodes undergoing lithium insertion and extraction to understand the inter-relationships between biaxial strain and Mn-dissolution. The initially strain-relieved LiMn2O4 films generate in-plane tensile and compressive strains for delithiated (x < 1) and overlithiated (x > 1) charge states, respectively. The results reveal reversible Li insertion into LMO with no measurable Mn-loss for 0 < x < 1, as expected. In contrast, deeper discharge (x > 1) reveals Mn loss from LMO along with dramatic changes in the intensity of the (111) Bragg peak that cannot be explained by Li stoichiometry. These results reveal a partially reversible site reorganization of Mn ions within the LMO film that is not seen in bulk reactions and indicates a transition in Mn-layer stoichiometry from 3:1 to 2:2 in alternating cation planes. Density functional theory calculations confirm that compressive strains (at x = 2) stabilize LMO structures with 2:2 Mn site distributions, therefore providing new insights into the role of lattice strain in the stability of LMO.
- X-ray reflectivity
- lithium manganese oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Materials Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering