Sensitivity and limitations of structures from X-ray and neutron-based diffraction analyses of transition metal oxide lithium-battery electrodes

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Journal Article
Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2017, 164 (9), pp. A1802 - A1811
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© 2017 The Electrochemical Society. Lithium transition metal oxides are an important class of electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries. Binary or ternary (transition) metal doping brings about new opportunities to improve the electrode's performance and often leads tomore complex stoichiometries and atomic structures than the archetypal LiCoO2. Rietveld structural analyses of X-ray and neutron diffraction data is a widely-used approach for structural characterization of crystalline materials. However, different structural models and refinement approaches can lead to differing results, and some parameters can be difficult to quantify due to the inherent limitations of the data. Here, through the example of LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2(NCA), we demonstrated the sensitivity of various structural parameters in Rietveld structural analysis to different refinement approaches and structural models, and proposed an approach to reduce refinement uncertainties due to the inexact X-ray scattering factors of the constituent atoms within the lattice. This refinement approach was implemented for electrochemically-cycled NCA samples and yielded accurate structural parameters using only X-ray diffraction data. The present work provides the best practices for performing structural refinement of lithium transition metal oxides.
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