PerspectiveLithium Batteries

Reining in dissolved transition-metal ions

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Science  10 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6500, pp. 140-141
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc5454

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Summary

With an increasing deployment of large-size lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) for applications beyond consumer electronics, critical questions surround their life span and safety. The LIB technology is based on oxide cathodes and graphite anodes developed in the 1980s (1). The current ∼350 cycle-life warranty (based on 100,000 miles and 300-mile range per full charge) (2) provided by major electric vehicle manufacturers falls short of the 1000 cycle-life target sought by the U.S. Department of Energy (3). As a result, a major focus has been to understand the fundamental factors that cause the degradation of LIBs. Among them, dissolution of transition-metal (TM) ions from the cathode into the liquid electrolyte has been recognized as a leading cause. We discuss the causes of the dissolution of certain metal ions from the cathode into the electrolyte, including the possible role of electronic structure.

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