Li2CuO2 is an important candidate material as a cathode in lithium ion batteries. Atomistic simulation methods are used to investigate the defect processes, electronic structure and lithium migration mechanisms in Li2CuO2. Here we show that the lithium energy of migration via the vacancy mechanism is very low, at 0.11 eV. The high lithium Frenkel energy (1.88 eV/defect) prompted the consideration of defect engineering strategies in order to increase the concentration of lithium vacancies that act as vehicles for the vacancy mediated lithium self-diffusion in Li2CuO2. It is shown that aluminium doping will significantly reduce the energy required to form a lithium vacancy from 1.88 eV to 0.97 eV for every aluminium introduced, however, it will also increase the migration energy barrier of lithium in the vicinity of the aluminium dopant to 0.22 eV. Still, the introduction of aluminium is favourable compared to the lithium Frenkel process. Other trivalent dopants considered herein require significantly higher solution energies, whereas their impact on the migration energy barrier was more pronounced. When considering the electronic structure of defective Li2CuO2, the presence of aluminium dopants results in the introduction of electronic states into the energy band gap. Therefore, doping with aluminium is an effective doping strategy to increase the concentration of lithium vacancies, with a minimal impact on the kinetics.
Bibliographical noteOpen Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
ASJC Scopus subject areas