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.
|Publication status||Published - 30 Apr 2018|
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