Coherency Strain and the Kinetics of Phase Separation in LiFePO<sub>4</sub> Nanoparticles

2015-12-16T21:11:57Z (GMT) by Daniel A. Cogswell Martin Z. Bazant
A theoretical investigation of the effects of elastic coherency strain on the thermodynamics, kinetics, and morphology of intercalation in single LiFePO<sub>4</sub> nanoparticles yields new insights into this important battery material. Anisotropic elastic stiffness and misfit strains lead to the unexpected prediction that low-energy phase boundaries occur along {101} planes, while conflicting reports of phase boundary orientations are resolved by a partial loss of coherency in the [001] direction. Elastic relaxation near surfaces leads to the formation of a striped morphology with a characteristic length scale predicted by the model, yielding an estimate of the interfacial energy. The effects of coherency strain on solubility and galvanostatic discharge are studied with a reaction-limited phase-field model that quantitatively captures the influence of misfit strain, particle size, and temperature on solubility seen in experiments. Coherency strain strongly suppresses phase separation during discharge, which enhances rate capability and extends cycle life. The effects of elevated temperature and the feasibility of nucleation are considered in the context of multiparticle cathodes.