Trace doping of multiple elements enables stable battery cycling of LiCoO2 at 4.6 V

LiCoO2 is a dominant cathode material for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries due to its high volumetric energy density, which could potentially be further improved by charging to high voltages. However, practical adoption of high-voltage charging is hindered by LiCoO2’s structural instability at the deeply delithiated state and the associated safety concerns. Here, we achieve stable cycling of LiCoO2 at 4.6 V (versus Li/Li+) through trace Ti–Mg–Al co-doping. Using state-of-the-art synchrotron X-ray imaging and spectroscopic techniques, we report the incorporation of Mg and Al into the LiCoO2 lattice, which inhibits the undesired phase transition at voltages above 4.5 V. We also show that, even in trace amounts, Ti segregates significantly at grain boundaries and on the surface, modifying the microstructure of the particles while stabilizing the surface oxygen at high voltages. These dopants contribute through different mechanisms and synergistically promote the cycle stability of LiCoO2 at 4.6 V.

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