Author(s): Amos CD, Roldan MA, , Varela M, , , Amos CD, Roldan MA, , Varela M, ,
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Abstract The spinel Li[Mn2]O4 is a candidate cathode for a Li-ion battery, but its capacity fades over a charge/discharge cycle of Li1-x[Mn2]O4 (0 < x < 1) that is associated with a loss of Mn to the organic-liquid electrolyte. It is known that the disproportionation reaction 2Mn(3+) = Mn(2+) + Mn(4+) occurs at the surface of a Mn spinel, and it is important to understand the atomic structure and composition of the surface of Li[Mn2]O4 in order to understand how Mn loss occurs. We report a study of the surface reconstruction of Li[Mn2]O4 by aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy. The atomic structure coupled with Mn-valence and the distribution of the atomic ratio of oxygen obtained by electron energy loss spectroscopy reveals a thin, stable surface layer of Mn3O4, a subsurface region of Li1+x[Mn2]O4 with retention of bulk Li[Mn2]O4. This observation is compatible with the disproportionation reaction coupled with oxygen deficiency and a displacement of surface Li(+) from the Mn3O4 surface phase. These results provide a critical step toward understanding how Mn is lost from Li[Mn2]O4, once inside a battery.
This article was published in Nano Lett
and referenced in Journal of Material Sciences & Engineering