Lithium manganese oxide modified with copper-gold nanocomposite cladding- a potential novel cathode material for spinel type lithium-ion batteries
Spinel lithium manganese oxide (LiMn2O4), for its low cost, easy preparation and nontoxicity, is regarded as a promising cathode material for lithium-ion batteries. However, a key problem prohibiting it from large scale commercialization is its severe capacity fading during cycling. The improvement of electrochemical cycling stability is greatly attributed to the suppression of Jahn-Teller distortion (Robertson et al., 1997) at the surface of the spinel LiMn2O4 particles. These side reactions result in Mn2+ dissolution mainly at the surface of the cathode during cycling, therefore surface modification of the cathode is deemed an effective way to reduce side reactions. The utilization of a nanocomposite which comprises of metallic Cu and Au were of interest because their oxidation gives rise to a variety of catalytically active configurations which advances the electrochemical property of Li-ion battery. In this research study, an experimental strategy based on doping the LiMn2O4 with small amounts of Cu-Au nanocomposite cations for substituting the Mn3+ ions, responsible for disproportionation, was employed in order to increase conductivity, improve structural stability and cycle life during successive charge and discharge cycles. The spinel cathode material was synthesized by coprecipitation method from a reaction of lithium hydroxide and manganese acetate using 1:2 ratio. The Cu-Au nanocomposite was synthesized via a chemical reduction method using copper acetate and gold acetate in a 1:3 ratio. Powder samples of LiMxMn2O4 (M = Cu-Au nanocomposite) was prepared from a mixture of stoichiometric amounts of Cu-Au nanocomposite and LiMn2O4 precursor. The novel LiMxMn2O4 material has a larger surface area which increases the Li+ diffusion coefficient and reduces the volumetric changes and lattice stresses caused by repeated Li+ insertion and expulsion. Structural and morphological sample analysis revealed that the modified cathode material have good crystallinity and well dispersed particles. These results corroborated the electrochemical behaviour of LiMxMn2O4 examined by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The diffusion coefficients for LiMn2O4 and LiMxMn2-xO4 obtained are 1.90 x10-3 cm2 / s and 6.09 x10-3 cm2 / s respectively which proved that the Cu-Au nanocomposite with energy band gap of 2.28 eV, effectively improved the electrochemical property. The charge / discharge value obtained from integrating the area under the curve of the oxidation peak and reduction peak for LiMxMn2-xO4 was 263.16 and 153.61 mAh / g compared to 239.16 mAh / g and 120 mAh / g for LiMn2O4. It is demonstrated that the presence of Cu-Au nanocomposite reduced side reactions and effectively improved the electrochemical performance of LiMn2O4.