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Nanosecond Laser Annealing of NMC 811 Cathodes for Enhanced Performance

by Nayna Khosla, Jagdish Narayan, Roger Narayan, Xiao-guang Sun, Mariappan Paranthaman
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Journal of the Electrochemical Society
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Improved performance of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) plays a critical role in the future of next- generation battery applications. Nickel-rich layered oxides such as LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2 (NMC 811), are popular cathodes due to their high energy densities. However, they suffer from high surface reactivity, which results in the formation of Li2CO3 passive layer. Herein, we show the role of nanosecond pulsed laser annealing (PLA) in improving the current capacity and cycling stability of LIBs by reducing the carbonate layer, in addition to forming a protective LiF layer and manipulating the NMC 811 microstructures. We use high-power nanosecond laser pulses in a controlled way to create nanostructured surface topography which has a positive impact on the capacity retention and current capacity by providing an increased active surface area, which influences the diffusion kinetics of lithium-ions in the electrode materials during the battery cycling process. Advanced characterizations show that the PLA treatment results in the thinning of the passive Li2CO3 layer, which is formed on as-received NMC811 samples, along with the decomposition of excess polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) binder. The high-power laser interacts with the decomposed binder and surface Li+ to form LiF phase, which acts as a protective layer to prevent surface reactive sites from initiating parasitic reactions. As a result, the laser treated cathodes show relative increase of the current capacity of up to 50%, which is consistent with electrochemical measurements of LiB cells.