Feasibility of Cathode Surface Coating Technology for High-Energy Lithium-ion and Beyond-Lithium-ion Batteries
Cathode material degradation during cycling is one of the key obstacles to upgrading lithium-ion and beyond-lithium-ion batteries for high-energy and varied-temperature applications. Herein, we highlight recent progress in material surface-coating as the foremost solution to resist the surface phase-transitions and cracking in cathode particles in mono-valent (Li, Na, K) and multi-valent (Mg, Ca, Al) ion batteries under high-voltage and varied-temperature conditions. Importantly, we shed light on the future of materials surface-coating technology with possible research directions. In this regard, we provide our viewpoint on a novel hybrid surface-coating strategy, which has been successfully evaluated in LiCoO2-based-Li-ion cells under adverse conditions with industrial specifications for customer-demanding applications. The proposed coating strategy includes a first surface-coating of the as-prepared cathode powders (by sol-gel) and then an ultra-thin ceramic-oxide coating on their electrodes (by atomic-layer deposition). What makes it appealing for industry applications is that such a coating strategy can effectively maintain the integrity of materials under electro-mechanical stress, at the cathode particle and electrode- levels. Furthermore, it leads to improved energy-density and voltage retention at 4.55 V and 45 °C with highly loaded electrodes (≈24 mg.cm-2). Finally, the development of this coating technology for beyond-lithium-ion batteries could be a major research challenge, but one that is viable.