ACS Cent Sci. 2022 Jun 22;8(6):775-794. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.2c00238. Epub 2022 May 23.
Dependence on lithium-ion batteries for automobile applications is rapidly increasing. The emerging use of anionic redox can boost the energy density of batteries, but the fundamental origin of anionic redox is still under debate. Moreover, to realize anionic redox, many reported electrode materials rely on manganese ions through π-type interactions with oxygen. Here, through a systematic experimental and theoretical study on a binary system of Li3NbO4-NiO, we demonstrate for the first time the unexpectedly large contribution of oxygen to charge compensation for electrochemical oxidation in Ni-based materials. In general, for Ni-based materials, e.g., LiNiO2, charge compensation is achieved mainly by Ni oxidation, with a lower contribution from oxygen. In contrast, for Li3NbO4-NiO, oxygen-based charge compensation is triggered by structural disordering and σ-type interactions with nickel ions, which are associated with a unique environment for oxygen, i.e., a linear Ni-O-Ni configuration in the disordered system. Reversible anionic redox with a small hysteretic behavior was achieved for LiNi2/3Nb1/3O2 with a cation-disordered Li/Ni arrangement. Further Li enrichment in the structure destabilizes anionic redox and leads to irreversible oxygen loss due to the disappearance of the linear Ni-O-Ni configuration and the formation of unstable Ni ions with high oxidation states. On the basis of these results, we discuss the possibility of using σ-type interactions for anionic redox to design advanced electrode materials for high-energy lithium-ion batteries.