Optimizing Li‐Excess Cation‐Disordered Rocksalt Cathode Design Through Partial Li Deficiency
Li-excess disordered rocksalts (DRXs) are emerging as promising cathode materials for Li-ion batteries due to their ability to use earth-abundant transition metals. In this work, a new strategy based on partial Li deficiency engineering is introduced to optimize the overall electrochemical performance of DRX cathodes. Specifically, by using Mn-based DRX as a proof-of-concept, it is demonstrated that the introduction of cation vacancies during synthesis (e.g., Li1.3-xMn2+0.4-xMn3+xNb0.3O1.6F0.4, x = 0, 0.2, and 0.4) improves both the discharge capacity and rate performance due to the more favored short-range order in the presence of Mn3+. Density functional theory calculations and Monte Carlo simulations, in combination with spectroscopic tools, reveal that introducing 10% vacancies (Li1.1Mn2+0.2Mn3+0.2Nb0.3O1.6F0.4) enables both Mn2+/Mn3+ redox and excellent Li percolation. However, a more aggressive vacancy doping (e.g., 20% vacancies in Li0.9Mn3+0.4Nb0.3O1.6F0.4) impairs performance because it induces phase separation between an Mn-rich and a Li-rich phase.