Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Chemical and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Yang-Tse Cheng


Layered lithium transition-metal oxides (LMOs) are used as the positive electrode material in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Because transition metals undergo redox reactions when lithium ions intercalate in and disintercalate from the lattice, the selection and composition of transition metals largely influence the electrochemical performance of LMOs. Recently, a Ni-rich compound, LiNi0.8Co0.1Mn0.1O2 (NCM811), has drawn much attention. It is expected to replace its state-of-the-art cousins, LiCoO2 (LCO) and LiNi1/3Co1/3Mn1/3O2 (NCM111), because of its higher capacity, lower cost, and reduced toxicity. However, the excess Ni, as a transition-metal element in NCM811, can cause structural and cycling instability.

Starting from NCM811, I modified the composition of transition metals by two approaches: 1) introducing cobalt deficiency and 2) substituting Ni, Co, and Mn with Zr. Their influences on the phase, structure, cycling performance, rate capability, and ionic transport were investigated by a variety of characterization techniques. I found that cobalt non-stoichiometry can suppress Ni2+/Li+ cation mixing, but simultaneously promotes the formation of oxygen vacancies, leading to rapid capacity fade and inferior rate capability compared to pristine NCM811. On the other hand, Zr can reside on and expand the lattice of NCM811, and form Li-rich lithium zirconates on their surfaces. In particular, 1% Zr substitution can increase the stability of NCM811 and facilitate Li-ion transport, resulting in enhanced cycling durability and high-rate performance. My studies help improve the understanding of the effects of transition metals on the degradation of the Ni-rich layered positive electrode material and provide modification strategies to enhance its performance and durability for Li-ion battery applications.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This research was partially supported by US National Science Foundation Award 1355438 (Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future).