Our work unraveling the strange phase separation in single-phase lithium-intercalating layered oxides has been published in Nature Materials: “Fictitious Phase Separation in Li Layered Oxides Driven by Electro-Autocatalysis.” Three co-first authors (Jungjin Park, Hongbo Zhao, and myself) from the Chueh group (Stanford) and Bazant group (MIT) have contributed to the work.
Non-equilibrium phase evolution & Reaction-limitation
We show the apparent phase separation is a non-equilibrium phenomenon. When an overall reaction rate is forced on a collection of particles, and the reaction rate of each particle is self-accelerating, the particle ensemble can behave like a phase-separating material!
A critical revelation from studying this non-equilibrium phenomenon: cycling battery particles is reaction-limited rather than diffusion-limited. People might find this message surprising. If you find yourself still scratching your head after reading the paper, please check out my other research post offering a more detailed explanation.
I will also be running an FAQ post about our paper, so please check it out to see more discussion.