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Electronically conductive phospho-olivines as lithium storage electrodes.

Nature materials

chemistry, Silicates, Sensitivity and Specificity, Phosphates, Models, Molecular, Metals, methods, Materials Testing, Magnesium Compounds, Lithium, Iron Compounds, Iron, Electrodes, Electrochemistry, Electric Power Supplies, Electric Conductivity, Electric Capacitance

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      Lithium transition metal phosphates have become of great interest as storage cathodes for rechargeable lithium batteries because of their high energy density, low raw materials cost, environmental friendliness and safety. Their key limitation has been extremely low electronic conductivity, until now believed to be intrinsic to this family of compounds. Here we show that controlled cation non-stoichiometry combined with solid-solution doping by metals supervalent to Li+ increases the electronic conductivity of LiFePO4 by a factor of approximately 10(8). The resulting materials show near-theoretical energy density at low charge/discharge rates, and retain significant capacity with little polarization at rates as high as 6,000 mA x g(-1). In a conventional cell design, they may allow development of lithium batteries with the highest power density yet.

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