, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 315–321 | Cite as

Tuning electrochemical potential of LiCoO2 with cation substitution: first-principles predictions and electronic origin

  • Arun Kumar Varanasi
  • Arghya Bhowmik
  • Tanmay Sarkar
  • Umesh V. Waghmare
  • Mridula Dixit Bharadwaj
Original Paper


With a goal to improve the performance of LiCoO2 as a cathode material in Li-ion batteries, we simulate substitution of various elements (X = Be, Mg, Al, Ga, Si and Ti) for Co using first-principles density functional theory and predict changes in its electrochemical potential. While the electrochemical potential of LiCoO2 is enhanced with substitution of Be, Mg, Al and Ga for Co, an opposite effect is predicted of Si and Ti substitution. We determine the electronic origin of these changes in electrochemical potential using (a) Bader method of topological analysis of charge density, (b) partial density of electronic states to estimate oxidation states of metal and oxygen, and charge re-distribution upon lithiation. We find that the distribution of electronic charge donated by Li is influenced by the nature of the X–O bond. A larger electron transfer to O (in XO6 octahedron) upon lithiation leads to stronger Li intercalation and thereby higher electrochemical voltage. Our findings provide a platform for a rational design of cathode materials in Li batteries with enhanced voltage.


Lithium-ion battery cathode Density functional theory Bader charge analysis Electrochemical potential 



We express our gratitude to N. Balasubramanian, R. Krishnan, V.S. Arunachalam of CSTEP and AK Shukla (SSCU, IISc) for their advice during this study. This work was partly funded by the DRDO, India via the grant ERIP/ER/0906002/M/01/1201. Part of this work was supported under the US-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Research (PACE-R) for the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (SERIIUS), funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Technology Program, under Subcontract DE-AC36-08GO28308 to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado) and the Government of India, through the Department of Science and Technology under Subcontract IUSSTF/JCERDC-SERIIUS/2012 dated 22nd Nov. 2012.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arun Kumar Varanasi
    • 1
  • Arghya Bhowmik
    • 1
  • Tanmay Sarkar
    • 1
  • Umesh V. Waghmare
    • 2
  • Mridula Dixit Bharadwaj
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Study of Science Technology & PolicyBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Theoretical Sciences UnitJawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific ResearchBangaloreIndia

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