To Which Extent Is Paramagnetic Solid-State NMR Able To Address Polymorphism in Complex Transition-Metal Oxides?

J Phys Chem Lett. 2018 Oct 18;9(20):6072-6076. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.8b02569. Epub 2018 Oct 4.


A detailed characterization of the polymorphs constituting cathode materials, both before and after cell cycling, is mandatory to develop more stable and powerful lithium batteries. In many cases, e.g., for transition metal lithium silicates, standard diffraction techniques cannot give a clear-cut response. Here we show that broadband adiabatic fast MAS NMR can give unique information in the case of model Li2(Mn,Fe)SiO4 high-capacity cathode materials. By coupling 7Li and 29Si 1D and 2D spectra, we are able to address polymorphs speciation also in the mixed Mn/Fe compositions, which is a nearly impossible task for X-rays and neutrons diffraction. We finally discuss the conditions under which this approach is useful when applied to rare nuclei such as 29Si.