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High-throughput ab initio screening of binary solid solutions in olivine phosphates for Li-ion battery cathodes
A promising approach to improving the performance of iron-phosphate FePO4 cathode materials for Li-ion batteries is to partly or fully substitute Fe with other metals. Here, we use high-throughput density-functional theory (DFT) calculations to investigate binary mixtures of metal atoms M and M` in (Li)MyM`1-yPO4 olivine phosphates. We determine the formation energy for various stoichiometries of different binary combinations of metals for the cases of full lithiation and delithiation. Systematic screening of all combinations of Fe and Mn with elements of the 3d transition-metal (TM) series allows us to identify trends with average band filling and atomic size. We also included compounds that verify the observed relations or that were discussed as cathode materials, particularly Ni–Co, V–Cu and V–Ni, as well as combinations with 4d TMs (Fe–Zr, Fe–Mo, Fe–Ag) and with Mg (Fe–Mg and Ni–Mg). Based on our DFT calculations for each compound, we estimate the volume change during intercalation, the intercalation voltage, the energy density and the thermal stability with respect to reaction with oxygen. Our calculations indicate that the energy density of the binary TM phosphates increases with average band filling while the thermal stability of the compounds decreases.