Posted in | News | Nanomaterials | Nanoenergy

Study Explains Performance Behavior of LiFePO4 Nanoparticles

A study by Martin Z. Bazant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has discovered the reasons behind the unusual charging and discharging behavior of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) nanoparticles, paving the way to develop high-efficient battery materials.

The molecular structure of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4)

According to Bazant’s theory, beyond a critical current, the LiFePO4 nanoparticles do not entertain phase separation that occurs at lower power levels, due to increased reaction rate. The nanomaterials cross a unique ‘quasi-solid solution’ state near the critical current and thus do not have time to finish the phase separation. These qualities are helpful in defining the suitability of the material for rechargeable batteries, Bazant added.

Earlier studies of the LiFePO4 nanoparticles did not investigate the dynamics of their characteristics. Here, Bazant and Daniel Cogswell investigated the changes in the material when it is used, for instance, during charging or discharging a battery.

It was widely believed that lithium steadily soaks to enter into the particles, resulting in the formation of a shrinking lithium-poor material core at the center. Here, the MIT team discovered that the lithium creates straight parallel lithium-rich bands inside every particle and these bands pass through the particles as they get charged up. However, separation does not occur at all, either in layers or in bands at higher electric-current levels, but the lithium is soaked up by each particle all at once, thus instantaneously shifting from lithium-poor to lithium-rich.

Besides explaining the performance of LiFePO4, these findings are helpful in describing its durability. The boundaries of stripes of different phases act as a strain source, causing cracking and thus degrading the performance of the material. However, when the entire material changes immediately no such boundaries are created, resulting in less degradation. Moreover, Bazant and Cogswell believe that working at a little higher temperature may make the substance last longer, which is against normal material behavior. These characteristics of the nanoparticles can only be witnessed at their actual nano-scale, Bazant concluded.

The research findings will be published in ACS Nano.



Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2019, February 12). Study Explains Performance Behavior of LiFePO4 Nanoparticles. AZoNano. Retrieved on April 16, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Study Explains Performance Behavior of LiFePO4 Nanoparticles". AZoNano. 16 April 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Study Explains Performance Behavior of LiFePO4 Nanoparticles". AZoNano. (accessed April 16, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2019. Study Explains Performance Behavior of LiFePO4 Nanoparticles. AZoNano, viewed 16 April 2024,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.