Electrochemical intercalation can enable lithium extraction from dilute water sources. However, during extraction, co-intercalation of lithium and sodium ions occurs, and the response of host materials to this process is not fully understood. This aspect limits the rational materials designs for improving lithium extraction. Here, to address this knowledge gap, we report one-dimensional (1D) olivine iron phosphate (FePO4) as a model host to investigate the co-intercalation behavior and demonstrate the control of lithium selectivity through intercalation kinetic manipulations. Via computational and experimental investigations, we show that lithium and sodium tend to phase separate in the host. Exploiting this mechanism, we increase the sodium-ion intercalation energy barrier by using partially filled 1D lithium channels via non-equilibrium solid-solution lithium seeding or remnant lithium in the solid-solution phases. The lithium selectivity enhancement after seeding shows a strong correlation with the fractions of solid-solution phases with high lithium content (i.e., LixFePO4 with 0.5 ≤ x < 1). Finally, we also demonstrate that the solid-solution formation pathway depends on the host material’s particle morphology, size and defect content.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)