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Mapping Battery Materials with Atomic Precision
An international team led by Foundry researchers showed how the ratio of materials that make up a lithium-ion battery electrode affects its structure at the atomic level, and how the surface is very different from the rest of the material.
Significance and Impact
This study is the first to reveal that a cathode’s surface has a different structure than the interior. Knowing how the internal and surface structure of a battery material changes over a wide range of compositions will aid future studies on cathode transformations and could also lead to new battery materials.
- The researchers found that while the atoms in the interior of the cathode material remained in the same structural pattern across all compositions, decreasing the amount of lithium caused an increase in randomness in the position of certain atoms within the structure.
- Comparing different compositions of cathode material to battery performance, the researchers optimized performance in relation to capacity by using a lower ratio of lithium to other metals.
- The team took images of each batch of the cathode materials from multiple angles and created complete, 3-D renderings of each structure.
A. Shukla, Q.M. Ramasse, C. Ophus, D.M. Kepaptsoglou, F.S. Hage, C. Gammer, C. Bowling, P.A. Hernandez Gallegos, S. Venkatachalam. Energy Environ. Sci. Advance Article (2018). DOI: 10.1039/C7EE02443F