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Direct imaging and manipulation of ionic diffusion in mixed electronic–ionic conductors

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Abstract

Next generation Li-ion batteries require improved energy densities, power output and safety to satisfy the demands of emerging technologies. All solid state 3D thin-film batteries (ASB) based on nanoionics are considered as frontrunners to enable all this. In order to facilitate the introduction of this new architecture, a homogeneous electrochemical activity and a high ionic diffusivity of the electrodes is key. However, nanometer-resolved techniques to probe structural, electrical and electrochemical properties of the battery components are still limited. Here we propose a study that combines conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) for structural and electrical characterization. In addition, a novel concept called ion-modulated C-AFM (imC-AFM) is introduced to also sense the electrochemical activity of ions in confined volumes. Using the aforementioned methodologies, LixMn2O4 thin film cathodes are studied observing: (1) a direct correlation between electrical conductivity and local chemistry. (2) A non-uniform Li-ion electrochemical activity (i.e. ionic conductivity) on the cathode's surface with a clear enhancement in grain boundaries (GBs). Finally, (3) imC-AFM observes a high volume expansion associated with high Li incorporation. This work introduces a novel pathway for the rapid analysis of materials to be used in ASB.

Graphical abstract: Direct imaging and manipulation of ionic diffusion in mixed electronic–ionic conductors

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Apr 2018, accepted on 25 May 2018 and first published on 28 May 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8NR02887G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2018, Advance Article
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    Direct imaging and manipulation of ionic diffusion in mixed electronic–ionic conductors

    J. Op de Beeck, N. Labyedh, A. Sepúlveda, V. Spampinato, A. Franquet, T. Conard, P. M. Vereecken and U. Celano, Nanoscale, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8NR02887G

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