In-situ TEM of microstructural evolution in composite Li-ion battery electrodes

Researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) have studied the structural integrity of a novel composite electrode composed of a  polymer-derived ceramic nanoparticle and edge-functionalized graphene oxide during electrochemical lithiation and delithiation cycles for battery applications. The researchers assembled a prototype nanobattery cell components such as lithium metal and SiCNO composite and performed in-situ TEM lithation and delithation for at least 2 cycles using Hummingbird Scientific Biasing Manipulator TEM holder. The observed results demonstrated extraordinary structural stability of the SiCNO nanoparticles with only a 9.36% linear expansion during the lithiation (See Figure below). The lithium storage proceeded with two steps mechanism – (1) lithium intercalation in the graphitic carbon and (2) alloying with SiO2 and Si3N4 domains. The results are reported in the recent issue of ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

In-situ TEM microstructural evolution of SiCNO ceramic nanoparticles during the first two lithium charge and discharge cycles. The size of SICN (yellow line) increases upon lithiation and decreases during delithiation. The corresponding diffraction pattern during the lithiation shows at least two-stage phase transformation. Copyright © 2021 American Chemical Society.


Reference: Zeyang Zhang, Jean E. Calderon, Saisaban Fahad, Licheng Ju, Dennis-Xavier Antony, Yang Yang, Akihiro Kushima, and Lei Zhai. “Polymer-Derived Ceramic Nanoparticle/Edge-Functionalized Graphene Oxide Composites for Lithium-Ion Storage,” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2021).  Full paper

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