Visualizing nanoscale 3D compositional fluctuation of lithium in advanced lithium-ion battery cathodes

A. Devaraj, M. Gu, R. Colby, P. Yan, C. M. Wang, J. M. Zheng, J. Xiao, A. Genc, J. G. Zhang, I. Belharouak, D. Wang, K. Amine, S. Thevuthasan

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50 Citations (Scopus)


The distribution of cations in Li-ion battery cathodes as a function of cycling is a pivotal characteristic of battery performance. The transition metal cation distribution has been shown to affect cathode performance; however, Li is notoriously challenging to characterize with typical imaging techniques. Here laser-assisted atom probe tomography (APT) is used to map the three-dimensional distribution of Li at a sub-nanometre spatial resolution and correlate it with the distribution of the transition metal cations (M) and the oxygen. As-fabricated layered Li<inf>1.2</inf> Ni<inf>0.2</inf> Mn<inf>0.6</inf> O<inf>2</inf> is shown to have Li-rich Li<inf>2</inf>MO<inf>3</inf> phase regions and Li-depleted Li(Ni<inf>0.5</inf> Mn<inf>0.5</inf>)O<inf>2</inf> regions. Cycled material has an overall loss of Li in addition to Ni-, Mn- and Li-rich regions. Spinel LiNi<inf>0.5</inf> Mn<inf>1.5</inf> O<inf>4</inf> is shown to have a uniform distribution of all cations. APT results were compared to energy dispersive spectroscopy mapping with a scanning transmission electron microscope to confirm the transition metal cation distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8014
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Devaraj, A., Gu, M., Colby, R., Yan, P., Wang, C. M., Zheng, J. M., Xiao, J., Genc, A., Zhang, J. G., Belharouak, I., Wang, D., Amine, K., & Thevuthasan, S. (2015). Visualizing nanoscale 3D compositional fluctuation of lithium in advanced lithium-ion battery cathodes. Nature Communications, 6, [8014].