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Publication Detail
Imaging the Phase Transformation in Single Particles of the Lithium Titanate Anode for Lithium-Ion Batteries
Abstract
© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society. Lithium uptake and release in lithium titanate (LTO) anode materials during a discharge and charge cycle is one of the fundamental processes of a lithium-ion battery (LIB), still not fully understood at the microscopic level. During the discharge cycle, LTO undergoes a phase transformation between Li4Ti5O12 and Li7Ti5O12 states within a cubic crystal lattice. To reveal the details of the microscopic mechanism, it is necessary to track the sequence of phase transformations at different discharge/charge states under operating conditions. Here, we use in situ Bragg coherent diffraction imaging (BCDI) and in situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) experiments to examine the lithium insertion-induced materials phase transformation within a single LTO particle and a bulk battery analogue, respectively. BCDI analysis from (111) Bragg peak shows the two-phase transformation manifesting as a distinct image phase modulation within a single LTO nanoparticle occurring in the middle of the discharge region then subsiding toward the end of the discharge cycle. We observe the biggest phase variation at the two-phase stage, indicating the formation of phase domains of 200 nm in size during the discharge process. We also observe a lattice contraction of >0.2% in a single LTO nanoparticle at the (400) Bragg peak measurement, larger than that in the corresponding bulk material. Our observation of this phase transformation at a single-particle level has implications for the understanding of the microscopic/mesoscale picture of the phase transformation in anode and cathode LIBs materials.
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