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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1084. doi: 10.1038/srep01084. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Direct observation of lithium-ion transport under an electrical field in LixCoO2 nanograins.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Magnetic Materials and Devices, Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering (NIMTE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Zhejiang, Ningbo 315201, People's Republic of China.


The past decades have witnessed the development of many technologies based on nanoionics, especially lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Now there is an urgent need for developing LIBs with good high-rate capability and high power. LIBs with nanostructured electrodes show great potentials for achieving such goals. However, the nature of Li-ion transport behaviors within the nanostructured electrodes is not well clarified yet. Here, Li-ion transport behaviors in Li(x)CoO(2) nanograins are investigated by employing conductive atomic force microscopy (C-AFM) technique to study the local Li-ion diffusion induced conductance change behaviors with a spatial resolution of ~10 nm. It is found that grain boundary has a low Li-ion diffusion energy barrier and provides a fast Li-ion diffusion pathway, which is also confirmed by our first principles calculation. This information provides important guidelines for designing high performance LIBs from a point view of optimizing the electrode material microstructures and the development of nanoionics.

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