3D Quantification of Elemental Gradients within Heterostructured Particles of Battery Cathodes

20 December 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Heterogenous architectures with elemental gradients tailored within particles have been pursued to combat the instabilities limiting Ni-rich cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. The growth of different compositional layers is accomplished during the synthesis of hydroxide precursors. However, the extent to which these concentration gradients are modified during high-temperature reactions is difficult to establish in their intact, spherical form. Here, we show the entire three-dimensional structure of a secondary particle can be resolved non-destructively with differential X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) through transmission X-ray microscopy (TXM). The relationship between particle location and elemental content was fully quantified, with high statistical significance, for heterostructures possessing different compositional gradients in the precursors with 90:5:5 Ni:Mn:Co core compositions. Reduced elemental heterogeneity was observed after high-temperature synthesis, but gradients remained. The methodology presented should be used to guide synthesis while assuring that gains in electrochemical performance are linked to precise elemental distributions at the nanoscale.


Transmission X-ray Microscopy
Full Concentration Gradient

Supplementary materials

Supplemental information and experimental details.


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