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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Atomic resolution of Lithium Ions in LiCoO

  • Author(s): Shao-Horn, Yang
  • Croguennec, Laurence
  • Delmas, Claude
  • Nelson, Chris
  • O'Keefe, Michael A.
  • et al.

LiCoO2 is the most common lithium storage material for lithium rechargeable batteries, used widely to power portable electronic devices such as laptop computers. Lithium arrangements in the CoO2 framework have a profound effect on the structural stability and electrochemical properties of LixCoO2 (0 < x < 1), however, probing lithium ions has been difficult using traditional X-ray and neutron diffraction techniques. Here we have succeeded in simultaneously resolving columns of cobalt, oxygen, and lithium atoms in layered LiCoO2 battery material using experimental focal series of LiCoO2 images obtained at sub-Angstrom resolution in a mid-voltage transmission electron microscope. Lithium atoms are the smallest and lightest metal atoms, and scatter electrons only very weakly. We believe our observations of lithium to be the first by electron microscopy, and that they show promise to direct visualization of the ordering of lithium and vacancy in LixCoO2.

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