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Robust Atomic-Resolution Imaging of Lithium in Battery Materials by Center-of-Mass Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy...

by Michael J Zachman, Zhenzhong Yang, Yingge Du, Miaofang Chi
Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Nano
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1358 to 1367

The performance of energy storage materials is often governed by their structure at the atomic scale. Conventional electron microscopy can provide detailed information about materials at these length scales, but direct imaging of light elements such as lithium presents a challenge. While several recent techniques allow lithium columns to be distinguished, these typically either involve complex contrast mechanisms that make image interpretation difficult or require significant expertise to perform. Here, we demonstrate how center-of-mass scanning transmission electron microscopy (CoM-STEM) provides an enhanced ability for simultaneous imaging of lithium and heavier element columns in lithium ion conductors. Through a combination of experiments and multislice electron scattering calculations, we show that CoM-STEM is straightforward to perform and produces directly interpretable contrast for thin samples, while being more robust to variations in experimental parameters than previously demonstrated techniques. As a result, CoM-STEM is positioned to become a reliable and facile method for directly probing all elements within energy storage materials at the atomic scale.