Letter abstract


Nature Materials 7, 707 - 711 (2008)
Published online: 10 August 2008 | doi:10.1038/nmat2251

Subject Categories: Materials for energy | Characterisation and analytical techniques

Experimental visualization of lithium diffusion in LixFePO4

Shin-ichi Nishimura1, Genki Kobayashi1, Kenji Ohoyama2, Ryoji Kanno1, Masatomo Yashima3 & Atsuo Yamada1

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Chemical energy storage using batteries will become increasingly important for future environmentally friendly ('green') societies. The lithium-ion battery is the most advanced energy storage system, but its application has been limited to portable electronics devices owing to cost and safety issues1. State-of-the-art LiFePO4 technology as a new cathode material with surprisingly high charge–discharge rate capability has opened the door for large-scale application of lithium-ion batteries such as in plug-in hybrid vehicles2, 3, 4, 5. The scientific community has raised the important question of why a facile redox reaction is possible in the insulating material6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Geometric information on lithium diffusion is essential to understand the facile electrode reaction of LixFePO4 (0<x<1), but previous approaches have been limited to computational predictions15, 16. Here, we provide long-awaited experimental evidence for a curved one-dimensional chain for lithium motion. By combining high-temperature powder neutron diffraction and the maximum entropy method, lithium distribution along the [010] direction was clearly visualized.

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  1. Department of Electronic Chemistry, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta, Midori, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan
  2. Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
  3. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta, Midori, Yokohama 226-8502, Japan

Correspondence to: Atsuo Yamada1 e-mail: yamada@echem.titech.ac.jp



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