Observations of the initial lithiation of NiO electrodes demonstrate how to seed conversion reactions using interfaces in a thin film Ni/NiO bilayer architecture. Operando X-ray reflectivity (XRR) reveals that structural changes in a NiO film begin at potentials near the theoretical reduction potential (1.8-2.0 V) with detectable lithiation of both the buried Ni/NiO interface and the outer NiO surface that occur prior to the reaction of the NiO film. This initial conversion reaction is most pronounced in ultrathin NiO films (∼20 Å) with only small changes to the NiO film surface for thicker films (∼67 Å). The limited reactivity of thicker NiO films probed using operando grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) shows the growth of nanoparticles at the electrode/electrolyte interface during initial lithium ion insertion, with a 16-20 Å average radius. Ex situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), and scanning transmission electron microscopy/electron energy loss spectroscopy (STEM/EELS) confirm our conclusions about the morphological changes accompanying initial stage of lithiation in these conversion reaction electrodes. The present study reveals the interconnected challenges of solid-solid transitions, overpotentials, interfacial nucleation and kinetics, and transition metal dissolution in conversion-type electrodes that are critical for their use as electrodes in lithium-ion batteries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry