Three-Dimensional Mapping of Resistivity and Microstructure of Composite Electrodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Caleb Stetson, Zoey Huey, Ali Downard, Zhifei Li, Bobby To, Andriy Zakutayev, Chun Sheng Jiang, Mowafak M. Al-Jassim, Donal P. Finegan, Sang Don Han, Steven C. Decaluwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus Citations


Nanoparticle silicon-graphite composite electrodes are a viable way to advance the cycle life and energy density of lithium-ion batteries. However, characterization of composite electrode architectures is complicated by the heterogeneous mixture of electrode components and nanoscale diameter of particles, which falls beneath the lateral and depth resolution of most laboratory-based instruments. In this work, we report an original laboratory-based scanning probe microscopy approach to investigate composite electrode microstructures with nanometer-scale resolution via contrast in the electronic properties of electrode components. Applying this technique to silicon-based composite anodes demonstrates that graphite, SiOx nanoparticles, carbon black, and LiPAA binder are all readily distinguished by their intrinsic electronic properties, with measured electronic resistivity closely matching their known material properties. Resolution is demonstrated by identification of individual nanoparticles as small as ~20 nm. This technique presents future utility in multiscale characterization to better understand particle dispersion, localized lithiation, and degradation processes in composite electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8081-8088
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-77837


  • Composite electrode
  • Electrode nanostructure
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Three-dimensional resistivity mapping


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