Lithiation-induced shuffling of atomic stacks

Anmin Nie, Yingchun Cheng, Yihan Zhu, Hasti Asayesh-Ardakani, Runzhe Tao, Farzad Mashayek, Yu Han, Udo Schwingenschlögl, Robert F. Klie, Sreeram Vaddiraju, Reza Shahbazian-Yassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, understanding the atomic-scale mechanism of Li-induced structural evolution occurring at the host electrode materials provides essential knowledge for design of new high performance electrodes. Here, we report a new crystalline-crystalline phase transition mechanism in single-crystal Zn-Sb intermetallic nanowires upon lithiation. Using in situ transmission electron microscopy, we observed that stacks of atomic planes in an intermediate hexagonal (h-)LiZnSb phase are "shuffled" to accommodate the geometrical confinement stress arising from lamellar nanodomains intercalated by lithium ions. Such atomic rearrangement arises from the anisotropic lithium diffusion and is accompanied by appearance of partial dislocations. This transient structure mediates further phase transition from h-LiZnSb to cubic (c-)Li2ZnSb, which is associated with a nearly "zero-strain" coherent interface viewed along the [001]h/[111]c directions. This study provides new mechanistic insights into complex electrochemically driven crystalline-crystalline phase transitions in lithium-ion battery electrodes and represents a noble example of atomic-level structural and interfacial rearrangements.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5301-5307
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 28 2014

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: R.S.-Y. acknowledges the financial support from the National Science Foundation (Awards No. CMMI-1200383 and DMR-1410560) and the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund (Award No. 51458-ND10). The acquisition of the UIC JEOL JEM-ARM200CF is supported by an MRI-R2 grant from the National Science Foundation (Award No. DMR-0959470). Support from the UIC Research Resources Center is also acknowledged.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemistry
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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