Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) has been used intensively in investigating battery materials, e.g. to obtain phase maps of partially (dis)charged (lithium) iron phosphate (LFP/FP), which is one of the most promising cathode material for next generation lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. Due to the weak interaction between Li atoms and fast electrons, mapping of the Li distribution is not straightforward. In this work, we revisited the issue of TEM measurements of Li distribution maps for LFP/FP. Different TEM techniques, including spectroscopic techniques (energy filtered (EF)TEM in the energy range from low-loss to core loss) and a STEM diffraction technique (automated crystal orientation mapping (ACOM)), were applied to map the lithiation of the same location in the same sample. This enabled a direct comparison of the results. The maps obtained by all methods showed excellent agreement with each other. Because of the strong difference in the imaging mechanisms, it proves the reliability of both the spectroscopic and STEM diffraction phase mapping. A comprehensive comparison of all methods is given in terms of information content, dose level, acquisition time and signal quality. The latter three are crucial for the design of in situ experiments with beam sensitive Li-ion battery materials. Furthermore, we demonstrated the power of STEM diffraction (ACOM-STEM) providing additional crystallographic information, which can be analyzed to gain a deeper understanding of the LFP/FP interface properties such as statistical information on phase boundary orientation and misorientation between domains.
- Phase map
- Li-ion battery