Mutual modulation between surface chemistry and bulk microstructure within secondary particles of nickel-rich layered oxides
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Surface lattice reconstruction is commonly observed in nickel-rich layered oxide battery cathode materials, causing unsatisfactory high-voltage cycling performance. However, the interplay of the surface chemistry and the bulk microstructure remains largely unexplored due to the intrinsic structural complexity and the lack of integrated diagnostic tools for a thorough investigation at complementary length scales. Herein, by combining nano-resolution X-ray probes in both soft and hard X-ray regimes, we demonstrate correlative surface chemical mapping and bulk microstructure imaging over a single charged LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2 (NMC811) secondary particle. We reveal that the sub-particle regions with more micro cracks are associated with more severe surface degradation. A mechanism of mutual modulation between the surface chemistry and the bulk microstructure is formulated based on our experimental observations and finite element modeling. Such a surface-to-bulk reaction coupling effect is fundamentally important for the design of the next generation battery cathode materials.