MRS Bulletin

Scanning probes for new energy materials: Probing local structure and function

Scanning probes for new energy materials: Probing local structure and function

Nanoscale impedance and complex properties in energy-related systems

Wonyoung Leea1, Fritz B. Prinza2, Xi Chena3, S. Nonnenmanna4, Dawn A. Bonnella5 and Ryan P. O’Hayrea6

a1 Nuclear Science and Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; leewy@mit.edu

a2 Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Departments, Stanford University; fbp@cdr.stanford.edu

a3 Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania; xich@seas.upenn.edu

a4 Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania; ssn@seas.upenn.edu

a5 Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania; bonnell@lrsm.upenn.edu

a6 Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Colorado School of Mines; rohayre@mines.edu

Abstract

Atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based impedance spectroscopy provides localized impedance information of materials and interfaces at the nanoscale by utilizing the conductive AFM tip as a moving electrode to detect current response as a function of time and frequency under controlled environments. This capability enables AFM-based nanoscale impedance measurements to play a unique role in enhancing our understanding of many electronic and electrochemical devices. This article introduces the central concepts of AFM-based impedance measurement and reviews recent examples applying this technique to a variety of functional materials systems, in particular focusing on fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, photoactive biomembranes, as well as other application examples.

Key Words:

  • scanning probe microscopy;
  • ionic conductor;
  • surface chemistry;
  • electrical properties;
  • energy generation;
  • energy storage
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