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Size Dependent Pore Formation in Germanium Nanowires Undergoing Reversible Delithiation Observed by In Situ TEM

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posted on 05.12.2016, 00:00 by Xiaotang Lu, Yang He, Scott X. Mao, Chong-min Wang, Brian A. Korgel
Germanium (Ge) nanowires coated with an amorphous silicon (Si) shell undergoing lithiation and delithiation were studied using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Delithiation creates pores in nanowires with diameters larger than ∼25 nm, but not in smaller diameter nanowires. The formation of pores in Ge nanowires undergoing delithiation has been observed before in in situ TEM experiments, but there has been no indication that a critical diameter exists below which pores do not form. Pore formation occurs as a result of fast lithium diffusion compared to vacancy migration. We propose that a short diffusion path for vacancies to the nanowire surface plays a role in limiting pore formation even when lithium diffusion is fast.