For the development of thick film graphite electrodes, a 3D battery concept is applied, which significantly improves lithium-ion diffusion kinetics, high-rate capability, and cell lifetime and reduces mechanical tensions. Our current research indicates that 3D architectures of anode materials can prevent cells from capacity fading at high C-rates and improve cell lifespan. For the further research and development of 3D battery concepts, it is important to scientifically understand the influence of laser-generated 3D anode architectures on lithium distribution during charging and discharging at elevated C-rates. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is applied post-mortem for quantitatively studying the lithium concentration profiles within the entire structured and unstructured graphite electrodes. Space-resolved LIBS measurements revealed that less lithium-ion content could be detected in structured electrodes at delithiated state in comparison to unstructured electrodes. This result indicates that 3D architectures established on anode electrodes can accelerate the lithium-ion extraction process and reduce the formation of inactive materials during electrochemical cycling. Furthermore, LIBS measurements showed that at high C-rates, lithium-ion concentration is increased along the contour of laser-generated structures indicating enhanced lithium-ion diffusion kinetics for 3D anode materials. This result is correlated with significantly increased capacity retention. Moreover, the lithium-ion distribution profiles provide meaningful information about optimizing the electrode architecture with respect to film thickness, pitch distance, and battery usage scenario.
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