Operando Atomic Force Microscopy Reveals Mechanics of Structural Water Driven Battery-to-Pseudocapacitor Transition. Academic Article uri icon


  • The presence of structural water in tungsten oxides leads to a transition in the energy storage mechanism from battery-type intercalation (limited by solid state diffusion) to pseudocapacitance (limited by surface kinetics). Here, we demonstrate that these electrochemical mechanisms are linked to the mechanical response of the materials during intercalation of protons and present a pathway to utilize the mechanical coupling for local studies of electrochemistry. Operando atomic force microscopy dilatometry is used to measure the deformation of redox-active energy storage materials and to link the local nanoscale deformation to the electrochemical redox process. This technique reveals that the local mechanical deformation of the hydrated tungsten oxide is smaller and more gradual than the anhydrous oxide and occurs without hysteresis during the intercalation and deintercalation processes. The ability of layered materials with confined structural water to minimize mechanical deformation likely contributes to their fast energy storage kinetics.

published proceedings

  • ACS Nano

altmetric score

  • 105.17

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, R., Mitchell, J. B., Gao, Q., Tsai, W., Boyd, S., Pharr, M., Balke, N., & Augustyn, V.

citation count

  • 42

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Ruocun||Mitchell, James B||Gao, Qiang||Tsai, Wan-Yu||Boyd, Shelby||Pharr, Matt||Balke, Nina||Augustyn, Veronica

publication date

  • June 2018