Mapping nitrogen heteroatoms in carbon fibres using atom probe tomography and photoelectron spectroscopy
Journal article, 2021

Carbon fibres show great potential as multifunctional negative electrode for novel structural battery composites – a rechargeable electrochemical cell with structural function. The electrochemical performance of carbon materials can be enhanced with nitrogen heteroatoms, which conveniently are inherent in polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based carbon fibres. However, it is not fully understood how the electrochemical performance is governed by microstructure and composition of the carbon fibres, particularly the distribution and chemical states of nitrogen heteroatoms. Here we reveal the atom-by-atom three-dimensional spatial distribution and the chemical states of nitrogen in three PAN-carbon fibre types (M60J, T800 and IMS65), using atom probe tomography (APT) and synchrotron hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (HAXPES), and correlate the results to electrochemical performance. The findings pave the way for future tailoring of carbon fibre microstructure for multifunctional applications.

Hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy



Carbon fibres

Atom probe tomography



Marcus Johansen

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Materials and manufacture

Christoph Schlueter

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Eric Tam

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Materials and manufacture

Leif Asp

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Material and Computational Mechanics

Fang Liu

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Materials and manufacture


0008-6223 (ISSN)

Vol. 179 20-27

Towards multifunctional batteries – insights into carbon fibres in dynamic electrochemical and mechanical processes

Swedish Energy Agency (2018-004406), 2019-01-01 -- 2023-12-31.

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Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Materials Engineering

Paper, Pulp and Fiber Technology

Other Materials Engineering

Composite Science and Engineering

Areas of Advance



Materials Science


Basic sciences


Chalmers Materials Analysis Laboratory



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