The performances of electrochemical systems such as solid-state batteries (SSBs) can be severely hindered by the three-dimensional (3D) and mesoscopically inhomogeneous electrochemical reactions that take place in the electrodes. However, the majority of existing methods for analyzing such inhomogeneous reactions are restricted to one- or two-dimensional observations. Herein, we performed 3D operando imaging of the mesoscopically inhomogeneous electrochemical reaction in a composite SSB electrode using hard X-ray computed-tomography with X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy (CT-XANES). The 3D inhomogeneous reaction evolution during (dis)charge was successfully visualized for the first time. Furthermore, our 3D quantitative analysis unambiguously revealed the origin of the inhomogeneous reaction in the investigated electrode. Our results suggested that slow ion transport through active material particles can considerably restrict SSB performances. Our technique therefore provides new insights into the electrochemical reactions taking place in electrodes and enables us to maximize the performance of electrochemical systems.
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