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Designing Better Performing Batteries

National Synchrotron Light Source

National Synchrotron Light Source

Using x-rays at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), researchers have studied the nanoscale workings of a lithium-ion battery, learning new information about the chemical reactions and structural changes that take place inside the cell. 

Lab scientists used a newly developed x-ray technique, transmission x-ray microscopy (TXM), to study a lithium-ion battery anode during multiple charge-discharge cycles. Combined with a  more conventional x-ray technique, x-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy, or XANES, information is provided that illuminates not only the morphological changes of the electrode, but also the chemical reactions that take place as the battery is cycled. 

Hard x-rays such as those used in TXM have energies on the more powerful end of the x-ray spectrum. They are naturally suited for this kind of study as they are non-destructive to samples, sensitive to the elemental makeup of samples, and pose virtually zero risk to the environment. The hard x-rays penetrate the battery and reveal information about how it works at the nanoscale. 

The results of the study will help guide future designs of better-performing lithium-ion batteries, which are widely used to power consumer electronics.

Learn more about designing better performing batteries.

2013-4302  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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