Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Charging makes nano-sized electrodes swell, elongate and spiral

This nano-sized battery reveals how positive lithium ions flood the negative electrode (blue), changing the size, shape and nature of the material (the green part of the electrode). Some rechargeable materials might be more resilient than others to the repeated shape-changing. Credit Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
This nano-sized battery reveals how positive lithium ions flood the negative electrode (blue), changing the size, shape and nature of the material (the green part of the electrode). Some rechargeable materials might be more resilient than others to the repeated shape-changing. Credit Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Abstract:
High-resolution video shows how batteries wear out over time

Charging makes nano-sized electrodes swell, elongate and spiral

Richland, WA | Posted on December 14th, 2010

New high resolution images of electrode wires made from materials used in rechargeable lithium ion batteries shows them contorting as they become charged with electricity. The thin, nano-sized wires writhe and fatten as lithium ions flow in during charging, according to a paper in this week's issue of the journal Science. The work suggests how rechargeable batteries eventually give out and might offer insights for building better batteries.

Battery developers know that recharging and using lithium batteries over and over damages the electrode materials, but these images at nanometer scale offer a real-life glimpse into how. Thin wires of tin oxide, which serve as the negative electrode, fatten by a third and stretch twice as long due to lithium ions coursing in. In addition, the lithium ions change the tin oxide from a neatly arranged crystal to an amorphous glassy material.

"Nanowires of tin oxide were able to withstand the deformations associated with electrical flow better than bulk tin oxide, which is a brittle ceramic," said Chongmin Wang, a materials scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "It reminds me of making a rope from steel — you wind together thinner wires rather than making one thick rope."

In one of the videos (*) the nanowire appears like a straw, while the lithium ions seem like a beverage being sucked up through it. Repeated shape changes could damage the electrode materials by introducing tiny defects that accumulate over time.

Chasing Electrons

In previous work at DOE's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory on the PNNL campus, Wang, PNNL chemist Wu Xu and other colleagues succeeded in taking a snapshot of a larger nanowire of about one micrometer — or one-hundredth the width of a human hair — that had been partially charged. But the experimental set-up didn't show charging in action.

To view the dynamics of an electrode being charged, Wang and Xu teamed up with Jianyu Huang at DOE's Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and others. The team used a specially outfitted transmission electron microscope to set up a miniature battery. This instrument allowed them to image smaller wires of about 200 nanometers in diameter (about a fifth the width of the previous nanowires) while charging it.

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries work because lithium ions love electrons. Positively charged lithium ions normally hang out in the positive electrode, where a metal oxide shares its electrons with lithium. But charging a battery pumps free electrons into the negative electrode, which sits across a lake of electrolytes through which lithium ions can swim but electrons can't. The lithium desires the electrons on the negative side of the lake more than the electrons it shares with the metal oxide on the positive side. So lithium ions flow from the positive to the negative electrode, pairing up with free electrons there.

But electrons are fickle. Using a battery in a device allows the electrons to slip out of the negative electrode, leaving the lithium ions behind. So without free electron companions, the lithium ions return to the positive electrode and the metal oxide's embrace.

Wang's miniature battery included a positive electrode of lithium cobalt oxide and a negative electrode made from thin nanowires of tin oxide. Between the two electrodes, an electrolyte provided a conduit for lithium ions and a barrier for electrons. The electrolyte was specially designed to withstand the conditions in the microscope.

When the team charged the miniature battery at a constant voltage, lithium ions wicked up through the tin oxide wire, drawn by the electrons at the negative electrode. The wire fattened and lengthened by about 250 percent in total volume, and twisted like a snake.

In addition, the microscopy showed that the wire started out in a crystalline form. But the lithium ions changed the tin oxide to a glassy material, in which atoms are arranged more randomly than in a crystal. The researchers concluded the amount of deformation occurring during charging and use might wear down battery materials after a while. Even so, the tin oxide appeared to fare better as a nanowire than in its larger, bulk form.

"We think this work will stimulate new thinking for energy storage in general," said Wang. "This is just the beginning, and we hope with continued work it will show us how to design a better battery."

Future work will include imaging what happens when such a miniature battery is repeatedly charged and discharged. When a battery gets used, the lithium ions must run back through the tin oxide wire and across the electrolyte to the positive electrode. How much structural damage the receding lithium leaves in its wake will help researchers understand why rechargeable batteries stop working after being recharged so many times.

The researchers would also like to develop a fully functioning nano-sized rechargeable battery.

Reference: Jian Yu Huang, Li Zhong, Chong Min Wang, John P. Sullivan, Wu Xu, Li Qiang Zhang, Scott X. Mao, Nicholas S. Hudak, Xiao Hua Liu, Arunkumar Subramanian, Hong You Fan, Liang Qi, Akihiro Kushima, Ju Li, In situ observation of the electrochemical lithiation of a single SnO2 nanowire electrode, Dec. 10, 2010, Science, DOI 10.1126/science.1195628.

This work was supported by EMSL and the Department of Energy Office of Science.

(*) mt.seas.upenn.edu/Stuff/JianyuHuang/Upload/S1.mov

####

About Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory where interdisciplinary teams advance science and technology and deliver solutions to America's most intractable problems in energy, the environment and national security. PNNL employs 4,900 staff, has an annual budget of nearly $1.1 billion, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Mary Beckman
PNNL
(509) 375-3688

Copyright © Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Protein Building Blocks for Nanosystems: Scientists develop method for producing bio-based materials with new properties April 17th, 2015

Oxford Instruments commissions high field outsert magnet system for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory 32 Tesla magnet program April 17th, 2015

QD Vision Expands Product Line with Two-Millimeter Color LCD Display Optic: Color IQ™ Optic Enables Full-Color Gamut for Ultra-Thin Displays and All-in-One Computers April 16th, 2015

The National Science Foundation names engineering researcher Andrea Alú its Alan T. Waterman awardee for 2015: Alú is a pioneer in the field of metamaterials who has developed "cloaking" technology to make objects invisible to sensors April 16th, 2015

Chemistry

Protein Building Blocks for Nanosystems: Scientists develop method for producing bio-based materials with new properties April 17th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Oxford Instruments commissions high field outsert magnet system for the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory 32 Tesla magnet program April 17th, 2015

The National Science Foundation names engineering researcher Andrea Alú its Alan T. Waterman awardee for 2015: Alú is a pioneer in the field of metamaterials who has developed "cloaking" technology to make objects invisible to sensors April 16th, 2015

Long Island Capital Alliance Announces Participants for Brookhaven National Laboratory Technology Transfer Capital Forum on May 8: Keynote Speaker Dr. Doon Gibbs, Director of Brookhaven National Laboratory April 16th, 2015

Major advance in artificial photosynthesis poses win/win for the environment: Berkeley Lab researchers perform solar-powered green chemistry with captured CO2 April 16th, 2015

Possible Futures

A glass fiber that brings light to a standstill: By coupling photons to atoms, light in a glass fiber can be slowed down to the speed of an express train; for a short while it can even be brought to a complete stop April 9th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015

Nanocomposites Market Growth, Industry Outlook To 2020 by Grand View Research, Inc. March 21st, 2015

Appointments/Promotions/New hires/Resignations/Deaths

Nanion Technologies Appoints James Costantin as Director of Customer Relations: Nanion is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. James Costantin as Director of Customer Relations at Nanion Technologies Inc. March 31st, 2015

Nanofilm Appoints Senior Sales/Marketing Executives: Don Tecco, Director of Optical Sales, North America and Rex Talbott, Business Director Optical Products March 23rd, 2015

KIT Increases Commitment in Asia: DAAD Funds Two New Projects: Strategic Partnerships with Chinese Universities and Communi-cation Technologies Network February 22nd, 2015

SouthWest Nanotechnologies CEO Dave Arthur Appointed to the Board of Affiliates of Rice University Professional Science Master’s Program February 13th, 2015

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves: In the future, clean alternatives such as harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves may help ease the world's energy shortage April 15th, 2015

A KAIST research team develops a hyper-stretchable elastic-composite energy harvester April 13th, 2015

How many gold atoms make gold metal? April 11th, 2015

Research could usher in next generation of batteries, fuel cells University of South Carolina and Clemson reseachers uncover clean interfaces April 10th, 2015

Research partnerships

Light in a spin: Researchers demonstrate angular accelerating light April 15th, 2015

Graphene pushes the speed limit of light-to-electricity conversion: Researchers from ICFO, MIT and UC Riverside have been able to develop a graphene-based photodetector capable of converting absorbed light into an electrical voltage at ultrafast timescales April 14th, 2015

Scientists create invisible objects without metamaterial cloaking April 14th, 2015

Solution-grown nanowires make the best lasers April 14th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE