Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists Capture Lithium-Ion Batteries in Nanoscale Action: New imaging techniques track lithium-ion reactions in real-time, offering clues to engineering more powerful, longer-lasting batteries

This diagram shows the spread of positively charged lithium ions across the custom-built FeF2 nanoparticle. The conversion reaction sweeps rapidly across the surface before proceeding more slowly in a layer-by-layer fashion through the bulk of the particle.
This diagram shows the spread of positively charged lithium ions across the custom-built FeF2 nanoparticle. The conversion reaction sweeps rapidly across the surface before proceeding more slowly in a layer-by-layer fashion through the bulk of the particle.

Abstract:
The cherished portability of many popular electronics, from smart phones to laptops, mostly comes courtesy of lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, these dense and lightweight energy storage devices begin to degrade over time, steadily losing total capacity even when sitting idle on the shelf. Scaling up this promising technology to better power electric vehicles or facilitate grid-scale storage demands battery lifetimes longer than a decade-and fundamental advances in lithium-ion engineering.

Scientists Capture Lithium-Ion Batteries in Nanoscale Action: New imaging techniques track lithium-ion reactions in real-time, offering clues to engineering more powerful, longer-lasting batteries

Upton, NY | Posted on November 26th, 2012

Now, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and collaborating institutions have developed methods of examining lithium-ion reactions in real-time with nanoscale (billionths of a meter) precision, offering unprecedented insights into these crucial materials. The technique uses a novel electrochemical cell and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to track lithium reactions and precisely expose subtle changes that occur in batteries' electrodes over time. The results-published this November in Nature Communications-demonstrate the successful technique and reveal a surprisingly fast lithium conversion process that moves layer-by-layer through individual nanoparticles.

"We've opened a fundamentally new window into this popular technology," said Brookhaven Lab physicist and lead author Feng Wang. "The live, nanoscale imaging may help pave the way for developing longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium-ion batteries. That means better consumer electronics, and the potential for large-scale, emission-free energy storage."

Lithium ions generate electricity within a battery as they move from a negatively charged electrode to a positive one. A fully charged battery contains all these power-packed ions stored in the first electrode. Once discharged, the process is reversed by applying an external current-often by plugging electronics directly into an outlet-to send those same lithium ions back to that first electrode, recharging the battery. But for all their efficiency, each cycle of discharge/recharge degrades the material's essential structure and ultimate longevity. Preventing this persistent degradation requires insight into a process that plays out on the elusive scale of billionths of a meter.

Previous real-time analyses, using what scientists call in-situ techniques, are primarily limited to studying bulk materials and lack the spatial resolution to truly explore reactions at the nanoscale. Even other TEM techniques, which build high-resolution images based upon the behavior of electron beams passing through a sample, are rarely used to track lithium transport and related chemical changes in real time during the all-important charge/discharge cycling. The new technique can do both-live imaging with nanoscale precision.

In this study, conducted at Brookhaven Lab's Center for Functional Nanomaterials, the scientists custom-built an electrochemical cell to operate inside the TEM. The team then observed the lithium reaction process as it unfolded across iron fluoride (FeF2) nanoparticles, chosen because they have significantly higher lithium capacity than conventional electrodes. These real-time experimental observations, supported by advanced computation, revealed that the lithium ions swept rapidly across the surface of the nanoparticles in a matter of seconds. The transformation then moved slowly through the bulk in a layer-by-layer process that split the compounds into distinct regions.

Imagine watching a fire spread across the surface of a log and then steadily eating its way through the layers of wood-only rather than smoke, the lithium ion reaction forms trails of new molecules. Just as burnt wood reveals fundamental characteristics of fire, the changes in morphology and structure in these individual iron nanoparticles provided crucial information about the lithium reaction mechanisms.

"The entire setup for the in-situ TEM measurements was assembled from commercially available parts and was simple to implement, so we expect to see a widespread use of this technique to study a variety of high-energy electrodes in the near future," Wang said. "We also look forward to adapting this tool to perform more advanced nano-electrochemical measurements with the x-ray nanoprobe at the Lab's forthcoming National Synchrotron Light Source II."

This latest research builds upon two other recent studies: The first, published in ACS Nano, detailed the development of electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) techniques to probe the nanoscale spatial distribution and chemical state of lithium in graphite electrodes. The second, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, used EELS to reveal that the excellent recharging ability in high-capacity conversion electrodes emerges from electron-transport pathways forming upon reaction with lithium.

"Although many questions remain about the true mechanisms behind this conversion reaction, we now have a much more detailed understanding of electron and lithium transport in lithium-ion batteries," said Brookhaven physicist and study coauthor Jason Graetz. "Future studies will focus on the charge reaction in an attempt to gain new insights into the degradation over time that plagues most electrodes, allowing for longer lifetimes in the next generation of energy storage devices."

Additional collaborators on this study included Lijun Wu and Yimei Zhu of Brookhaven Lab, Glenn Amatucci of Rutgers University, and Anton van der Ven and Katsuyo Thornton of the University of Michigan. The research was supported by the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage, an Energy Frontier Research Center led by Stony Brook University and funded primarily by the DOE's Office of Science.

####

About Brookhaven National Laboratory
One of ten national laboratories overseen and primarily funded by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies and national security. Brookhaven Lab also builds and operates major scientific facilities available to university, industry and government researchers. Brookhaven is operated and managed for DOE's Office of Science by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited-liability company founded by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York on behalf of Stony Brook University, the largest academic user of Laboratory facilities, and Battelle, a nonprofit, applied science and technology organization.

Visit Brookhaven Lab's electronic newsroom for links, news archives, graphics, and more at www.bnl.gov/newsroom, follow Brookhaven Lab on Twitter, twitter.com/BrookhavenLab, or find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/BrookhavenLab/.

This work was supported by the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven. CFN is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs) supported by the DOE Office of Science, premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale. Together the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute thelargest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE's Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. For more information about the DOE NSRCs, please visit science.energy.gov/bes/suf/user-facilities/nanoscale-science-research-centers/.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Justin Eure
(631) 344-2347

or
Peter Genzer
(631) 344-3174

Copyright © Brookhaven 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 Links

Scientific Paper: "Tracking lithium transport and electrochemical reactions in nanoparticles":

Related News Press

News and information

Leti IEDM 2016 Paper Clarifies Correlation between Endurance, Window Margin and Retention in RRAM for First Time: Paper Presented at IEDM 2016 Offers Ways to Reconcile High-cycling Requirements and Instability at High Temperatures in Resistive RAM December 6th, 2016

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: 3D solutions to energy savings in silicon power transistors December 6th, 2016

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Laboratories

Working under pressure: Diamond micro-anvils with huge pressures will create new materials October 19th, 2016

Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge October 15th, 2016

Scientists Find Static "Stripes" of Electrical Charge in Copper-Oxide Superconductor: Fixed arrangement of charges coexists with material's ability to conduct electricity without resistance October 14th, 2016

Tomoyasu Mani Wins 2016 Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists: Award recognizes his work at Brookhaven Lab to understand the physical processes occurring in organic materials used to harness solar energy October 13th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified: Scientists invent ground-breaking new method that puts quantum computers within reach December 5th, 2016

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Discoveries

Leti IEDM 2016 Paper Clarifies Correlation between Endurance, Window Margin and Retention in RRAM for First Time: Paper Presented at IEDM 2016 Offers Ways to Reconcile High-cycling Requirements and Instability at High Temperatures in Resistive RAM December 6th, 2016

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: 3D solutions to energy savings in silicon power transistors December 6th, 2016

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Fast, efficient sperm tails inspire nanobiotechnology December 5th, 2016

Announcements

Leti IEDM 2016 Paper Clarifies Correlation between Endurance, Window Margin and Retention in RRAM for First Time: Paper Presented at IEDM 2016 Offers Ways to Reconcile High-cycling Requirements and Instability at High Temperatures in Resistive RAM December 6th, 2016

Tokyo Institute of Technology research: 3D solutions to energy savings in silicon power transistors December 6th, 2016

Physicists decipher electronic properties of materials in work that may change transistors December 6th, 2016

Infrared instrumentation leader secures exclusive use of Vantablack coating December 5th, 2016

Energy

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells December 1st, 2016

Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells: Researchers combine quantum physics and photosynthesis to make discovery that could lead to highly efficient, green solar cells November 30th, 2016

Automotive/Transportation

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 2016

Nanocellulose in medicine and green manufacturing: American University professor develops method to improve performance of cellulose nanocrystals November 7th, 2016

Diamond nanothread: Versatile new material could prove priceless for manufacturing: Would you dress in diamond nanothreads? It's not as far-fetched as you might think November 3rd, 2016

Hybrid nanostructures hold hydrogen well: Rice University scientists say boron nitride-graphene hybrid may be right for next-gen green cars October 25th, 2016

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

Novel Electrode Structure Provides New Promise for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries December 3rd, 2016

A Phone That Charges in Seconds? UCF Scientists Bring it Closer to Reality November 21st, 2016

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 2016

Vesper a Finalist for Two ACE Awards: Ultimate Products and Innovator of the Year -- Industry’s first piezoelectric MEMS microphone and Vesper CTO Bobby Littrell recognized for prestigious electronics-industry awards November 10th, 2016

Research partnerships

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics November 28th, 2016

Single photon converter -- a key component of quantum internet November 28th, 2016

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