Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > ORNL microscopy system delivers real-time view of battery electrochemistry

A new in situ transmission electron microscopy technique enabled ORNL researchers to image the snowflake-like growth of the solid electrolyte interphase from a working battery electrode.
A new in situ transmission electron microscopy technique enabled ORNL researchers to image the snowflake-like growth of the solid electrolyte interphase from a working battery electrode.

Abstract:
Using a new microscopy method, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory can image and measure electrochemical processes in batteries in real time and at nanoscale resolution.

ORNL microscopy system delivers real-time view of battery electrochemistry

Oak Ridge, TN | Posted on February 19th, 2014

Scientists at ORNL used a miniature electrochemical liquid cell that is placed in a transmission electron microscope to study an enigmatic phenomenon in lithium-ion batteries called the solid electrolyte interphase, or SEI, as described in a study published in Chemical Communications.

The SEI is a nanometer-scale film that forms on a battery's negative electrode due to electrolyte decomposition. Scientists agree that the SEI's formation and stability play key roles in controlling battery functionality. But after three decades of research in the battery field, details of the SEI's dynamics, structure and chemistry during electrochemical cycling are still debated, stemming from inherent difficulties in studying battery electrode materials in their native liquid environment.

"We've used this novel in situ method to understand the dynamics of how this layer forms and evolves during battery operation," said Raymond Unocic, ORNL R&D staff scientist.

Battery researchers typically study the structure and chemistry of the SEI through "post-mortem" methods, in which a cycled battery is disassembled, dried and then analyzed through a number of characterization methods.

"This is problematic because of the air and moisture sensitivity of the SEI, and the ease by which environmental exposure can modify its structure and chemistry." Unocic said.

The ORNL researchers formed a miniature electrochemical cell by enclosing battery electrolyte between two silicon microchip devices that contain microfabricated electrodes and silicon nitride viewing membranes. The transparent "windows" seal the highly volatile battery electrolyte from the microscope's vacuum environment and allow the electron beam to pass through the liquid, which facilitates imaging of the electrochemical reaction products as they form.

To reproduce a battery charging cycle, the researchers applied a potential at the working electrode and monitored the resulting changes in current. The most striking result, said the researchers, was capturing an unprecedented view of SEI evolution during potential cycling. The technique is able to image the formation of tiny crystalline particles only one billionth of a meter in size.

"As we start to sweep the potential, we didn't initially observe anything," said lead author Robert Sacci, a postdoctoral research fellow with ORNL's FIRST Energy Frontier Research Center. "Then we started seeing shadows -- presumably polymeric SEI -- forming into a dendritic pattern. It looks like a snowflake forming from the electrode." Watch a video of the process at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHrlFNB-Q9Y.

The researchers plan to build on this initial proof-of-principle study to better understand the factors behind the SEI's formation, which could ultimately help improve battery performance, capacity, and safety at the device level.

"Tailoring the SEI's structure and chemistry to maximize battery capabilities appears to be a delicate balancing act," Unocic said. "When you cycle a real battery, the interphase structure can form, break, and reform again, depending on how thick the layer grows, so we need to look at improving its structural stability. But at the same time, we have to think about making the interphase more efficient for lithium ion transport. This study brings us one step closer to understanding SEI formation and growth."

Next steps for the researchers include applying their technique to study different types of battery electrodes and electrolytes and other energy storage systems including fuel cells and supercapacitors.

Coauthors are ORNL's Raymond Unocic, Robert Sacci, Nancy Dudney and Karren More; and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Lucas Parent, Ilke Arslan, Nigel Browning. The study is published as "Direct Visualization of Initial SEI Morphology and Growth Kinetics During Lithium Deposition by in situ Electrochemical Transmission Electron Microscopy."

The research was supported by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Program, by the Fluid Interface Reactions Structures and Transport (FIRST) Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and as part of a user proposal at ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences. Parts of the work were supported by the laboratory directed research and development program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, an Energy Innovation Hub funded by BES-DOE.

Part of this research was conducted at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is sponsored at ORNL by the Scientific User Facilities Division in DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences. CNMS is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers 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 the largest 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/.

####

About DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. 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 the time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Morgan McCorkle

865-574-7308

Copyright © DOE/Oak Ridge 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

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness July 30th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Imaging

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Pixel-array quantum cascade detector paves the way for portable thermal imaging devices: Research team from TU-Wien Center for Micro- and Nanostructures have developed a new 'cooler' sensing instrument thereby increasing energy-efficiency and enhancing mobility for diagnostic tes July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016

Laboratories

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

Penn team uses nanoparticles to break up plaque and prevent cavities July 28th, 2016

Discoveries

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness July 30th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Announcements

Vortex laser offers hope for Moore's Law: The optics advancement may solve an approaching data bottleneck by helping to boost computing power and information transfer rates tenfold July 30th, 2016

New method for making green LEDs enhances their efficiency and brightness July 30th, 2016

Novel state of matter: Observation of a quantum spin liquid July 29th, 2016

A new type of quantum bits July 29th, 2016

Tools

Lonely atoms, happily reunited July 29th, 2016

Pixel-array quantum cascade detector paves the way for portable thermal imaging devices: Research team from TU-Wien Center for Micro- and Nanostructures have developed a new 'cooler' sensing instrument thereby increasing energy-efficiency and enhancing mobility for diagnostic tes July 28th, 2016

WSU researchers 'watch' crystal structure change in real time: Breakthrough made possible by new Argonne facility July 27th, 2016

Enhancing molecular imaging with light: New technology platform increases spectroscopic resolution by 4 fold July 27th, 2016

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

New nontoxic process promises larger ultrathin sheets of 2-D nanomaterials July 27th, 2016

New lithium-oxygen battery greatly improves energy efficiency, longevity: New chemistry could overcome key drawbacks of lithium-air batteries July 26th, 2016

An accelerated pipeline to open materials research: ORNL workflow system unites imaging, algorithms, and HPC to advance materials discovery and design July 24th, 2016

Synthesized microporous 3-D graphene-like carbons: IBS research team create carbon synthesis using zeolites as a template July 1st, 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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic