Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Novel microscope developed to design better high-performance batteries: Innovation gives researchers inside view of how batteries work

As Professor Xiaonan Shan observes, University of Houston graduate Guangxia Feng works on the operando reflection interference microscope (RIM) inside a “glove box” because the lithium-ion battery electrolyte is flammable.

CREDIT
University of Houston
As Professor Xiaonan Shan observes, University of Houston graduate Guangxia Feng works on the operando reflection interference microscope (RIM) inside a “glove box” because the lithium-ion battery electrolyte is flammable. CREDIT University of Houston

Abstract:
Lithium-ion batteries have transformed everyday lives – almost everyone has a smartphone, more electric vehicles can be spotted on the roads, and they keep power generators going during emergencies. As more portable electronic devices, electric vehicles and large-scale grid implementations come online, the demand for higher energy density batteries that are safe and affordable continues to grow.

Novel microscope developed to design better high-performance batteries: Innovation gives researchers inside view of how batteries work

Houston, TX | Posted on February 10th, 2023

Now, a University of Houston research team, in collaboration with researchers from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, has developed an operando reflection interference microscope (RIM) that provides a better understanding of how batteries work, which has significant implications for the next generation of batteries.

“We have achieved real-time visualization of solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) dynamics for the first time,” said Xiaonan Shan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UH’s Cullen College of Engineering and corresponding author of a study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. “This provides key insight into the rational design of interphases, a battery component that has been the least understood and most challenging barrier to developing electrolytes for future batteries.”

The highly sensitive microscope allows researchers to study the SEI layer, which is an extremely thin and fragile layer on the battery electrode surface that determines battery performance. Its chemical composition and morphology are continuously changing – making it a challenge to study.

“A dynamic, non-invasive and high sensitivity operando imaging tool is required to understand the formation and evolution of SEI. Such a technique capable of direct probing SEI has been rare and highly desirable,” said Yan Yao, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of electrical and computer engineering and a co-corresponding author who has worked with Shan on this project for the last four years.

“We have now demonstrated that RIM is the first of its kind to provide critical insight into the working mechanism of the SEI layer and help design better high-performance batteries,” said Yao, who is also the principal investigator of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston.

How it works

The research team applied the principle of interference reflection microscopy in the project, where the light beam – centering at 600 nanometers with spectrum width of about 10 nanometers – was directed towards the electrodes and SEI layers and reflected. The collected optical intensity contains interference signals between different layers, carrying important information about the evolution process of SEI and allowing the researchers to observe the entire reaction process.

“The RIM is very sensitive to surface variations, which enables us to monitor the same location with large-scale high spatial and temporal resolution,” said UH graduate student Guangxia Feng, who performed much of the experimental work on the project.

The researchers note that most battery researchers currently use cryo-electron microscopes, which only take one picture at a certain time and cannot continuously track the changes at the same location.

“I wanted to approach energy research from a different angle by adapting and developing new characterization and imaging methods which provide new information to understand the reaction mechanism in energy conversion processes,” said Shan, who specializes in developing imaging techniques and spectrometry techniques to study electrochemical reactions in energy storage and conversions. This new imaging technique could also be applied to other state-of-the-art energy storage systems.

Feng, who earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UH in 2022, plans to pursue further research in the growing field of battery technology.

“To realize the next generation of batteries, it is essential to understand the reaction mechanisms and novel materials,” she said, adding that developing higher energy batteries also benefits the environment. “I have always wanted to be a scientist because they can make great things happen for people and change the world for the better.”

Wu Xu from Pacific Northwest National Lab, an expert in the electrolyte designs, helped with the project design and provided critical insight on the electrolyte to use. Kang Xu, an expert in the SEI research at the Army Research Lab, provided significant insights to help understand the phenomenon observed. Both are co-corresponding authors for the paper.

Feng and another UH engineering student Yaping Shi, along with Hao Jia from PNNL, are the lead authors of the study. Other contributors are Xu Yan, Yanliang Liang, Chaojie Yang and Ye Zhang from UH; Mark Engelhard at PNNL.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Rashda Khan
University of Houston

Copyright © University of Houston

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

ARTICLE TITLE

Related News Press

News and information

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Imaging

Nanoscale CL thermometry with lanthanide-doped heavy-metal oxide in TEM March 8th, 2024

First direct imaging of small noble gas clusters at room temperature: Novel opportunities in quantum technology and condensed matter physics opened by noble gas atoms confined between graphene layers January 12th, 2024

Laboratories

A battery’s hopping ions remember where they’ve been: Seen in atomic detail, the seemingly smooth flow of ions through a battery’s electrolyte is surprisingly complicated February 16th, 2024

NRL discovers two-dimensional waveguides February 16th, 2024

Catalytic combo converts CO2 to solid carbon nanofibers: Tandem electrocatalytic-thermocatalytic conversion could help offset emissions of potent greenhouse gas by locking carbon away in a useful material January 12th, 2024

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

NRL charters Navy’s quantum inertial navigation path to reduce drift April 5th, 2024

Discovery points path to flash-like memory for storing qubits: Rice find could hasten development of nonvolatile quantum memory April 5th, 2024

Possible Futures

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Discoveries

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Tools

First direct imaging of small noble gas clusters at room temperature: Novel opportunities in quantum technology and condensed matter physics opened by noble gas atoms confined between graphene layers January 12th, 2024

New laser setup probes metamaterial structures with ultrafast pulses: The technique could speed up the development of acoustic lenses, impact-resistant films, and other futuristic materials November 17th, 2023

Ferroelectrically modulate the Fermi level of graphene oxide to enhance SERS response November 3rd, 2023

The USTC realizes In situ electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy using single nanodiamond sensors November 3rd, 2023

Automotive/Transportation

Researchers’ approach may protect quantum computers from attacks March 8th, 2024

New designs for solid-state electrolytes may soon revolutionize the battery industry: Scientists achieve monumental improvements in lithium-metal-chloride solid-state electrolytes November 3rd, 2023

Previously unknown pathway to batteries with high energy, low cost and long life: Newly discovered reaction mechanism overcomes rapid performance decline in lithium-sulfur batteries September 8th, 2023

Tests find no free-standing nanotubes released from tire tread wear September 8th, 2023

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

What heat can tell us about battery chemistry: using the Peltier effect to study lithium-ion cells March 8th, 2024

Two-dimensional bimetallic selenium-containing metal-organic frameworks and their calcinated derivatives as electrocatalysts for overall water splitting March 8th, 2024

Discovery of new Li ion conductor unlocks new direction for sustainable batteries: University of Liverpool researchers have discovered a new solid material that rapidly conducts lithium ions February 16th, 2024

A battery’s hopping ions remember where they’ve been: Seen in atomic detail, the seemingly smooth flow of ions through a battery’s electrolyte is surprisingly complicated February 16th, 2024

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project