Advanced 3D Imaging and Analysis of Lithium Ion Battery Electrodes

Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Expo Center, 1st Floor, Center and Right Foyers (Moon Palace Resort)
M. Biton (Imperial College), F. Tariq, V. Yufit (Imperial College London), P. R. Shearing (University College London), M. Kishimoto (Imperial College London), J. Gelb (Carl Zeiss X-ray Microscopy), D. Golodnitsky, E. Peled (Tel Aviv University), and N. P. Brandon (Imperial College London)
Meeting increasing energy demands, storage requirements and energy portability will be expedited through an ability to directly image lithium battery material nano/micro structures at high resolutions in 3D. The performance of the battery is dependent on nano/micro-structure as important reactions often occur at porous electrode interfaces. Furthermore, during processing or operation microstructural evolution may degrade electrochemical performance.

Despite their importance, battery electrode microstructures remain poorly understood, limiting current understanding of their failure. Tomographic techniques allow for the direct 3-D imaging and chracterisation of complex microstructures from millimetres down towards nanometers.

Here we present results from 3D x-ray and FIBSEM tomography of battery materials (e.g. Figure 1) down to resolutions of tens of nanometers. Quantitative analysis of critical parameters important for battery materials is evaluated, and these are linked to simulation tools to relate structure to performance characteristics. Both x-ray and FIBSEM tomography can provide this information, facilitating analysis of micro/nano structure, morphology and provide exciting opportunities to study fabrication effects or operating conditions that could cause electrode degradation and failure.         

We find this approach is effective in understanding how lithium ion batteries function at high resolutions and consequently that tomography coupled with modeling/experiments can provide new insights into degradation mechanism.

Figure 1 – 3D lithium ion anode structure with MCMB particles