Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Better battery imaging paves way for renewable energy future

21.04.2015

In a move that could improve the energy storage of everything from portable electronics to electric microgrids, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have developed a novel X-ray imaging technique to visualize and study the electrochemical reactions in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries containing a new type of material, iron fluoride.

"Iron fluoride has the potential to triple the amount of energy a conventional lithium-ion battery can store," says Song Jin, a UW-Madison professor of chemistry and Wisconsin Energy Institute affiliate. "However, we have yet to tap its true potential."


Chemical phase map shows how the electrochemical discharge of iron fluoride microwires proceeded from 0 percent discharge (left), to 50 percent (middle), to 95 percent (right).

Credit: Image provided by Linsen Li

Graduate student Linsen Li worked with Jin and other collaborators to perform experiments with a state-of-the-art transmission X-ray microscope at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven. There, they collected chemical maps from actual coin cell batteries filled with iron fluoride during battery cycling to determine how well they perform. The results are published today in the journal Nature Communications.

"In the past, we weren't able to truly understand what is happening to iron fluoride during battery reactions because other battery components were getting in the way of getting a precise image," says Li.

By accounting for the background signals that would otherwise confuse the image, Li was able to accurately visualize and measure, at the nanoscale, the chemical changes iron fluoride undergoes to store and discharge energy.

Thus far, using iron fluoride in rechargeable lithium ion batteries has presented scientists with two challenges. The first is that it doesn't recharge very well in its current form.

"This would be like your smart phone only charging half as much the first time, and even less thereafter," says Li. "Consumers would rather have a battery that charges consistently through hundreds of charges."

By examining iron fluoride transformation in batteries at the nanoscale, Jin and Li's new X-ray imaging method pinpoints each individual reaction to understand why capacity decay may be occurring.

"In analyzing the X-ray data on this level, we were able to track the electrochemical reactions with far more accuracy than previous methods, and determined that iron fluoride performs better when it has a porous microstructure," says Li.

The second challenge is that iron fluoride battery materials don't discharge as much energy as they take in, reducing energy efficiency. The current study yielded some preliminary insights into this problem and Jin and Li plan to tackle this challenge in future experiments.

Some implications of this research are obvious -- like using portable electronic devices for longer before charging -- but Jin also foresees a bigger and broader range of applications.

"If we can maximize the cycling performance and efficiency of these low-cost and abundant iron fluoride lithium ion battery materials, we could advance large-scale renewable energy storage technologies for electric cars and microgrids," he says.

Jin also believes that the novel X-ray imaging technique will facilitate the studies of other technologically important solid-state transformations and help to improve processes such as preparation of inorganic ceramics and thin-film solar cells.

###

The experiments were performed with the help of Yu-chen Karen Chen-Wiegart, Feng Wang, Jun Wang and their co-workers at Beamline X8C, National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences and a seed grant from the Wisconsin Energy Institute. The synthesis of the battery materials in Jin's lab was supported by National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research.

Mark E. Griffin, mark.griffin@wisc.edu, 608-890-2168

NOTE: An image to illustrate this story can be downloaded at https://uwmadison.box.com/Iron-fluoride

Media Contact

Song Jin
jin@chem.wisc.edu
608-262-1562

 @UWMadScience

http://www.wisc.edu 

Song Jin | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: Energy Synchrotron X-ray X-ray imaging batteries battery materials nanoscale renewable energy

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Multitasking monolayers
25.07.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces
25.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>