Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ORNL microscopy directly images problematic lithium dendrites in batteries

10.03.2015

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have captured the first real-time nanoscale images of lithium dendrite structures known to degrade lithium-ion batteries. The ORNL team's electron microscopy could help researchers address long-standing issues related to battery performance and safety.

Dendrites form when metallic lithium takes root on a battery's anode and begins growing haphazardly. If the dendrites grow too large, they can puncture the divider between the electrodes and short-circuit the cell, resulting in catastrophic battery failure.


ORNL electron microscopy captured the first real-time nanoscale images of the nucleation and growth of lithium dendrite structures known to degrade lithium-ion batteries.

Credit: ORNL

The researchers studied dendrite formation by using a miniature electrochemical cell that mimics the liquid conditions inside a lithium-ion battery. Placing the liquid cell in a scanning transmission electron microscope and applying voltage to the cell allowed the researchers to watch as lithium deposits--which start as a nanometer-size seed--grew into dendritic structures.

"It gives us a nanoscopic view of how dendrites nucleate and grow," said ORNL's Raymond Unocic, in situ microscopy team leader. "We can visualize the whole process on a glassy carbon microelectrode and observe where the dendrites prefer to nucleate and also track morphological changes during growth." Watch a video of the dendrite growth here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpPUTM_u_PM.

In addition to imaging the structures at high-resolution, the team's microscopy technique gathered precise measurements of the cell's electrochemical performance. "This technique allows us to follow subtle nano-sized structural and chemical changes that occur and more importantly, correlate that to the measured performance of a battery," said Robert Sacci, ORNL postdoctoral researcher and lead author of the Nano Letters study.

This real-time analysis in a liquid environment sets the ORNL team's approach apart from other characterization methods.

"Usually when you run a battery over many charge-discharge cycles, you typically wait until things start failing and at that point you perform a root-cause failure analysis," Unocic said. "Then you see there's a dendrite--but so what? Now that we can see exactly how the dendrites are forming using our technique, we can be proactive and devise strategies for inhibiting or reducing these phenomena."

The ORNL team believes scientists who are experimenting with different ways to tackle the dendrite problem, such as liquid additives or stronger separators, will benefit from its research.

"If you don't understand the basic mechanism of why things happen in your devices, you'll always be thinking, 'Why did this happen and how do I fix it?'" Unocic said. "Until you get down to the microscopic and nanoscopic level to look at the structural and chemical evolution that's happening in the cells--then you can't truly address those issues that come up."

###

The study is published as "Nanoscale Imaging of Fundamental Li Battery Chemistry: Solid-Electrolyte Interphase Formation and Preferential Growth of Lithium Metal Nanoclusters." Coauthors are Robert Sacci, Jennifer Black, Nina Balke, Nancy Dudney, Karren More and Raymond Unocic.

This research was supported as part of the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport (FIRST) Center, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by DOE's Office of Science. The study also used resources at Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy's Office of Science. The 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 http://science.energy.gov/.

Image: http://www.ornl.gov/Image%20Library/Main%20Nav/ORNL/News/News%20Releases/2015/dendriteimage_hr.jpg?code=b7a30c9e-c787-4dc1-84b5-c6bb046ada11

Caption: ORNL electron microscopy captured the first real-time nanoscale images of the nucleation and growth of lithium dendrite structures known to degrade lithium-ion batteries.

NOTE TO EDITORS: You may read other press releases from Oak Ridge National Laboratory or learn more about the lab at http://www.ornl.gov/news. Additional information about ORNL is available at the sites below:

Twitter - http://twitter.com/ornl
RSS Feeds - http://www.ornl.gov/ornlhome/rss_feeds.shtml
Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/oakridgelab
YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/OakRidgeNationalLab
LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/companies/oak-ridge-national-laboratory
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/Oak.Ridge.National.Laboratory

Media Contact

Morgan McCorkle
mccorkleml@ornl.gov
865-574-7308

 @ORNL

http://www.ornl.gov 

Morgan McCorkle | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Melting solid below the freezing point
23.01.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

nachricht An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk
20.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>