In situ neutron powder diffraction using custom-made lithium-ion batteries

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Li-ion batteries are widely used in portable electronic devices and are considered as promising candidates for higher-energy applications such as electric vehicles.1,2 However, many challenges, such as energy density and battery lifetimes, need to be overcome before this particular battery technology can be widely implemented in such applications.3 This research is challenging, and we outline a method to address these challenges using in situ NPD to probe the crystal structure of electrodes undergoing electrochemical cycling (charge/discharge) in a battery. NPD data help determine the underlying structural mechanism responsible for a range of electrode properties, and this information can direct the development of better electrodes and batteries. We briefly review six types of battery designs custom-made for NPD experiments and detail the method to construct the ‘roll-over’ cell that we have successfully used on the high-intensity NPD instrument, WOMBAT, at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). The design considerations and materials used for cell construction are discussed in conjunction with aspects of the actual in situ NPD experiment and initial directions are presented on how to analyze such complex in situ data.
Data, Electric batteries, Electrochemical cells, Lithium ion batteries, Experiment planning, Neutron diffraction
Brant, W. R., Schmid, S., Du, G., Brand, H. E. A., Pang, W. K., Peterson, V. K., Guo, Z & Sharma, N. (2014). In situ neutron powder diffraction using custom-made lithium-ion batteries. Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), (93), e52284. doi:10.3791/52284