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Novel processing and 3D correlative imaging of electrodes for batteries

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Rechargeable batteries can contribute to powering electric transportation and storing electrical energy generated from intermittent renewable sources. There are increasing demands for improving the rate capability and energy density of current Li ion batteries (LIBs) and solid-state Li metal batteries (SSLMBs), along with other types of batteries. Two novel processing technologies have been developed to optimise the battery electrode microstructure and improve ion diffusion kinetics: (i) directional ice templating (DIT) for fabricating thick (900 µm) cathodes with vertical pore arrays and porosity gradient for LIBs [1]; and (ii) directional freezing and polymerisation (DFP) for fabricating cathodes with vertical arrays of solid polymer electrolyte (SPE) directly incorporated in the cathode microstructure during processing for SSLM Bs [2]. Both techniques reduced tortuosity τ of ion diffusion pathways through electrode thickness to 1.5 from ~3.3 for commercial electrodes.

We then show a new correlative imaging technique of combining X-ray Compton scattering imaging (XCS-I) and computed tomography (XCT) that allows 3D pixel-by-pixel mapping of Li chemical stoichiometry variations in a LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2 electrode within a coin cell battery (Fig. 1) [3,4]. Using this technique, we show how the anisotropic electrode microstructure improved Li+ ion diffusivity, homogenised Li+ ion concentration, and improved energy storage performance.

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This talk is part of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Flows (IEEF) series.

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