. Energy News .

Researchers develop method to examine batteries - from the inside
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Feb 16, 2012

Illustration only.

There is an ever-increasing need for advanced batteries for portable electronics, such as phones, cameras, and music players, but also to power electric vehicles and to facilitate the distribution and storage of energy derived from renewable energy sources. But, once a battery fails, there are no corrective measures-how do you look inside a battery without destroying it?

Now, researchers at Cambridge University, Stony Brook University, and New York University have developed methodology, based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to do just that. Their technique, which is described in the journal Nature Materials, also creates the possibility of improving battery performance and safety by serving as a diagnostic of its internal workings.

MRI has been extremely successful in the medical field for visualizing disorders and assessing the body's response to therapy. However, MRI is not typically used in the presence of a lot of metal, a primary component in many batteries. This is because conducting surfaces effectively block the radio frequency fields that are used in MRI to see beneath surfaces or inside the human body.

The researchers, however, turned this limitation into a virtue. Because radio frequency fields do not penetrate metals, one can actually perform very sensitive measurements on the surfaces of the conductors.

In the case of the popular lithium-ion batteries, for example, the team was able to directly visualize the build-up of lithium metal deposits on the electrodes after charging the battery. Such deposits can also detach from the surface, eventually leading to overheating, battery failure, and - in some cases - to fire or explosion.

Visualizing small changes on the surface of the batteries' electrodes allows, in principle, for the testing of many different battery designs and materials under normal operating conditions.

The work is the result of a collaboration between Clare Grey, associate director of the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage and a professor at Cambridge and Stony Brook universities, and Alexej Jerschow, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at New York University who heads a multi-disciplinary MRI research laboratory.

"New electrode and electrolyte materials are constantly being developed, and this non-invasive MRI technology could provide insights into the microscopic processes inside batteries, which hold the key to eventually making batteries lighter, safer, and more versatile," said Jerschow. "Both electrolyte and electrode surfaces can be visualized with this technique, thus providing a comprehensive picture of the batteries' performance-limiting processes."

"MRI is exciting because we are able to identify where the chemical species inside the battery are located without having to take the battery apart, a procedure which to some degree defeats the purpose," added Grey.

"The work clearly shows how we can use the method to identify where lithium deposits form on metal electrodes. The resolution is not yet where we want it to be and we would like to extend the method to much larger batteries, but the information that we were able to get from these measurements is unprecedented."

The project's other researchers were: S. Chandrashekar, a postdoctoral fellow at both Stony Brook and New York Universities; Nicole Trease, a postdoctoral fellow at Stony Brook University; and Hee Jung Chang, a Stony Brook University graduate student.

"We still have some way to go to make the images better resolved and make imaging time shorter," Chandrashekar noted, "However, we feel that with this work, we have made the field wide open for interesting applications." The research team also envisions that the method could lead to the study of irregularities and cracks on conducting surfaces in the materials sciences field. In addition, they add, the methods developed here could be highly valuable in the quest for enhanced battery performance and in the evaluation of other electrochemical devices, such as fuel cells.

Related Links
New York University
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NEMA Welcomes Congressional Passage of Provision on Lithium Battery Air Shipments
Rosslyn VA (SPX) Feb 15, 2012
NEMA has welcomed the passage by the U.S. Senate of legislation directing the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure that most U.S. regulations governing air shipment of lithium batteries are harmonized with standards written by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The legislation also covers products that contain or are packed with lithium ion or lithium metal batter ... read more

U.S. Grid Energy Storage Market is Strong and Poised for Exponential Growth

Screening Africa's renewable energies potential

Colombia energy oversupply bad for prices

Hydropower, Geothermal and Biomass Power Executives Call for Extension of the Production Tax Credit

New Institute to Build Low-Carbon Pathways to Prosperity

NEMA Welcomes Congressional Passage of Provision on Lithium Battery Air Shipments

Tens of billions at stake in BP oil spill trial

Biological Computer Deciphers DNA

Japan firms plan wind farm near Fukushima: report

New EU wind power capacity near level

Tandem polymer solar cells set record for energy-conversion

Solar panels could double as a roof

Oldest Family Mushroom Farm in the US Goes Solar

Powell Energy and Solar Completes Complex Install for N.J. Church

Australia's most populated state lifts uranium ban

Kazakhstan keen to expand civil nuke ties with India

Secrecy Over $8 Billion Vogtle Nuclear Reactor Deal Challenged in Court

Remove atomic scientist, expand expert panel: Kudankulam activists

Ethanol mandate not the best option

Grass to gas: UGA researchers' genome map speeds biofuel development

Study: Mandating ethanol wrong solution

Sustainable land use strategies to support bioenergy

Space-tracking ship Yuanwang VI concludes trip

China's new rockets expected to debut within five years

UN aid chiefs call for $725 million for drought-hit Sahel

More aid needed to divert disaster in Sahel: Red Cross

Early farmers may have impacted climate

Libya fallout fans Sahel hunger pangs as crisis looms

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement