So far, X-rays have been known to unveil the internal images and reactions of living organisms, especially of humans. But for the first time the tech is used to show internal chemical reactions of lithium-ion batteries, found in EVs (Electric Cars).
Yes, it is certainly made possible by Mike Toney and his fellow postdoc Johanna Nelson at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, by taking the nanoscale images of inside-working of the batteries with their powerful machine, SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.
The duo used the “X-ray diffraction and transmission X-ray microscopy” techniques to capture the images of the sulfur carbon and lithium anode that are surrounded by electrolyte within the battery’s inner structure.
The scientists closely monitored the reactions of sulfur particles before, during, and after the discharge of the battery. What they found was very unlikely, according the previous experiments of same sort, only few polysulfides went to electrolyte which means they did not cause any leakage or extreme deterioration in battery’s performance. The amount of effect they caused can be stopped by trapping them at the cathode, resulting in much improved battery life.
The study is very important since the increasing demand of smartphones has built a sheer pressure on battery makers as they are required to engineer more powerful and long lasting batteries.
The results of this experiment are to be found in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.