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ORNL scientists reveal battery behavior at the nanoscale
Date:9/14/2010

ngle grain or an extended defect," Balke said.

The team's ESM imaging can display features such as individual grains, grain clusters and defects within the cathode material. The high-resolution mapping showed, for example, that the lithium ion flow can concentrate along grain boundaries, which could lead to cracking and battery failure. Researchers say these types of nanoscale phenomena need to be examined and correlated to overall battery functionality.

"Very small changes at the nanometer level could have a huge impact at the device level," Balke said. "Understanding the batteries at this length scale could help make suggestions for materials engineering."

Although the research focused on lithium-ion batteries, the team expects that its technique could be used to measure other electrochemical solid-state systems, including other battery types, fuel cells and similar electronic devices that use nanoscale ionic motion for information storage.

"We see this method as an example of the kinds of higher dimensional scanning probe techniques that we are developing at CNMS that enable us to see the inner workings of complex materials at the nanoscale," Jesse said. "Such capabilities are particularly relevant to the increasingly important area of energy research."


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Contact: Morgan McCorkle
mccorkleml@ornl.gov
865-574-4160
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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