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Application

Energy Storage

Rechargeable batteries provide the power for many electronic devices that we use every day, such as cell phones, tablets and laptops, and the electric cars that are becoming a common sight. Due to the high demand for effective energy storage, industrial research continues to develop batteries with optimized properties regarding charging speed, energy density and lifetime. WITec imaging systems enable the comprehensive characterization of batteries and fuel cells. Raman imaging is able to show the distribution of electrolyte and electrode materials and investigate their crystallinity. It can be combined with complementary imaging techniques to study, for example, surface structures.

In 2019, the development of lithium-ion batteries was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino. The research group of John B. Goodenough at the University of Texas in Austin uses a WITec alpha300 Raman microscope for their scientific work.

Sample handling under protective atmospheres such as nitrogen or argon is required for many production processes in, for example, the semiconductor and automotive industries. WITec microscopes can be equipped with automated components that enable remote operation within environmental enclosures (Gray et al. 2020, DOI: 10.1063/5.0006462). All steps of the Raman measurement are controlled with WITec’s Suite FIVE software and intuitive EasyLink handheld controller. Even self-alignment and self-calibration of the system is possible with the click of a button.

WITec alpha300 apyron fully automated Raman microscope in an environmental enclosure (glove box by MBRAUN, Garching, Germany).

Application Examples

Raman image overlaid on a white-light image of a lithium-ion battery. The anode consists of graphitic (cyan) and amorphous carbon (blue), the separator of polypropylene (yellow) and polyethylene sheets (green) and the cathode of lithium metal oxide (red) and amorphous carbon (blue). Sample courtesy of Timo Sörgel, Gerhard Schneider (Institut für Materialforschung, Hochschule Aalen, Germany)
RISE (Raman-SEM) image of the cathode of a fast cycled lithium-ion battery. Changes due to repeated cycling influence the composition of the lithium metal oxide particles. Sample courtesy of Dean Miller (Tescan USA)
RISE (Raman-SEM) image of electrochemically deposited Li(NiMnCo)O2 battery particles. Different colors indicate different local cobalt and nickel concentrations. The inset shows the Raman image. The scale bar indicates 10 µm in both pictures. Sample courtesy of Timo Sörgel, Gerhard Schneider (Institut für Materialforschung, Hochschule Aalen, Germany)

Correlative Raman Imaging

WITec’s highly versatile instruments can combine various imaging techniques to provide complementary information from the same sample position. Possible combinations which can be integrated in one microscope system include confocal Raman imaging, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Scanning Near-field Optical Microscopy (SNOM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Confocal Raman microscopy provides chemical information and photoluminescence imaging can be performed without any additions to the setup. AFM detects topography, structure and physical properties such as stiffness and adhesion. SEM shows the surface structure at very high resolution. SNOM high-resolution measurements can reach beyond the optical diffraction limit. Additionally, solutions for time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC) or topographic measurements are available. All WITec instrument configurations can be upgraded at any point to adapt the system to new or expanded requirements.


Literature

Application Note Battery Research


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