Lithium -ion batteries have changed their daily life -almost everyone has smart phones, and more electric cars can be seen on the road. They can also keep the generator run in emergencies. As more and more portable electronic equipment, electric vehicles and large -scale power grids are launched, the demand for safe and reasonable high -energy density batteries has continued to increase.
Now, a research team at the University of Houston has cooperated with researchers at the Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory and the US Army Research Laboratory to develop a in -situ reflex interference microscope (RIM) to better understand the working principle of the battery. Important significance is used for the next generation of batteries.
“For the first time, we realized the real -time visualization of the dynamics of the solid electrolyte (SEI),” said Xiaonan Shan, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Houston University of Engineering. nanotechnology. “This provides key insights for the reasonable design of the phase. This is a battery component. It is the most unknown and challenging obstacle for the battery -to -battery electrolyte in the future.”
High -sensitivity microscope enables researchers to study the SEI layer. This is the extremely thin and fragile layer that determines the battery performance on the surface of the battery electrode. Its chemical composition and form are constantly changing -this brings challenges to research.
“Understanding the formation and evolution of SEI requires a dynamic, non -invasive and high -sensitivity in situ imaging tool. This technology that can directly detect SEI is rare, and it is very desirable,” said Yan Yao, Hugh Roy, and Lillie Cranz. Essence Cullen electrical and computer engineering special professors and joint communication authors have worked on this project with SHAN in the past four years.
“We have now proved that RIM is the first product to provide an important opinion of the SEI layer working mechanism and help design better high -performance batteries,” said Yao, the chief researcher of the Texas Superconductor Center. Essence At the University of Houston.
Researchers said that the new technology platform enables them to perform real -time imaging of the dynamic activities of batteries at the mega scale. It is difficult but important to achieve this. With this technology, they have the ability to analyze the changes in particle chemical composition and current density in real time, study the battery charging process, and use the electrochemical reactions of a single battery particles to imagine It is helpful to optimize battery performance.
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The research team applied the principle of interference reflective microscope in this project. The beam -centered on 600 nanometers, the spectral width is about 10 nanometers -guided electrodes and SEI layers and reflected. The collected light strong contains interference signals between different layers, and the important information of the SEI evolution process allows researchers to observe the entire reaction process.
“RIM is very sensitive to surface changes, which enables us to monitor the same position with large -scale high space and time resolution,” said Guangxia Fang, a graduate student in the project in this project.
Researchers pointed out that most battery researchers currently use frozen electron microscopes. This microscope can only take a photo at a certain time and cannot continuously track changes in the same position.
“I want to conduct energy research from different perspectives by adjusting and developing new representations and imaging methods. These methods provide new information to understand the reaction mechanism in the process of energy conversion.” Technology to study the reaction in the storage and conversion of electrochemical energy. This new imaging technology can also be applied to other most advanced energy storage systems.
Feng Feng. In 2022, he obtained a doctorate in electrical engineering from UH and plans to conduct further research in the continuous development of battery technology.
“To achieve the next -generation battery, understanding the reaction mechanism and new materials are very important,” she said, adding to the development of higher -energy batteries is also conducive to the environment. “I have always wanted to be a scientist, because they can make great things happen to people and make the world better.”