Evolution of Electrochemical Cell Designs for In-Situ and Operando 3D Characterization

Materials (Basel). 2018 Nov 1;11(11):2157. doi: 10.3390/ma11112157.


Lithium-based rechargeable batteries such as lithium-ion (Li-ion), lithium-sulfur (Li-S), and lithium-air (Li-air) cells typically consist of heterogenous porous electrodes. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of in-situ and operando micro-CT to capture their physical and chemical states in 3D. The development of in-situ electrochemical cells along with recent improvements in radiation sources have expanded the capabilities of micro-CT as a technique for longitudinal studies on operating mechanisms and degradation. In this paper, we present an overview of the capabilities of the current state of technology and demonstrate novel tomography cell designs we have developed to push the envelope of spatial and temporal resolution while maintaining good electrochemical performance. A bespoke PEEK in-situ cell was developed, which enabled imaging at a voxel resolution of ca. 230 nm and permitted the identification of sub-micron features within battery electrodes. To further improve the temporal resolution, future work will explore the use of iterative reconstruction algorithms, which require fewer angular projections for a comparable reconstruction.

Keywords: X-ray tomography; batteries; electrochemical cell design.