Jerschow Group's Enhanced 3D Look Inside Batteries, in PNAS

AJ.jpegNYU Chemistry Professor Alexej Jerschow's group has developed a method to produce detailed 3-dimensional images of the insides of batteries, and to do it quickly -- during actual charging of the battery.  The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2016, doi:10.1073) in an article called "Real-time 3D Imaging of Microstructure Growth in Battery Cells Using Indirect MRI."  The work was picked up by C&E News and appears as an NYU Research Highlight.  Collaborating on the work with Professor Clare Grey (Stony Brook and Cambridge) and her graduate student Hee Jung Chang, were NYU authors postdoc Andy Ilott and graduate student Mohad Mohammadi (pictured below).

Abstract: Lithium metal is a promising anode material for Li-ion batteries due to its high theoretical specific capacity and low potential. The growth of dendrites is a major barrier to the development of high capacity, rechargeable Li batteries with lithium metal anodes, and hence, significant efforts have been undertaken to develop new electrolytes and separator materials that can prevent this process or promote smooth deposits at the anode. Central to these goals, and to the task of understanding the conditions that initiate and propagate dendrite growth, is the development of analytical and nondestructive techniques that can be applied in situ to functioning batteries. MRI has recently been demonstrated to provide noninvasive imaging methodology that can detect and localize microstructure buildup. However, until now, monitoring dendrite growth by MRI has been limited to observing the relatively insensitive metal nucleus directly, thus restricting the temporal and spatial resolution and requiring special hardware and acquisition modes. Here, we present an alternative approach to detect a broad class of metallic dendrite growth via the dendrites’ indirect effects on the surrounding electrolyte, allowing for the application of fast 3D 1H MRI experiments with high resolution. We use these experiments to reconstruct 3D images of growing Li dendrites from MRI, revealing details about the growth rate and fractal behavior. Radiofrequency and static magnetic field calculations are used alongside the images to quantify the amount of the growing structures.

This research was supported by
the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the Northeastern Center for Chemical Energy Storage.

Updated on 09/27/2016