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Wet cells and dry cells: in situ transmission electron microscopy of electrically-driven, dynamical processes


Recent developments in nanofabrication techniques allow thin, wet systems to be imaged with high spatial and temporal resolution in the electron microscope. Coupling this ability with simultaneous, measured, electrical control, we cycle processes in liquid systems representing different electrochemical battery components. Dynamic processes imaged with these techniques, which represent a new state-of-the-art, include nanobubble collapse, dendrite growth, ion diffusion, and graphite intercalation. We also develop a sensitive system for measuring electron beam induced currents (EBIC) in the transmission electron microscope and apply it to graphene-MoS2 heterostructures. This new hybrid material has strong light-matter interactions, and the EBIC measurements map the minority carrier diffusion length, which we observe to decrease with increasing radiation damage. These results have direct implications for the function and service lifetime of solar cells based on molybdenum disulfide.

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