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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Failure Analysis of Batteries Using Synchrotron-based Hard X-ray Microtomography.

  • Author(s): Harry, Katherine J
  • Parkinson, Dilworth Y
  • Balsara, Nitash P
  • et al.

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Imaging morphological changes that occur during the lifetime of rechargeable batteries is necessary to understand how these devices fail. Since the advent of lithium-ion batteries, researchers have known that the lithium metal anode has the highest theoretical energy density of any anode material. However, rechargeable batteries containing a lithium metal anode are not widely used in consumer products because the growth of lithium dendrites from the anode upon charging of the battery causes premature cell failure by short circuit. Lithium dendrites can also form in commercial lithium-ion batteries with graphite anodes if they are improperly charged. We demonstrate that lithium dendrite growth can be studied using synchrotron-based hard X-ray microtomography. This non-destructive imaging technique allows researchers to study the growth of lithium dendrites, in addition to other morphological changes inside batteries, and subsequently develop methods to extend battery life.

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