In our smartphones, our computers and in our electric cars: We use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries everywhere. But their capacity drops after a while. Now a German-American research team has investigated the structure and functionality of these batteries using neutron diffraction: They discovered that the electrolyte fluid’s decomposition products capture mobile lithium in the battery and that the distribution of lithium within the cell is surprisingly uneven.
Leveraging the unique interaction of neutrons and lithium, researchers have been able to build a unique picture of what’s happening inside a lithium battery as it undergoes cycling.
Using neutron and muon techniques, researchers have tested a new material that could be used inside a solid-state battery.
In a joint publication, scientists from University College London, CEA/University Grenoble Alpes, and LENS members ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and Laboratoire Léon Brillouin (LLB), explain how innovations in neutron scattering are enabling researchers to create and test new Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) formulations for clean-energy applications.