Toughness of battery nanostructures studied via in-situ TEM

Researchers at the University of Houston and the Singapore University of Technology and Design have created a silkworm cocoon-like silicon battery electrode using a non-invasive sacrificial template method, and studied their fracture mechanism using in-situ TEM. Their findings are published in ACS Nano.

yolk-shell NC-Silicon

Copyright © 2017 ACS

Using the Hummingbird TEM Nano-Manipulator holder, the researchers were able to assemble a prototype nano-electrochemical cell with composites of nitrogen-doped carbon (NC) and porous silicon nano rods (NRs) affixed on the half TEM Cu grid and  Li/Li2O lithium source/electrolyte attached to the movable probe.  The probes were brought in contact, and the Cu probe with active materials was negatively biased (-2V) to perform lithiation of the nanostructure. During lithiation, the yolk-shell design of NC/Si NRs allowed silicon to expand freely in the internal void space and demonstrated excellent mechanical integrity of the material during cycling.

Similarly, some of the co-authors also created Sb2Te3 particles using a high energy ball mill method, and performed in-situ TEM sodiation to study their suitability for application in sodium-based batteries. Their findings are published in Energy Storage Materials.

Fei-Hu Du, Yizhou Ni, Ye Wang, Dong Wang, Qi Ge, Shuo Chen, and Hui Ying Yang. “Green Fabrication of Silkworm Cocoon-like Silicon-Based Composite for High-Performance Li-Ion Batteries,” ACS Nano (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b0383o

Z. Yanga, J. Suna, Y. Nia, Z. Zhaob, J. Baob, S. Chen. “Facile synthesis and in situ transmission electron microscopy investigation of a highly stable Sb2Te3/C nanocomposite for sodium-ion batteries,” Energy Storage Materials 9 (2017), 214-220. DOI:10.1016/j.ensm.2017.07.010

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