Hard X-ray transmission X-ray microscopy (TXM) is an ideal tool for in situ and operando studies of functional materials and materials synthesis routes. The high energy X-rays provides relatively relaxed restrictions on in situ environments enabling high resolution 2D microscopy and tomography (3D microscopy)1 across a large range of pressures and temperatures and in varying gas or liquid environments. The full field geometry of TXM allows imaging at the sub-second time scale, allowing relevant dynamics to be captured during; for example, battery cycling,2,3 catalysis reactions,4 electrochemical synthesis,5 and corrosion.6 Moreover, by tuning the incident X-ray energy to specific absorption edges, TXM can capture elemental and chemical (spectro-microscopy) changes at 30 nm resolution within a few minutes (Figure).
Li-ion batteries promise the high specific capacity required to replace the internal combustion engine with a number of possible earth abundant electrode materials; however, setbacks such as capacity fading hinder the full capability of these rechargeable batteries. In the search for better electrode materials, high resolution X-ray microscopy during typical battery operation is vital in understand and overcoming the failure mechanisms of these materials. I will discuss the use of X-ray microscopy including spectro-microscopy and nano-tomography to track electrochemical and morphological changes in the electrode material in real time during typical battery operation.
Johanna Nelson Weker (Stanford Synchrotron Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)