Operando monitoring of reaction heterogeneities in fast charging Na-ion batteries using synchrotron radiation: from micro and nano diffraction

Published : 1 January 2023

Sodium-ion batteries can compete with Li-ion batteries for power applications, while being free of critical metals such as Co, Ni or Li. However, fast charging can lead to inter- and/or intra-particle reaction heterogeneities causing underutilisation of the electrode and/or mechanical degradation involving particle cracking. These complex non-equilibrium processes can have profound effects on the overall battery performance, but unravelling such phenomena in an operating battery is highly challenging because of a lack of operando characterization techniques that can monitor Na(Li)-ion dynamics at the micro- to nano-scale and at relevant charging rates. The aim of this PhD is to develop and combine operando microdiffraction and Laue nanodiffraction synchrotron techniques to quantify reaction heterogeneity at the electrode and particle scale focusing on Na-ion cathodes under high rate operation. The team already has a strong expertise in operando microdiffraction while Laue nanodiffraction has been performed on other type of materials but no yet on batteries. The results will be directly compared to modelling results performed in the framework of national (PEPR batteries) and European (BIGMAP – battery 2030+) projects. Generally, this will strengthen our understanding and simulations of battery cycle life and power performance.

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