Characterization of lithium-ion batteries with the Thermo Scientific Phenom XL G2 benchtop SEM

Characterization of lithium-ion batteries with the Thermo Scientific Phenom XL G2 benchtop SEM

From cell phones and other mobile devices to electric cars. We can no longer think away the batteries used for these purposes from everyday life. Research and development of new batteries is also essential to reduce the environmental impact of electric vehicles, for example, over time.

Lithium-ion batteries, are highly efficient energy storage devices. Currently, they are widely used in various application areas, from consumer electronics (cell phones, tablets, laptops…), in the automotive sector (electric vehicles), and so on.

Characterization of lithium-ion batteries – The challenge

Recently, notable incidents have occurred with lithium-ion batteries used in everyday products, resulting in defective products being recalled. For example, the e aviation industry has adopted new safety rules for the use of smartphones following instances of an ignited battery during a flight. There have also been incidents of electric vehicle batteries catching fire, causing fires that are extremely difficult to extinguish.

Current technologies have led to the development of lithium batteries with liquid electrolytes, while solid-state batteries represent the future of current research.

Phenom SEM batteries

In fact, these solid-state batteries solve two problems:

  • Provide higher density
  • Provide a safer and more reliable product

The main challenge in the characterization of lithium-ion batteries is that lithium is highly reactive in air. In solid-state battery research and development, the sample must be protected from environmental influences to prevent reactions both during preparation and analysis. An argon environment prevents lithium from reacting with oxygen, nitrogen and/or water, thus avoiding potential hazards.


Thermo Scientific Phenom™ XL G2 benchtop SEM – The Solution

The Thermo Scientific Phenom™ XL G2 benchtop SEM in argon conversion is the only scanning electron microscope that can be placed in an argon-filled glovebox for the analysis of air-sensitive lithium battery samples.

When the sample is transferred from the glovebox to the SEM on the workbench, it is usually affected by substances such as water, oxygen or nitrogen. Available solutions, such as a vacuum sample transfer system, are expensive, complex and do not adequately protect the sample.

In contrast, using the SEMin the glovebox makes the workflow faster, since both the sample and the microscope are in the same environment. Although lithium does not react in contact with argon, analysis in an environment filled with this gas poses a challenge.

Phenom XL G2 Argon-Compatible Desktop SEM

A scanning electron microscope applies a voltage of about 15,000 volts (or even higher). Using such a high voltage in an argon-filled environment can, without proper precautions, cause discharges that can damage the electronic components in the SEM.

The Phenom XL G2 Argon Compatible uses special technology to circumvent this problem and provide a protected environment for characterizing air-sensitive samples.

Thermo Scientific Phenom XL G2 SEM Argon compatible – The benefits

With the Phenom XL G2 SEM Argon-Compatible, it is possible to perform both sample preparation and SEM/EDX analysis in the same environment. This not only makes the sample preparation process and analysis faster, but also means that samples remain protected thanks to the argon environment. In addition, this allows analysis or pre-screening to be performed before the sample is transferred to other scientific instrumentation.

Despite the use of gloves, handling the sample holder is easy. Moreover, the system can be used for many hours without the need for manual intervention.

Want to know more?

Would you like to know more about this Phenom XL G2 Argon-Compatible? Request more info or a free demo from our experts here.

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