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X-ray diffraction used for operando/in situ studies of batteries and fuel cells
April 21 @ 14:00 - 15:00
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), Grenoble, France
Complete physico-chemical operando characterization of electrochemical devices in whole, or it’s constituent materials separately, is necessary to guide the development and to improve the performance. High brilliance synchrotron X-ray sources play a crucial role in this respect as they act as a probe with relatively high penetration power and low damage potential. Synchrotron sources will undergo major upgrades in next decade and will provide even higher brilliance and, more importantly, coherence. These upgrades will be particularly advantageous for beamlines providing high energy X-rays as they will allow use of advanced scattering techniques with highly penetrating probe. Therefore, the techniques typically used for ex-situ measurements or at lower X-ray energies could be used on materials in liquid half-cells and operating electrochemical devices. In this contribution the new possibilities of using high energy, high intensity, coherent X-rays to probe model systems and whole electrochemical devices will be presented. The focus will be on defects tracking, local structure determination and correlative multimodal characterization using advanced WAXS, SAXS and surface scattering techniques.
To study fuel cells or batteries as a whole, elastic scattering techniques such as wide angle and small angle scattering are typically employed, as they can provide important complementary information to more standard X-ray imaging and tomography. The advantage is that the chemical contrast and sensitivity at atomic and nm scales is superior. Coupling these technique with the tomographic reconstruction (XRD-CT and SAXS-CT) is much less common as it requires bright synchrotron sources, fast 2D detectors and advanced instrumentation. However, such combination allows spatial reconstruction of materials important atomic parameters in operando conditions. This will be demonstrated on imaging of standard 5 cm2 PEM fuel cell and Li-ion battery during operation.
Furthermore, local atomic and mesoscale structure, together with defect content, can also be determined by using Rietveld fitting, Pair Distribution Function (PDF) analysis and advanced SAXS theory. This in principle allows holistic investigations of interfaces at the device level, specification of defects’ role in catalysis and determination of interplay between different phases during operation. These are critical questions needed to be answered in order to incorporate novel materials into the electrochemical devices. Examples will be given on studies of the CO2 electrolysis.