Scientists at SLAC’s synchrotron observe ‘breathing’ layer during battery operation
PostedApril 4, 2014
High-tech “smart windows,” which darken to filter out sunlight in response to electric current, function much like batteries. Now, X-ray studies at SLAC provide a crystal-clear view into how the color-changing material in these windows behaves in a working battery – information that could benefit next-generation rechargeable batteries.
Researchers installed ultrathin sheets of smart-window material, nickel oxide, as the anode in a lithium-ion battery, and used SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) and equipment at other labs to study its changing chemistry and 3-D features.
“We switched our attention from changing the color of these materials to using them to store lithium ions, but the principle is the same,” said Feng Lin of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, lead author of the study, published in Nature Communications.