Atomic force microscopy is particularly well suited as a tool for Lithium ion battery research to address the key challenges of improving battery capacity, power density, lifetime, and safety. Fundamentally, a battery is an electrochemical cell, and electrochemical AFM can serve to probe changes of the electrode surface directly, in situ and in operando, and even measure variations in local electrochemical activity. For example, AFM studies of high-capacity Li ion anodes can help understand the evolution and degradation of the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer, which limits power density and battery lifetime. At the cathode, correlated electrical and mechanical characterization can quantify component distribution, characterize conductivity variation, and pinpoint inactive metal oxide grains that limit capacity. Finally, AFM imaging of the separator membrane on a tensile stage can provide insight into the fracture mechanism operating when dendrite growth leads to catastrophic failure.
The ability to measure local electrochemical activity and surface conductivity in situ, in the presence of electrolyte is equally useful for the characterization of other energy storage and conversion approaches such as supercapacitors, fuel cells, and solar fuel.
- In situ, in operando characterization during anode charging cycles with EC-AFM
- Quantitative studies of the SEI layer on high capacity anodes with PeakForce QNM
- Direct probing of local electrochemical activity with PeakForce SECM
- Multimodal cathode characterization with DataCube modes
- Turnkey solutions for EC-AFM, SECM, and glove box integration