Researchers in the battery manufacturing industry know how critical it is to identify and eliminate contaminants that enter the battery manufacturing process. Battery contaminants can cause a wide range of problems: wasting materials, leading batteries to prematurely degrade and even creating internal shorts.
To identify contaminants, researchers need a thorough understanding of both the structure and chemistry of battery materials. With conventional methods, the process can be slow due to the low concentration levels of battery contaminants. Luckily, modern instruments can bring far more speed and simplicity to the battery technology research and development process.
The traditional, cumbersome process of battery technology research
Up until now, battery researchers have been forced to navigate two separate workflows as they investigated battery contamination: scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to identify the structure of the battery and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to pinpoint the elements present within battery materials. Switching between these systems is slow and cumbersome. It would often lead to inaccurate results as researchers struggled to correlate their findings between the two systems.
Thankfully, there’s now a way to combine these two workflows.
Speeding battery technology research
The Thermo Scientific Axia ChemiSEM integrates conventional SEM imaging and always-on, quantitative elemental mapping of battery materials into a single instrument, greatly speeding and simplifying the discovery of battery contamination. The instrument continually collects EDS data in the background, with researchers able to turn on EDS analysis information with the click of a button.
A large-scale overview of the sample with advanced battery technology research
With traditional grayscale images obtained using SEM, it can be difficult to obtain enough information to identify regions of interest due to the poor contrast between elements. The Axia ChemiSEM overcomes this problem by generating color images that make it easier to pinpoint foreign elements. A large-scale overview of the sample, which includes EDS data, can be collected in as little as 15 minutes, providing researchers with a navigation image that they can then use as they examine different regions where battery contamination may be present.
Faster analysis of each suspected contaminant
Using this navigation image as their reference, researchers can click on different points of interest to examine suspected contaminants in more detail. With constant access to elemental information, they can quickly characterize the chemistry of their samples without moving to a separate EDS system, which saves time as they research battery contamination.
The Thermo Scientific Axia ChemiSEM generates color images of battery material samples, making it easier to identify foreign elements even when concentrations are low.
Detailed elemental information researchers need
Using the Axia ChemiSEM, researchers can highlight one element at a time to obtain a detailed view of the distribution of each element contained within a sample. They can also use point analysis to quantify the amount of each element present. Moreover, alignments are automated, allowing researchers to quickly change the analysis parameters without making manual adjustments. All of this can be done using the same software, removing the complexity from alternative battery technology research methods.
Transforming your research on battery technology
The Axia ChemiSEM takes battery technology research to a new level, helping researchers identify battery contamination with greater speed and accuracy.
Alice Scarpellini is an Applications Development Scientist at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
To learn more about how you can accelerate battery research and development, please see our application note, Assessment of contaminants within battery materials via Axia ChemiSEM.