Probing redox in Li-ion battery cathode materials using electron imaging and spectroscopy

Improving technologies for energy storage is a key part of our strategy for achieving net carbon zero energy usage.  Lithium ion batteries provide high storage capacity, and there are a number of candidate materials systems for battery cathodes allow further storage improvements.  There are, however, several outstanding questions regarding the nature of redox and challenges associated with structural stability and oxygen loss in high-capacity cathode materials including anion-redox and Ni-rich cathodes.  Recently developed, advanced electron microscopy imaging and spectroscopy techniques allow not only the atomic positions and local chemistry to be determined, but also the redistribution of charges within the cathode structure which can be measured at different points in the charge/discharge cycle.  The aim is to provide a fundamental understanding of these materials to provide a foundation for further development.  The project will involve working with collaborators who will provide candidate materials, operation of advanced electron microscope instruments, developing sophisticated data processing methods and use of materials modelling to allow full interpretation of experimental data in terms of materials performance.

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