Energy & Catalysts

Batteries, fuel cells, and catalysts are increasingly important in the modern world. Research in these fields is one of the most active areas of materials science and involves collaboration between chemists, materials engineers, and modeling experts. Characterization is paramount toward developing clean, safe, and long-lasting next-generation energy storage and conversion devices, which, in turn, creates a better life for us all.

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Sigray’s laboratory X-ray solutions offer a powerful approach to non-destructive characterization, addressing a wide range of electrochemical research challenges:

Chemistry: Oxidation states, chemical states, bond length, & more

In operando: Observation of chemical states before, during, and after cycling

Composition: Contaminants and impurities on separators and electrodes

Microstructure: Evolution of electrode microstructures as a function of charge


X-Ray Spectroscopy in Your Lab

Chemical states (e.g. oxidation state and fluoride and nitride chemistries) are critical to measure for characterization and improvement of catalysts and energy materials such as batteries and fuel cells. The QuantumLeap, through several patented innovations, provides synchrotron-quality x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) within minutes to hours.

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Redox Revealed

Oxidation-reduction reactions govern the operation of electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices, such as Li-ion batteries and fuel cells (SOFCs & PEFCs). Tracking the oxidation state changes allow researchers to better understand the functional properties of new materials, and X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) is a popular choice for this characterization. Until recently, XAS has been limited to synchrotrons only; however, Sigray’s QuantumLeap provides many of these same capabilities in a laboratory package. Through non-destructive characterization with QuantumLeap, researchers are gaining routine insight into one of the most fundamental properties of electrochemistry: chemical state change itself.

Interested in learning more about how QuantumLeap laboratory XAS can track oxidation state changes in a Li-ion battery electrode? Download our whitepaper below to read about how laboratory XANES was applied to characterizing a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cathode.

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Synchrotron-Class XAS

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Sub-eV In Your Lab

Measurement precision in XANES and EXAFS is characterized by the energy resolution of the XAS instrument. QuantumLeap results been verified against synchrotron data, showing a high degree of positive correlation to 0.5 eV. Available with both Johansson and von Hamos geometrieis, QuantumLeap provides the ultimate in XAS flexibility for your laboratory.

Local Composition & Trace Elemental Analysis

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Microns-scale metal particles are well known to be a contamination concern, which could lead to catastrophic failure of batteries. Recently, transition metal dissolution (TMD) and migration has become of increasing interest to evaluate for long-term battery performance. The Sigray AttoMap XRF microscope provides rapid quantification of particles, their composition, and the size distribution.


3D Imaging of Microstructure

High-Resolution Analysis from 3D to 4D

Electrochemical device performance is thought to be controlled, in part, by the material’s microstructure. Multi-phase contact of active materials, percolating pore networks, and particle size distributions have all been shown to correlative to electrochemical activity, but few tools exist for visualizing the microstructures with sufficient resolution. 3D imaging of microstructure with TriLambda NanoXRM enables down to 40 nm resolution on electrodes, particle clusters, and polymer materials (e.g., separators & PEFCs) alike. Visualize porosity and generate particle dispersion models through the power of 3D imaging with X-ray microscopy.

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Imaging Porosity in 3D

Imaging porosity is critical to understanding fluid transport pathways in porous materials. Electrochemical devices, such as Li-ion batteries and fuel cells (SOFCs & PEFCs), rely on well-defined pore networks to properly distribute fluids that facilitate safe operation of the device. Imaging with X-rays provides a non-destructive means to access these microstructures with resolutions down to 40 nm.