Batteries have progressed a lot since the Voltaic pile was invented.
Though the technology kept evolving from lead-acid to lithium-ion, numerous challenges are still in the way of progress. These are some of the most prevalent problems – higher energy density and suppressing dendrite growth.
Experts are working tirelessly to solve those problems in the quest for energy-efficient, safe batteries.
A new study saw many institutions collaborate, including the Carnegie Mellon University, Northeastern University, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) of Finland, and institutions in Japan, including the Gunma University, Japan Synchroton Radiation Research Institute, and others.
Regular Li-Ion batteries work via cationic redox – When metal ions change their oxidation state as lithium gets inserted/removed.
The team aims to provide solid evidence for the redox mechanism using Compton scattering, the phenomenon by which photons deviate from straight trajectories after interacting with particles (usually electrons). The researchers carried on with advanced theoretical and experimental studies at SPring-8, the world’s most extensive third-gen synchrotron radiation facility, under the operation of JASRI.
Synchrotron radiation translates to the narrow, powerful beams of electromagnetic radiation emitted when beams of electrons get accelerated nearly to the speed of light and get forced to travel in curved paths due to the action of magnetic fields.
At that point, Compton scattering is noticeable.
The scientists analyzed how the electronic orbital located at the base of the reversible and stable anionic redox activity can be visualized and imaged, and its symmetry and character are determined.
That may be a breakthrough for the world of battery technology.
Though research from the past led to alternative explanations regarding the anionic redox mechanism, it couldn’t provide a better image of the quantum mechanical, electronic orbitals related to redox reactions as that can’t be measured by regular experimental setups.