Many of our electronic devices, from laptops to smartphones, are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Use of these batteries could soon extend into many other areas as well, including transport through the ongoing development and adoption of electric vehicles. But there is still room for improvement. Scientists are actively developing novel materials for lithium-ion batteries so they can charge faster, hold more charge and retain that charge for longer, and are also developing next-generation battery technologies that might one day replace lithium-ion batteries. Doing this requires precise, sensitive techniques for analyzing and characterizing these materials and technologies.
This EKB introduces the main analytical techniques used to characterize lithium-ion battery materials. In particular, it focuses on nanoindentation, a very common method for measuring the mechanical properties of materials, and atomic force microscopy characterization, which works by ‘touching’ the surface of materials with a mechanical probe to map their topography and properties with nanoscale resolution.