Li-ion batteries are in the focus of further research activities.
The atomic structures of cathode and anode materials as well as solid state electrolytes are investigated in terms of their lithium storage and transport properties. Special attention is paid to the air and radiation sensitivity of these materials.
Nowadays global warming, coming hand-in-hand with the greenhouse effect caused by a massive emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, is one of the key problems not only for industry and research fields, but also causing extraordinary societal strain. To achieve the ambitious goal of climate neutrality by 2050, the mobility and energy sectors must be transformed. The advanced development of electrical energy storage systems plays a major role in this process.
Used in electric vehicles, the modern battery systems should be environmentally friendly (toxic components should be avoided and the recycling procedure be kept in mind), cheap, reliable, safe, easy to create and maintain and moderate in weight and volume, provide high energy and power density, combined with a long life time and stability. The microstructural, nanostructural and chemical design of the battery materials as well as the changes occurring during the aging of the battery materials and resulting in the loss of the optimal performance are in the primary focus of the investigations. We aim at providing the knowledge basis for a rapid and targeted development of anodes, cathodes and electrolytes.
The cross-linking of materials' morphology and structure with the synthesis route and the functional properties opens the door to the smart design of materials. Possibilities to fine-tune the battery materials for the intended applications and operation parameters directly depend on a reliable insight into the structural and chemical organization of the materials. The investigation of the materials in the fresh and consecutive used states relies on multi-scale and quantative data obtained in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies. Furthermore, the application of state-of-the-art in situ investigations results in a gain of deep knowledge of the functional and aging processes taking place in the materials under realistic conditions.
The described approach is only possible in a multidisciplinary research environment, as the cross-disciplinary area of research demands the background in advanced microscopy, (electro-)chemistry, physics and materials science.