In order to make lithium-ion batteries more successful, the battery industry needs to ensure that its materials are of high quality. Albemarle is dedicated to serving the battery industry with a range of lithium products that are high-performing and safe. The company supplies lithium for use in mobile communication (MeC) and power tool (PWT) applications, as well as electric mobility.
Lithium-ion batteries have many advantages over other rechargeable battery types. They are lighter, offer higher energy density, and can be charged quickly and efficiently. This makes them popular for a variety of applications, from consumer electronics and smart wearables to power tools and cars. However, lithium foil is an essential component of the batteries, and its purity level must be high to achieve the best results.
For example, a lithium shunt can form in the separator electrolyte during charging if a crystalline defect is present at the surface of the lithium foil. A crystalline defect with a surface area of 20 mm2 or greater can cause a short circuit path in the cell, resulting in an unsafe condition.
To identify and characterize these crystalline defects, micro-x-ray diffraction was performed using Beamline 12.3.2 at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The diffraction pattern in FIG. 4A shows a reference region in a 60-mm-thick, rolled lithium metal foil. The diffraction spots are consistent with identification as lithium metal. The x-ray tomograms in FIG. 4B show two regions within 50 mm of one another, where a crystalline defect is located. The indices in the diffraction pattern of the crystalline defect match those observed in the Raman spectrum for lithium hydride powder, which indicates that the crystalline defect is composed of lithium.