Nanoscale Imaging Reveals Better Sodium-Ion Batteries

Nanoscale imaging reveals new insights into improving sodium-ion batteries, providing a cheaper and safer energy storage alternative to Lithium-ion batteries. Recent research published in ‘Applied Physics Reviews’ introduces a novel technique co-led by Professor Oleg Kolosov from Lancaster University and Professor Zhigao Huang from Fujian Normal University, with significant contributions from Associate Professor Yue Chen, who is affiliated with both Lancaster and Fuzhou.

Introduction to Nanoscale Imaging Techniques

Researchers have developed electrochemical ultrasonic force microscopy (EC-UFM) for nanoscale imaging of rechargeable battery interfaces. EC-UFM allows the observation of the solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI), a crucial component that impacts the battery’s capacity, power, and longevity, during the battery’s operation.

Importance of EC-UFM

The technique of EC-UFM enables detailed imaging of the SEI layer formation, which affects how well sodium-ion batteries perform. This has been a long-standing challenge in battery research. By observing these interfaces at the nanoscale, researchers can contribute to making sodium-ion batteries more efficient and potentially extend their life cycle.

Focus on Cycle Stability and Capacity

The study aims to increase the cycle stability, lifespan, and capacity of sodium-ion batteries, making them a viable alternative to Lithium-ion batteries. Lithium is more difficult to mine and scarcer compared to sodium. Thus, finding an efficient method to enhance the performance of sodium-ion batteries could benefit industries relying on energy storage.

Novel Techniques for Enhanced Performance

Using a solvent to facilitate the co-intercalation of sodium into the carbon electrode, the researchers guided the formation of the SEI layer during the charge/discharge process. This preserves the shuttling of charge carriers between the electrolyte and electrode, resulting in efficient sodium-ion batteries. Significant cycle stability and capacity improvements make this technique stand out.

Collaborative Research Efforts

The research was a collaborative effort under the NEXGENNA Faraday Institution project. By closely working together, Professor Kolosov, Professor Huang, and Associate Professor Chen made groundbreaking advancements in the field of battery technology.

Journal Reference and Publication

This research was thoroughly documented in the journal ‘Applied Physics Reviews’. The paper, titled ‘Operando nano-mapping of sodium-diglyme co-intercalation and SEI formation in sodium ion batteries’ graphene anodes,’ provides a detailed scientific explanation. The DOI reference for this publication is

Future Implications

The development of EC-UFM and its application in enhancing Sodium-ion Battery performance paves the way for further innovations in energy storage technologies. This could lead to more cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions in the future.


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