Tracking Degradation in Commercial Li Batteries with High Chemical, Spatial, and Temporal Resolution

Friday, October 14, 2022 - 3:20pm
Event Type: 

Dr. Lauren Marbella, Columbia University

Host: Dr. Rossini

Although Li metal anodes offer the highest possible specific energy density for Li-based batteries, practical application is plagued by the growth of high surface area Li deposits. The presence of these Li filaments is strongly correlated with the formation of dead (electrochemically inactive) Li that leads to low Coulombic efficiency (CE) and serious safety concerns due to short-circuiting. Yet, electrifying large-scale modes of transportation (semi-trucks, small aircrafts) will rely on high energy density technologies like Li metal batteries. Novel cell designs, such as all solid-state batteries and anode-free batteries, in principle, can overcome some of these issues by improving safety and optimizing energy density at both the cell and stack level. However, both all solid-state batteries and anode-free batteries present unique challenges in terms of coupled chemo-mechanical degradation that occurs over a wide range of time and length scales and thus leads to seemingly unpredictable modes of failure. In this talk, I will discuss our efforts to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and operando nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to probe buried interfaces in these systems and quantitatively detect Li microstructural growth, dead Li formation, and electrolyte decomposition to determine the precise mechanisms of failure in realistic Li battery cells, including all solid-state batteries and commercially-available multilayer pouch cells.

Lauren Marbella is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University. Her research group focuses on understanding the relationship between electrochemical performance and interfacial chemistry in devices for energy storage and conversion. Her research relies heavily on the use of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy to evaluate changes in material properties in real time to elucidate the chemical mechanisms underpinning degradation in Li and beyond Li ion battery systems. Marbella’s research has received numerous awards including the Cottrell Scholar Award (2022), the National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award (2021), and the Scialog Collaborative Innovation Award for Advanced Energy Storage (Sloan Foundation, 2019).

She received her PhD in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, under the direction of Prof. Jill Millstone. In 2017, she was named a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge in the group of Prof. Clare Grey. There, she was also named the Charles and Katharine Darwin Research Fellow, which recognizes the top junior fellow at Darwin College at the University of Cambridge. She joined the chemical engineering faculty at Columbia University in 2018.