Show of power: a 3-D look inside a battery

Lithium deposits, or 'dendrites', can cause batteries to explode. Now we have a way to watch them grow without busting open the casing.

Jerschow lab / NYU

Chemists have developed a way to create highly detailed, 3-D images of the insides of batteries. The technique, based on magnetic resonance imaging, can monitor the condition of these power sources in real time.

This image is of the inside of a lithium cell after charging. Dendritic growth – deposits than can reduce performance – can be seen stretching between the two electrodes, short-circuiting the cell.

The work was unveiled in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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