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

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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