Probing Material Structure at the Energy Frontier
X-Ray Science Division, Argonne National Lab
Our energy needs drive widespread materials research, from energy storage in lithium-ion batteries to novel catalysts for natural gas conversion to selective capture of radiological gases within porous media for safer nuclear energy. Breakthroughs in performance can be driven by advances in the materials themselves or in the tools that we use to understand their function and limitations. By exploiting advanced crystallographic tools that allow us to probe the atomic structure of energy materials in-situ, as they function, we can identify how their structure is linked to their functional properties and performance. These fundamental insights serve as a road map to enhance performance in the next-generation of advanced energy materials.
This presentation will describe examples of recent work demonstrating the valuable insights that synchrotron-based experiments can provide into the structure-function relationship in energy-relevant materials, focusing on identifying the processes that lead to capacity loss in battery electrodes, and temperature and the pressure-induced distortions of novel metal-organic framework-based with applications in catalysis and gas capture. These examples will highlight the new levels of understanding provided by recent developments in in-situ and operando measurement capabilities for synchrotron powder diffraction and pair distribution function analysis.