Exploring 3D microstructural evolution in Li-Sulfur battery electrodes using in-situ X-ray tomography

Assiya Yermukhambetova, Chun Tan, Sohrab R. Daemi, Zhumabay Bakenov, Jawwad A. Darr, Daniel J L Brett, Paul R. Shearing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries offer higher theoretical specific capacity, lower cost and enhanced safety compared to current Li-ion battery technology. However, the multiple reactions and phase changes in the sulfur conversion cathode result in highly complex phenomena that significantly impact cycling life. For the first time to the authors' knowledge, a multi-scale 3D in-situ tomography approach is used to characterize morphological parameters and track microstructural evolution of the sulfur cathode across multiple charge cycles. Here we show the uneven distribution of the sulfur phase fraction within the electrode thickness as a function of charge cycles, suggesting significant mass transport limitations within thick-film sulfur cathodes. Furthermore, we report a shift towards larger particle sizes and a decrease in volume specific surface area with cycling, suggesting sulfur agglomeration. Finally, we demonstrate the nano-scopic length-scale required for the features of the carbon binder domain to become discernible, confirming the need for future work on in-situ nano-tomography. We anticipate that X-ray tomography will be a powerful tool for optimization of electrode structures for Li-S batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35291
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - Oct 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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