Correlating cycling history with structural evolution in commercial 26650 batteries using in operando neutron powder diffraction
Ex situ and time-resolved in operando neutron powder diffraction (NPD) has been used to study the structural evolution of the graphite negative electrode and LiFePO4 positive electrode within ANR26650M1A commercial batteries from A123 Systems, in what to our knowledge is the first reported NPD study investigating a 26650-type battery. Batteries with different and accurately-known electrochemical and storage histories were studied, enabling the tell-tale signs of battery degradation to be elucidated using NPD. The ex-situ NPD data revealed that the intensity of the graphite/lithiated graphite (LixC6 or LiyC) reflections was affected by battery history, with lower lithiated graphite (LiC12) reflection intensities typically corresponding to more abused batteries. This indicates that the lithiation of graphite is less progressed in more abused batteries, and hence these batteries have lower capacities. In operando NPD allows the rate of structural evolution in the battery electrode materials to be correlated to the applied current. Interestingly, the electrodes exhibit different responses to the applied current that depend on the battery cycling history, with this particularly evident for the negative electrode. Therefore, this work illustrates how NPD can be used to correlate a battery history with electrode structure.