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Next Frontier - CryoEM for Quantum Materials and Energy Research

Join this webinar on 09 June - 15:00 (CT) titled, Next Frontier - CryoEM for Quantum Materials and Energy Research.

About this webinar

The behavior of many important energy-relevant materials can be dominated by processes occurring at defects, interfaces, and grain or phase boundaries and Electron Microscopy (EM) has long been a technique of choice to analyze these complex heterogeneous systems at the atomic level. However, these materials are often prone to changes upon exposure to electron beam, creating challenging conditions for imaging and analytical data collection and reliability.

This webinar forum will present different approaches to maintaining sample integrity during electron microscopy studies and will feature a discussion on future directions in this field, for example use of cryoEM techniques for materials science applications.

In this webinar you will learn how:

  • Approaches to sample damage mitigation in EM
  • Low dose and cryoEM techniques for sample integrity during imaging and analysis
  • Improvements in detectors, software and sample handling approaches to support analysis of beam sensitive materials

Webinar agenda: 

  • Introduction: Mauro Porcu – Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Presentation 1: Prof. Shirley Meng – University of Chicago

Unveiling the Stable Nature of LiPON-associated Electrode/Electrolyte Interphases via Cryogenic Electron Microscopy

The past four decades have witnessed intensive research efforts on the chemistry, structure, and morphology of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) in Li-metal and Li-ion batteries (LIBs) using liquid or polymer electrolytes, since the SEI is considered to predominantly influence the performance, safety and cycle life of batteries. Compared with their liquid-electrolyte analogues, solid state electrolytes (SSEs) have drawn increased attention as they promote battery safety, exhibit a wide operational temperature window, and improve energy density by enabling Li metal as anode materials for next-generation lithium-ion batteries. As one of the most successful SSEs, LiPON has enabled an all-solid-state thin-film battery with a Li metal anode and a high-voltage LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 (LNMO) cathode to achieve a capacity retention of 90% over 10,000 cycles with a Coulombic efficiency over 99.98%, indicating the presence of extremely stable interphases between LiPON and electrode materials. 

Experimental efforts to identify this stable interphase of LiPON against both electrodes, however, have been impeded by the limited characterization techniques available due to the low interaction volume of lithium, the amorphous nature of LiPON, and the extreme susceptibility of both lithium metal and LiPON to ambient air and probe damage. Originating from the structural biology field, cryogenic focused ion beam (cryo-FIB) and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) have recently been introduced to battery research, and have proven the ability to preserve and probe Li metal for quantitative structural and chemical analysis. In this presentation, we combined cryo-FIB and cryo-EM to preserve the Li/LiPON interphase and characterize its chemistry and structure. According to these findings, we proposed a multilayer-mosaic interphase model, stressing the diffusion of decomposition product species and structural reconfiguration during equilibration. A combination of neutron depth profiling (NDP) and cryo-EM for elucidating the interfacial chemistry and structure between LNMO cathode and LiPON will also be covered, which offers valuable insights on LiPON’s stability against high voltage cathode.

  • Presentation 2: Dr. Miaofang Chi – Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Recognizing the hidden hands in microscopy experiments’

Abstract: Electron microscopy has become instrumental in materials sciences, especially after the invention of aberration correctors and high-resolution electron energy loss spectrometers. Striking atomic-resolution images and spectroscopic maps can be routinely seen in publications. Sample integrity, which defines the representativeness and reliability of microscopy data, however, has seldom been highlighted. Indeed, reserving sample integrity remains a challenge in studying many energy and quantum materials, especially some specific features at the atomic resolution or under in situ cond. Here, I will give you a couple of examples of how to recognize “invisible” modifications in STEM experiments, including sample preparation and microscopy imaging. At last, I will discuss with you the potential solutions and posit future directions for improvement.

  • Audience Q&A 

About the event speakers

Y. Shirley Meng is a professor of molecular engineering at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. She also serves as the chief scientist of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) Argonne National Laboratory.

Her work pioneers in discovering and designing better materials for energy storage by a unique combination of first-principles computation guided materials discovery and design, and advanced characterization with electron/neutron/photon sources. Meng is the principal investigator of the research group - Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion (LESC).

She has received several prestigious awards, including the Faraday Medal of Royal Chemistry Society (2020), International Battery Association Battery IBA Research Award (2019), Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Finalist (2018), C.W. Tobias Young Investigator Award of the Electrochemical Society (2016), Science Award Electrochemistry by BASF and Volkswagen (2014) and NSF CAREER Award (2011). Meng is the elected fellow of Electrochemical Society (FECS) and elected fellow of Materials Research Society (FMRS). She serves as the editor-in-chief for Materials Research Society MRS Energy & Sustainability Journal.

Meng received her PhD in Advanced Materials for Micro & Nano Systems from the Singapore-MIT Alliance in 2005, and her bachelor’s degree with first-class honor from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2000. She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow and became a research scientist at MIT from 2005-2007. Meng was the Zable Endowed Chair Professor in Energy Technologies at the University of California-San Diego (UCSD) before joining PME at the University of Chicago.

Miaofang Chi is a distinguished scientist at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from University of California, Davis in 2008.

Her primary research interests lie in advancing and applying novel electron microscopy techniques in energy and nanotechnology research, especially in understanding interfacial ion transport and charge transfer behavior in energy and quantum materials. She received the ORNL Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology (2015 and 2021).  

She was named to the Clarivate’s list of Highly Cited Researchers in multiple years. She was awarded the Burton Medal in 2016 and elected as a Fellow of Microscopy Society of America in 2022.  

Who should attend this webinar? 

If you are an Electron Microscopist, Materials Scientist, Lab Manager, Professor, PostDoc, Student, or Researcher then this webinar is for you. 

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