See through batteries

Anyone who has owned a portable electronic gadget during the last decade (hands up anyone who hasn’t!) or so will have relied on the almost ubiquitous lithium-ion battery. They precluded the need to use noxious cadmium and purportedly side-step the memory charge problem of so-called Ni-cad batteries. But, they are far from perfect, they rarely last as long in use as the manufacturers of said gadgets often claim and they do wear out, usually within about 18 months of purchase and usually on the day when their use is most likely to be most problematic for the user. Moore’s Law may apply to silicon chips, but Sod’s Law is the more common legal mandate of lithium batteries.

Now, a UK-US collaboration has exploited the power of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take a diagnostic look at one of the perennial problems of modern technology: the chemistry of rechargeable batteries. Find out what their scans told them in my latest post on SpectroscopyNOW.

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