Do you have the right cathode chemistry?

See how XRF can simplify elemental analysis during the manufacturing process.

Creating cathodes is a little like baking a cake – both require that your materials or ingredients be of the right type and quality, and in the right proportions. Too much baking powder, and your cake won’t bake properly, but too little and your cake won’t rise. In fact, compounds found in cathode materials work in a similar way. A poor chemistry cathode precursor or an incorrect manufacturing process may cause inconsistent quality of electrode, which may lead to sub-optimal battery performance.

How do you judge the quality of your cathode? Read on to learn how X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry can simplify elemental analysis during the cathode manufacturing process.

Why cathode chemistry is important for batteries

Consistent quality throughout the manufacturing process is the key to a high-performance battery. It is the electrodes that determine the electrochemical performance of the finished battery product. Errors or impurities early on will accumulate and lead to more serious consequences later in production.

To continue the cake metaphor, it may seem as straightforward as adding flour, eggs, and water. But can you guarantee the quality of your ingredients and that they’re free of impurities? Are they mixed in the right proportions and for the right amount of time? These are just some of the other factors to consider in baking the perfect cake, but similar considerations apply to batteries also.

Many factors influence cathode properties. It is a complex, multi-stage process, with different qualities being influenced by the different manufacturing stages, as well as the properties of the input materials. The chemical composition is especially important – and for analyzing this, we recommend X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

XRF solutions for quality cathodes

To optimize the chemical composition of the final cathode materials, it is first essential to control the chemical composition of the precursor and raw materials. X-ray fluorescence analysis can analyze chemical composition and impurities from just a few ppm all the way up to 100%, so is the best technique for controlling this parameter. It can also analyze samples in a variety of forms including powders, liquid suspensions, and fused beads, so has application across the value chain.

Compared with other techniques such as inductively coupled plasma (ICP) mass spectrometry, XRF also provides a simpler and more accurate way of measuring elemental composition. This is because it does not require any sample dilution or acid digestion.

Our XRF systems come in different shapes and sizes depending on your needs. Zetium combines high-end design and innovative features for even the most demanding of XRF applications. It is perfect for high-throughput cathode manufacturing where there can be no compromise between speed and accuracy. If you are looking for portability, then the Epsilon family of benchtop XRF spectrometers delivers fast, accurate results in at-line or near-line scenarios.

Malvern Panalytical specialists have also developed a turn-key solution, including certified reference materials (CRMs) and calibration templates for the analysis of both precursor and cathode material composition with these instruments. Watch our webinar to find out more.

Want to know more about how Malvern Panalytical instruments can improve your cathode chemistry? Check out our brochure for a complete overview of the instruments that can support your research throughout the process!

And don’t forget to follow our dedicated LinkedIn page for the latest updates on our advanced materials solutions.

Further reading

  1. Particle sizing: your superpower in battery innovation
  2. Insitec: bringing the energy transition on-line
  3. How XRD holds the key to better batteries
  4. Why particle shape matters too…
  5. Worried about your battery’s stability during cycling? Here’s how in-operando XRD can help