Non-invasive in-situ dynamic monitoring of elastic properties of composite battery electrodes by EQCM-D

Reversible Li-ion intercalation into composite Li-ion battery (LIB) electrodes is often accompanied by significant dimensional electrode changes (deformation) resulting in significant deterioration of the cycling performance. Viscoelastic properties of polymeric binders affected by intercalation-induced deformation of composite LIB electrodes have never been probed in-situ on operating electrochemical cells. Here, we introduce a newly developed noninvasive method, namely electrochemical quartz-crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (EQCM-D), for in-situ monitoring of elastic properties of polymeric binders during charging of LIB electrodes. As such, we find EQCM-D as a uniquely suitable tool to track the binder’s structural rigidity/softness in composite Li insertion electrodes in real-time by the characteristic increase/decrease of the dissipation factor during the charging-discharging process. The binders partially swollen in aprotic solutions demonstrate intermediate viscoelastic charge-rate-dependent behavior, revealing rigid/soft behavior at high/low charging rates, respectively. The method can be adjusted for continuous monitoring of elastic properties of the polymeric binders over the entire LIB electrodes cycling life.