LigHt: Science of material dynamics for energy storage and conversion in cyclic societies

LigHt is a WISE funded infrastructure project that combines several materials characterisation techniques in an integrated approach to accelerate materials design for green energy applications.

  • Funder: The Wallenberg Foundations


Light elements are critical pieces for CO2-free energy storage, transport, and production applications. As an example, lithium is a critical part of batteries, while hydrogen gas is anticipated to replace fossil fuels as a process gas in heavy industries. To optimise materials design and facilitate the pipeline from fundamental research to applications of new materials, comprehensive materials analysis with regard to chemistry, structure, and atomic composition is needed. The planned light element characterization platform (LigHt) will combine several cutting-edge techniques to accelerate materials design for green energy applications:

Time-of-flight Secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) is considered to be the most sensitive method available to measure near-surface elemental concentrations. With a sub-nanometre depth resolution and lateral resolutions in the nanometre range, 3D maps of elemental composition can be produced.

Extended pressure hard X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (EP-HAXPES) is sensitive to the chemical environment of different elements. The technique does not need ultrahigh vacuum and can be used to characterise gas-solid or solid-solid interfaces with high potential for corrosion and catalysis research. EP-HAXPES instruments are mainly found at large synchrotrons making the proposed integrated approach a unique set-up.

X-ray diffraction (XRD) provides structural information about materials, such as unit cell parameters of crystals as well as particle sizes and distributions. The technique can also detect very small structural changes as a function of external parameters.

These new instruments will be installed within an integrated environment connected to the Tandem accelerator. Ion beam analysis methods such as nuclear reaction analysis (NRA) and elastic recoil detection analysis (ERDA) that are highly sensitive to light elements will complement the techniques mentioned above.

Advanced sample preparation stations will be integrated into the system as well to keep the studied material systems under controlled conditions from start to finish and allow for studies of in-situ processes. A specific focus of the new platform will be measurements under dynamic conditions, such as pressure, temperature, electromagnetic or electrochemical changes to simulate the behaviour of devices and materials in-operando.