This news release is announced by SII NanoTechnology Inc., a group company of Seiko Instruments Inc.
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:: New Release ::
August 30, 2011
Development of an X-Ray Particle Inspection System for Lithium Ion Batteries
The World's First*1 System with High Speed Detection and Automatic Elemental Analysis of Small Contaminant Particles
August 30, 2011 -- Measurement and analysis instrument manufacturer SII NanoTechnology Inc. (SIINT), a 100% subsidiary of Seiko Instruments Inc. (SII), has successfully developed an X-ray Inspection System which enables detection of any metal particles of about 20um diameter contained in fuel cell electrodes and the lithium ion rechargeable battery electrodes within few minutes and the elemental analysis automatically. The prototype will be released at JAIMA EXPO 2011/ SIS 2011, Japan's largest trade show of analytical instruments to be held at Makuhari Messe from September 7 through 9.
X-Ray Particle Inspection System (Prototype)
Contamination by metal particles in fuel cells and lithium ion rechargeable batteries causes a decrease of production yields and battery lifetime. Most importantly, contamination in lithium ion rechargeable batteries causes heat and the fire in the worst case scenario. It is important that contamination by metal particles be avoided in lithium ion rechargeable batteries in view of large volume of these batteries used in electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and residences. For this reason most battery manufacturers perform complex failure analysis. Contamination is caused by the materials such as the active materials*2, the separators*3, and materials from the coating process.
Current failure analysis is performed to specify which manufacturing process the batteries are contaminated. Location of metal particles is identified using an X-ray CT system or an optical microscope. Then the target particles are analyzed using a Scanning Electron Microscope or a fluorescent X-ray analyzer. However, this method has problem of detecting of particles less than 50um in diameter and the exceedingly long detection time for analysis. Furthermore, there is a problem of losing the location in case other system is used for the elemental analysis.
SII NanoTechnology Inc. has developed the world's first*1 X-ray particle inspection system which enables the inspection and analysis of metal particles about 20um in diameter using metal particle detection by X-Ray Imaging and fluorescent X-ray analysis.
This system automatically enables X-Ray Imaging, detection of metal particles, and elemental analysis. The operator simply sets the sample such as electrodes, separators, or active materials in the pan, selects detection procedure, and starts measurement. As a result of an analysis, this system provides images by optical microscopes and information such as the number of metal particles, their size and composition. The results can be obtained automatically without sample preparation. Failure analysis and sampling inspection can be carried out easily.
[Key Features of X-Ray Particle Inspection System]
(1) Only Few Minutes to Detect Particles about 20um in Diameter from the A4-Size Samples
For example, current X-ray CT system took more than several hours to detect metal particles about 20um in diameter from A4-size battery electrodes*1. SII NanoTechnology Inc. has successfully increased detection speed by more than 100 times compared with current speed by reducing imaging time using newly developed detector, new X-ray tube, and new image processing technology. This system enables to finish imaging in 3 to 6 minutes and to detect particles about 20um in diameter automatically.
(2) Greatly Increased Elemental Identification Speed
Elemental analysis for the detected metal particles is performed automatically using fluorescence X-ray method.
Equipped with unique Focused X-ray Optics, elemental identification speed for metal particles about 20um in diameter increased by around 10 times as fast as conventional systems.
(3) Higher Efficiency by All-in-one Instrument
X-ray imaging unit, the fluorescent X-ray analyzer, and the optical microscope are integrated into this system and they are linked to provide results automatically. Thus the operator can obtain measurement results by setting samples only which result in significant higher working efficiency.
||According to our own research
||Active material: Material which captures and releases electrons by a chemical reaction
||Separator: Film with innumerable holes (Polyethylene: PE or polypropylene: PP) which insulates a positive and negative electrode electrically.
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