Three-dimensional high resolution X-ray imaging and quantification of lithium ion battery mesocarbon microbead anodes

F. Tariq*, V. Yufit, M. Kishimoto, P. R. Shearing, S. Menkin, D. Golodnitsky, J. Gelb, E. Peled, N. P. Brandon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In order to improve lithium ion batteries it is important to characterise real electrode geometries and understand how their 3D structure may affect performance. In this study, high resolution synchrotron nano-CT was used to acquire 3D tomography datasets of mesocarbon microbead (MCMB) based anodes down to a 16 nm voxel size. A specimen labelling methodology was used to produce anodes that enhance the achievable image contrast, and image processing routines were utilised to successfully segment features of interest from a challenging dataset. The 3D MCMB based anode structure was analysed revealing a heterogeneous and bi-modally distributed microstructure. The microstructure was quantified through calculations of surface area, volume, connectivity and tortuosity factors. In doing so, two different methods, random walk and diffusion based, were used to determine tortuosity factors of both MCMB and pore/electrolyte microstructures. The tortuosity factors (2-7) confirmed the heterogeneity of the anode microstructure for this field of view and demonstrated small MCMB particles interspersed between large MCMB particles cause an increase in tortuosity factors. The anode microstructure was highly connected, which was also caused by the presence of small MCMB particles. The complexity in microstructure suggests inhomogeneous local lithium ion distribution would occur within the anode during operation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1014-1020
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 2014


FundersFunder number
Britain Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership
British and Israeli universities
Office of Naval Research Global
Royal Academy of Engineering


    • Anode
    • Lithium ion batteries
    • MCMB
    • Microstructure
    • X-ray tomography


    Dive into the research topics of 'Three-dimensional high resolution X-ray imaging and quantification of lithium ion battery mesocarbon microbead anodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this