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An Easy-to-Use Custom-Built Cell for Neutron Powder Diffraction Studies of Rechargeable Batteries

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In operando powder diffraction remains one of the most powerful tools for non-destructive investigation of battery electrode materials. While in operando X-ray, especially synchrotron radiation, powder diffraction is by now a routine experimental technique, in operando neutron powder diffraction is still less established. We present a new electrochemical cell for in operando neutron powder diffraction, which is, first and foremost, easy to use, but can also cycle electrode materials under electrochemical conditions close to those achieved using standard laboratory cells. The cell has been designed in multiple sizes, and high-quality electrochemical and neutron powder diffraction data is presented for sample sizes as low as 48 mg total active material. The cell handles lithium-ion and sodium-ion materials equally well, with no difference in how the cell is prepared and assembled. The cell is intended to be used as sample environment at powder diffractometers at the neutron facilities MLZ, ORNL and ACNS.