UCL Electrochemical Innovation Lab


Areas of Research

The Forensic and Diagnostic Lab has advanced capabilities to characterise the performance capabilities and degradation of batteries. The key ethos of the Forensics & Diagnostics Lab is understanding the what, why and how. By gaining an understanding of these questions we are able to develop mechanisms to improve the design, performance and safety of devices; preventing failures and expanding the range of applications for battery technology.
Acoustic Imaging

Acoustic Imaging
We are the national leaders in acoustic imaging as a diagnostic of electrochemical devices pioneering the technique and producing the first reported spatially resolved analysis of Li-ion batteries. This tool enables us to obtain direct measurements of the condition of the individual electrode layers in cells, determine the state of health in microseconds. 

We house three acoustic measurement devices capable of temporally and spatially resolved measurements of cells up to 45 cm2. 

Detailed studies can also be performed in conjunction with dilatometry to fully understand the behaviour of battery materials.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal Imaging
Since 2013 we have invested over £200,000 in our infrared imaging capabilities to place the Forensic & Diagnostic Lab at the forefront of thermal analysis and diagnostics globally. We have the capabilities to perform sub millimetre resolution infrared imaging on devices at rates in excess of 1000 Hz. Indeed using our multi-camera set-up we can provide a 360° view of devices.

Our expertise in this field has led to the development of advanced techniques including lock-in thermography and eletro-thermal impedance spectroscopy which we have applied to battery and fuel cell systems. We also have significant experience in the design and construction of bespoke housing to image high-rate operation and thermal runaway of Li-ion batteries.

X-Ray Imaging

X-Ray Microscopy
Our access to the UCL Centre for Correlative X-ray Microscopy allows us to combine ‘4-D’ tomography with complimentary techniques to further understand the dynamics of electrochemical systems.
We have the capabilities to perform simultaneous acoustic and infrared imaging, electrochemical measurements and ‘μm resolution’ X-ray imaging providing the complete diagnostic toolkit. Our capabilities to perform high resolution X-ray imaging allows forensic analysis of devices at nm resolution providing the greatest detail available in a UK laboratory.

Our substantial experience at national X-ray and neutron facilities including Diamond Light Source & ISIS, ESRF & ILL and Swiss Light Source also enables us to design bespoke experiments using a range of techniques to investigate any number of phenomena at the highest achievable time and spatial resolutions.

Development of Diagnostics

By combining our diverse capabilities we can maximise the understanding of the systems being examined facilitating the development and implementation of bespoke diagnostic tools.
These tailored techniques allow us to isolate distinct features in devices, providing insights which are independent of device construction. We believe this approach enables the most in-depth analysis of devices, maximising the benefit from our research.