The Institute of Applied Materials - Energy Storage Systems, IAM-ESS, at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), headed by Prof. Helmut Ehrenberg, has a strong and long-standing expertise in the study of materials for energy storage systems.
To accomplish their goals the institute covers the sections ‘Carbon-based Energy Materials’, ‘Functional Composite Materials’, ‘Ageing and Fatigue’, ‘Surface- and Interface Analysis’, ‘Novell Synthesis Routes’ and ‘Development of Scattering Techniques for Materials Characterization’.
The Institute is also located at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry: Materials Research for Energy Storage (AK Ehrenberg).
Beside laboratory equipment necessary for this kind of research the institute has also access to large scale facilities as neutron and synchrotron sources. In cooperation with these facilities experimental in-situ and in-operando techniques are developed to investigate specific aspects of these materials or even complete commercial devices.
A cost-effective use of energy storage can be achieved for applications such as the storage of wind and solar energy as well as for electric mobility only through a long lifetime. Accordingly, it is crucial to determine the degradation mechanisms by in operando and post mortem material analysis, in order to derive accurate lifetime models. Starting from this material characterization with the goal of lifetime modeling projects involving industrial partners and other research institutes are conducted. In addition, the focus of IAM-ESS is the development of novel energy storage systems, material development and characterization of redox flow systems and the development of efficient methods for the in operando investigations of materials and of complete energy storage devices under real operating conditions.
The Surface Analysis Group utilizes Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) for chemical and morphological characterization of topmost surfaces. In particular, XPS is the most widely used surface analysis technique to provide quantitative chemical state information in a non-destructive manner. Complementary ToF-SIMS in combination with sputter depth profiling achieves chemical and molecular 3D information at high spatial resolution. All spectrometers can be accessed via atmosphere contact free sample transport. Within the R&D strategy of the IAM-ESS a central activity is also to adapt and develop the combined spectroscopic methods to chemically characterize novel materials for energy storage systems.