Operando visualisation of battery chemistry in a sodium-ion battery by 23Na magnetic resonance imaging

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Claire Doswell
  • Galina Pavlovskaya
  • Heather Au
  • Hande Alptekin
  • Maria-Magdalene Titirici
  • Thomas Meersmann

Colleges, School and Institutes


Sodium-ion batteries are a promising battery technology for their cost and sustainability. This has led to increasing interest in the development of new sodium-ion batteries and new analytical methods to non-invasively, directly visualise battery chemistry. Here we report operando 1H and 23Na nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging experiments to observe the speciation and distribution of sodium in the electrode and electrolyte during sodiation and desodiation of hard carbon in a sodium metal cell and a sodium-ion full-cell configuration. The evolution of the hard carbon sodiation and subsequent formation and evolution of sodium dendrites, upon over-sodiation of the hard carbon, are observed and mapped by 23Na nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging, and their three-dimensional microstructure visualised by 1H magnetic resonance imaging. We also observe, for the first time, the formation of metallic sodium species on hard carbon upon first charge (formation) in a full-cell configuration.


Original languageEnglish
Article number2083
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2020


  • 23Na magnetic resonance imaging, sodium ion battery, dendrites, in operando, charge cycling, NMR spectroscopy