Non-destructive multi-scale imaging of batteries

Researchers from Research Center on Nanotechnologies Applied to Engineering (CNIS) of Sapienza University of Rome and ENEA Casaccia Research Center have published a study on using non-destructive multi-scale imaging to understand the inner working of batteries. After image acquisition by ZEISS Xradia Versa 610 microscope available at CNIS, that is part of the open Infrastructure for "Advanced Tomography and Microscopies (ATOM)" co-funded by Regione Lazio (Call "Infrastrutture Aperte per la Ricerca"), Dragonfly imaging software was used to investigate internal structures of different types of batteries and understand their behavior and evolution after many charge/discharge cycles to discover defects that may lead to critical failure under real-word operational conditions. High resolution imaging and Dragonfly segmentation revealed critical insights related to the occurrence of a delamination process in the commercial VARTA NiMH cylindrical cell that caused the capacity fade of the device.

According to the corresponding author Prof Cognigni, "Dragonfly Pro (V. 2022.1) imaging software from Object Research Systems (ORS), has showcased its unparalleled ability to achieve a comprehensive geometric analysis and stunning visual representation of individual battery components, all while the battery remains in its fully assembled state. This breakthrough technological advancement provides a previously unattainable level of precision and accuracy in the characterization and visualization of intricate battery structures, setting a new standard for the field."


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Cognigni, F., Pasquali, M., Prosini, P.P., Paoletti, C., Aurora, A., Scaramuzzo, F.A. and Rossi, M., 2023. X‐Ray Microscopy: A Non‐Destructive Multi‐Scale Imaging to Study the Inner Workings of Batteries. ChemElectroChem, This work was co-funded by PNRR Research Infrastructure Project iENTRANCE@ENL (

Flavio Cognigni

Department of Basic and Applied Sciences for Engineering, University of Rome "La Sapienza"


Keywords: Battery, X-Ray Microscopy, Energy TRansfer, Energy Conversion, Failure Analysis


Segmentation of single components of the commercial VARTA NiMH cylindrical cell in Dragonfly. The negative electrode (yellow), the positive electrode (blue) and the nickel foam (green) were segmented via histogram-based thresholding and separated for further measurements and analysis.

Visualization of a delamination process evolving in the anode after several charge/discharge cycles in the commercial VARTA NiMH cylindrical cell.

Thickness mesh of the nickel foam overlaid on the anode.