Power Generation and Energy

Power Plants

Coal is one of the most abundant fossil fuels on the planet and is a key material in power generation. The quality of the coal used is of primary importance. Prior knowledge of the ash yield of coal provides vital information for improving processes. The blend and purity of coal used directly impacts on the efficiency of a power plant and the volume of fly ash produced. SmartPI for your scanning electron microscope performs the characterisation, classification and quantification of mineral matter. With the Coal plug-in of SmartPI, data is reported to assist with controlling combustion variables, thus helping to minimise slagging and fouling whilst improving plant efficiency.

Thin Film Photovoltaic Solar Cells

An in-depth understanding of the systematic interaction of microstructures, compositions and electronic properties is critical in improving solar cell technology. The AURIGA Crossbeam combines a high-resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) with a focused Ga-ion beam (FIB) and a gas injection system (GIS) to deliver the maximum, nanoscopic, information from your sample. In addition, the combination of EDS elemental analysis with FIB serial sectioning provides information on the 3D elemental composition of a sample at sub-micron resolution. Furthermore, the Orion Plus helium ion microscope (HIM) is capable of imaging insulating samples which makes imaging both the conductive aluminum coating and the details of the glass surface possible with images rich in contrast.

Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

The most prevalent bulk material for solar cells is crystalline silicon. Bulk silicon is separated into multiple categories according to crystallinity and crystal size in the resulting ingot, ribbon or wafer. Three main categories for crystalline silicon solar cells can be distinguished: Monocrystalline, Poly-/multicrystalline and Ribbon silicon. General defect analysis of relatively large defects can typically be accomplished using a Stereo, Zoom or an upright compound microscope such as an Axio Scope or an Axio Imager. The analysis itself is normally performed in reflected light either with brightfield, darkfield or DIC, depending on the type of defect to be analysed. Surface morphology can be further assessed with Axio LSM 700.

Batteries and Fuel Cells

The development of efficient storage technologies, such as Li-ion batteries, for electrical energy plays an important role in the progress of electromobility. The performance of a Li-ion battery is determined by its energy density, battery power and capacity, charge and discharge rates as well as lifetime. Defect identification of Li-ion batteries is made possible by light microscopy (LM) and microstructure characterization is made possible by electron microscopy. The potential of information to be obtained from each technique is equally valuable so correlative microscopy becomes essential. Correlative microscopy makes it possible to analyse relations between cell design and battery performance. Shuttle and Find is the tool used to correlate the results between each instrument from Carl Zeiss.

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