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Blocking defects in β″-alumina observed by high resolution electron microscopy


THE sodium-sulphur battery containing the solid electrolyte β″-alumina is one of the most scientifically intriguing and widely studied battery systems ever discovered. A major reason for this is its potential use in vehicular and energy storage applications. Practical Na–S batteries are constructed with ceramic tubes of Mg-stabilised β″-alumina as solid electrolyte (U.S.P. 3446677 or 3475225)1 and a considerable amount of research work on such batteries with β-alumina or β″-alumina has been done. The greatest area of uncertainty with β″-alumina is the effect on cell performance of certain changes in the electrolyte with time; serious changes are loss of sodium ions from the positive electrode side of the electrolyte and changes in structural characteristics. We report here, for the first time, an investigation to reveal the defect structure of the crystals of β″-alumina using high resolution electron microscopy.

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