A technology to “see” into commercial batteries

The optical fiber offers the possibility to monitor in situ and in real-time the chemistry of a commercial battery during its charge or its discharge. The collaborative work is published in Nature Energy.
A technology to “see” into commercial batteries

A multidisciplinary research team involving scientists from the Collège de France, the CNRS, the University of Rennes 1 and the University of Montpellier has developed a method to follow in live the evolution of chemistry inside a battery, and throughout its multiple charges and discharges. Published in Nature Energy on November 7, 2022, this technology paves the way for improving the performance and design of future batteries.

Batteries offer the ability to store energy in chemical form: during charging, the current forces chemical reactions and the energy is stored, then during discharge a spontaneous electrochemical reaction generates the inverse movement of electrons in the system. Energy is released to create an electric current.

Controlling and studying the chemistry of a battery is therefore crucial to understand its operation, but also to improve its design. If the exercise is easy in the laboratory, it is much more complicated when integrated into a system.

The technologie is based on the transportation of infrared light through chalcogenide glass optical fibers inserted into a commercial battery. The interaction of light with the constituents of the battery permits to identiy and follow the molecules surrounding the fiber.

In this study, the Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences (ISCR / Glasses & Ceramics team) has developed the optical fibers used for transporting the infrared light within the battery. The team has also proposed the Evanescent Waves Spectroscopy technique for in situ and real-time identification of the chemical species in contact with the surface of the fiber, and then for monitoring the evolution of the battery components.

Discover more


Unlocking cell chemistry evolution with operando fibre optic infrared spectroscopy in commercial Na(Li)-ion batteries
C. Gervillié-Mouravieff, C. Boussard-Plédel, Jiaqiang Huang, C. Leau, L. Albero Blanquer, M. Ben Yahia, M.-L. Doublet, S. T. Boles, X. H. Zhang, J. L. Adam & J.-M. Tarascon
Nat Energy (2022). Doi: 10.1038/s41560-022-01141-3


  • Jean-Luc Adam, Univ Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-CNRS UMR 6226, F-35000 Rennes, France
    jean-luc [dot] adamatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr
  • Xiang-Hua Zhang, Univ Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-CNRS UMR 6226, F-35000 Rennes, France
    xiang-hua [dot] zhangatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr
  • Catherine Boussard-Plédel, Univ Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-CNRS UMR 6226, F-35000 Rennes, France
    catherine [dot] boussardatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr


Published November 9, 2022