Optical Fault Sensors for Lithium-Ion Batteries

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Columbus, Ohio
Project Term:
11/01/2012 - 09/30/2014

Technology Description:

Battelle Memorial Institute is developing an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries in real-time. Over time, crystalline structures known as dendrites can form within batteries and cause a short circuiting of the battery's electrodes. Because faults can originate in even the tiniest places within a battery, they are hard to detect with traditional sensors. Battelle is exploring a new, transformational method for continuous monitoring of operating Li-Ion batteries. Their optical sensors detect internal faults well before they can lead to battery failures or safety problems. The Battelle team will modify a conventional battery component to scan the cell's interior, watching for internal faults to develop and alerting the battery management system to take corrective action before a hazardous condition occurs.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Battelle's optical fault sensor for Li-Ion batteries would detect the magnitude and location of internal faults and other hazardous conditions that current battery sensor technologies fail to identify.


Advances in energy storage management could reduce the cost and increase the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage technologies, which in turn would reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy.


Improving the reliability and safety of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage facilities would enable more widespread use of these technologies, resulting in a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.


Enabling alternatives to conventional sources of energy could insulate consumers, businesses, and utilities from unexpected price swings.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact:
Dr. James Saunders
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of Akron

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