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Some imperfections pay big dividends.

A Cornell-led collaboration used X-ray nanoimaging to gain an unprecedented view into solid-state electrolytes, revealing previously undetected and dislocations that may now be leveraged to create superior energy storage materials.

The group's paper, "X-ray Nanoimaging of Crystal Defects in Single Grains of Solid-State Electrolyte Li7-3xAlxLa3Zr2O12," published April 29 in Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society. The paper's lead author is doctoral student Yifei Sun.

For a half-century, materials scientists have been investigating the effects of tiny defects in metals. The evolution of imaging tools has now created opportunities for exploring similar phenomena in other materials, most notably those used for energy storage.

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