Today, only short individual segments of the experimental battery research & innovation cycle are automated, often requiring man-power-intensive intermediate process steps to complete the cycle. In addition, the outcome of lab-level battery research is often dependent on the researcher's skill level compromising reproducibility. Extending lab automation by combining multiple segments into automated application-relevant closed-loop sequences enables rapid testing of scientific hypotheses and validation of physical models. Besides reducing human error and improving reproducibility, this approach also frees the experimentalist from repetitive tasks providing more time for creative tasks. In a joint collaborative effort, the Swiss company Chemspeed Technologies and Empa have developed and validated an automated coin cell assembly robot integrated into an argon glove box. The robot assembles 32 coin cells per batch with individual sets of prefabricated electrodes. Anode/cathode capacity balancing, critical for cell cycling stability, is fully automated to a precision of 0.01 mg. The robot is capable of formulating up to 32 individual liquid electrolytes with up to 8 different liquid ingredients, which are then dispensed at a precision of 1 mg employing a patented gravimetric viscous fluid dispensing unit, avoiding error-prone density and volume measurements. Cell are then cycled on a 128 channel potentiostat interfaced with an open-source Python package developed within the Aurora project. Each cell is traced and monitored as a digital twin within the open-source workflow management platform AiiDA developed at EPFL.

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Towards an autonomous robotic battery materials  research & innovation platform - the Aurora project

Enea Svaluto-Ferro 1, Benjamin Kunz 1, Maximilian Becker 1, David Reber 1, Ruben-Simon Kühnel 1, Peter Kraus 1, Loris Ercole 2, Francisco F. Ramirez 2, Giovanni Pizzi 2, Nicola Marzari 2, Yuhui Hou 3, Stefano Di Leone 3, Andrew Paterson 3, Dominique Sauter 3, Emmanouil Tzirakis 3, Jos de Keijzer 3, Amira Abou-Hamdan 3, Michael Schneider 3, Corsin Battaglia 1

1. Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, 8600 Dübendorf

2. EPFL, Institut Science et Génie des Matériaux, 1015 Lausanne 

3. Chemspeed Technologies AG, 4414 Füllinsdorf

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