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New material for better lithium-ion batteries

- May 07, 2018 -

This new material shows twice the charge storage capacity of the typical copper-graphite anode.

The batteries we use every day may soon become cheaper, smaller and lighter. Researchers have discovered a family of anode materials that can double the charge capacity of lithium-ion battery anodes. This means that the batteries that we use in everything from cellphones to large-scale energy storage systems could be more efficient in the future. 

The new family of anode materials, which the researchers dubbed the Interdigitated Eutectic Alloy anode, saves time and materials by producing an anode using only two simple steps instead of the multiple steps usually required to mass-produce lithium-ion battery anodes.

 Based on the graphite and copper anodes used in all lithium-ion battery, researchers created a foil material that us a quarter if that thickness and half of the weight of graphite. The result shows that a smaller, lighter rechargeable battery could be made with the new anode.

The test results show that the performance metrics are very successful in order to make a commercially viable advance in lithium-ion batteries.

Few scientists have made recent efforts to improve lithium-ion battery electrodes and focused on building new nanomaterials. A new class of anode materials in which eutectic metal alloys are mechanically rolled into nanostructured metal foils was developed by researchers.

For a long time, the primary anode for mass-produced rechargeable lithium-ion batteries has been a graphite powder coated on a copper foil that adds bulk to an electrode without improving the battery's power and the anode requires a laborious, fastidious manufacturing process.

You can reduce the microstructure by rolling it, which is an extraordinarily cheap step to convert a microstructure into a nanostructure.

The anodes occupy significantly less space, overcoming a critical barrier to commercializing better batteries for use in electronic devices.