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- Jun 01, 2018 -

Even though Lithium-ion batteries are widely used, the technology is still not perfect yet —Scientists have been trying to find an alternative as the battery capacity of the lithium ion batteries are limited, but so far nothing has quite panned out yet. The development of lithium ion sulfur has been a focus in the last few years, and a breakthrough experiment based on a little glass could make these batteries the next big thing.

All types of technology have been powered by the traditional lithium-ion batteries, because they have significant energy density and relatively long life. Lithium-ion batteries can be charged a few hundred times before it starts to fail, and there are no memory effects as with older nickel cadmium and nickel-metal hydride rechargeable.

The current lithium sulfur battery can hold a high energy density which is estimated at ten times the energy of convention lithium. But this energy can rather drop off quickly as lithium and sulfur reaction products start clogging the works. These products, called lithium polysulfides, dissolve in the electrolyte solution and become stuck at the electrodes. This causes an overall decrease in capacity, and there’s no way to reverse it.

With the polysulfide shutting down, the Scientists found that they could prevent it by using nano-scale sulfur beads in the battery’s cathode and coating them with SiO2, which you might know as glass. The thickness of this silica sheath is measured in tens of nanometers. It’s extremely delicate as It can’t be too thick or it would interfere with the battery’s function and it also can’t be too thin, or the glass layer could rupture and allow the formation of lithium polysulfides that damage the structure. Just coating the sulfur in glass offered substantial improvements in durability, but the coating was still prone to rupture.

Before the commercialization of the sulfur lithium battery for consumer technology, researchers are still trying to develop the proper kind of stability our electronic devices will need to b powered for few years or few hundred cycles at least.