New Study Seeks to Explore Potential of Solid-state Li-ion Batteries

As smartphones and wearable mobile devices become omnipresent and incorporate even more advanced features with every coming day, the issue of limited-energy power sources becomes more profound. No doubt a vast number of research and development activities aimed at improving batteries in this field are conducted around the world and many innovative, more compact products offering decent power backups have been launched in the market in the past years.

The market for lithium-ion or li-ion batteries has especially observed stronger than expected growth in the previous decade, primarily owing to the astounding rate at which the market for smartphones and other mobile devices expanded during this period. Analysts predict that the future of the global li-ion batteries is also very promising. A lack of efficient alternatives and the numerous benefits of li-ion batteries are some of the key factors working in favor of the global li-ion batteries market in the current scenario.

A report published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) states that the global li-ion batteries market, which valued US$11.70 bn in 2012, will expand at an excellent 14.40% CAGR between 2013 and 2019 and reach a valuation of US$33.11 bn by 2019.

New Study Promises Solution for High Performance and Safer Li-ion Batteries

Conventional designs of li-ion batteries include a liquid electrolyte, which acts as a passage for the migration of electrons while charging and recharging of the battery. The problem with such batteries is that while they offer high levels of conductivity, which is a good thing, they also carry the risk of explosion as they become flammable under high temperature or high voltage. Batteries with liquid electrolyte can also leak, thus, factors such as casing design of the battery is very important for the prevention of failure of such batteries.

Therefore, the research activities aimed at devising non-liquid electrolyte batteries have increased in the past few years. A recent study examined the structure evaluation of a doped garnet-type solid electrolyte using neutron diffraction techniques. The study, which aimed at unraveling the mechanism that enhances the lithium-ion conductivity of this electrolyte, has revealed promising results that are expected to drastically improve the performance of non-liquid electrolytes, and possibly lead to more efficient and safer li-ion batteries. The study was conducted by a group of scientists at the Spallation Neutron Source department of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S.

Ways to Mitigate Secondary Phases with Low Li-ion Conductivity

Substances such as lithium lanthanum zirconates, which have a garnet structure, prove to be good electrolytes as they promote fast transportation of lithium ions. However, these substances are often known to develop unwanted secondary phases with low-conductivity of ions. This can be detrimental to the overall performance of the electrolyte in some cases.

The research monitored the formation of these low-conductivity phases and found that their occurrence can be mitigated by adding to the material traces of elements with high valences or the ones that have affinity for creating bonds. The research, thus, concluded that by suppressing the formation of the unwanted secondary phases and increasing the number of valences for transportation of ions, garnet structures can be made more effective for li-ion batteries.


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