An entire differently result becomes possible by adopting an alternative production method using the same materials. US scientists, after slightly adjusting the production method of solid-state li-ion batteries, had altered the initial flaws of battery electrolytes, in the hope of building safer and more efficient solid-state battery technology.
Solid-state batteries are different compared to the common li-ion batteries. The former, as the name suggests, does not contain flammable electrolyte liquid, which is why smartphones, notebooks, and EVs are lower in risks of explosions and catching fire, as well as contain a lower level of toxicity. Solid-state batteries can also yield higher energy density, faster charging speed, longer charging cycles, and are less prone to degradation.
Solid-state batteries are difficult in technology R&D and high in cost. One of the challenges is the defects induced by the cavitation of electrolyte films. Li2OHCI electrolyte films are formed by compressed pellets, where micro bubbles prevent li-ion from moving back and forth between cathodes and anodes, which brings down efficiency that prevents batteries from operating normally.
However, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has added an extra step in the production process of electrolytes, which managed to resolve the issue. The team first applied electrolytes onto the press machine, before heating up the press machine, and then cooled down the electrolytes under pressure, thus creating thin films without air bubbles and increasing the concentration level of nitrogen on the surface.
Conductivity for electrolyte films has also successfully risen by nearly 1,000 times, followed by an increase of almost 50% in critical current density that presents better lithophilicity and a more stable performance in solid-state li-ion batteries. Researchers pointed out that the aforementioned adjustments not only improve battery performance, but also allow processing on solid electrolytes at an industrial scale. First research Marm Dixit commented that a simple change of production methods with identical materials would improve battery performance from multiple aspects.
(Cover photo source: ORNL)