10:06 am - Tuesday December 12, 2017

Soon, batteries that have better efficiency than traditional ones

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Soon, batteries that have better efficiency than traditional ones
Soon, batteries that have better efficiency than traditional ones

Washington – Researchers have fabricated a cathode (positive electrode) of lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) in which the compound’s individual grains are aligned in a specific orientation, which they claim yields a significantly higher-performing battery than one with a randomly-oriented LiCoO2 cathode.

Primary, or non-rechargeable, batteries and secondary batteries both produce current through an electrochemical reaction involving a cathode, an anode, and an electrolyte (an ion-conducting material).
However, apply an outside current to a secondary battery and the negative-to-positive electron flow that occurs during discharge is reversed. This allows the battery to restore lost charge.

Co-author Tohru Suzuki, said that in a lithium-ion battery, lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode during discharge and back when charging.

Suzuki said that the material in the cathode has a layered structure to facilitate intercalation [insertion] of the lithium ions; if the structure is oriented in a specific fashion, the lithium ions have better access to the lattice and, in turn, charge-discharge performance is improved.

Using a rotating magnetic field, the researchers were able to fabricate the ideal textured microstructure of the individual LiCoO2 grains making up the cathode: a perpendicular alignment of the c-plane (the vertical side) and a random orientation of the c-axis.

Unlike cathodes where the microstructures in both the c-plane and c-axis are randomly oriented, the specialized grains allow easy access for lithium ions while relaxing the stress associated with intercalation.

The study has been published in the journal APL Materials.

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