Lithium

  • Batteries with Better Performance and Improved Safety

    Composition of the solid sodium battery. Empa

    Researchers from Empa and the University of Geneva have developed a prototype of a novel solid sodium battery with the potential to store extra energy. Phones, laptops, electric cars – batteries are everywhere. And to meet the expectations of today’s consumers, these batteries are increasin­gly lighter, more powerful and designed to last longer. Currently the core technology for these applications is lithium ion batteries. But the technology is expensive and contains a flammable liquid, which may represent a safety hazard, when the battery is abused.

  • Battery Research at Graz University of Technology: New Breakthroughs in Research on Super-batteries

    Stefan Freunberger vom Institut für Chemische Technologien von Materialien der TU Graz zählt auf in seinem Forschungsgebiet zu den weltweit führenden Wissenschaftern. © Lunghammer – TU Graz

    Researchers at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria have discovered a means of suppressing singlet oxygen formation in lithium-oxygen batteries in order to extend their useful lives. Since 2012, Stefan Freunberger of the Institute for Chemistry and Technology of Materials at TU Graz has been working on development of a new generation of batteries with enhanced performance and longer useful lives, and which are also cheaper to produce than current models. He believes that lithium-oxygen batteries have significant potential. In 2017, in the course of his work, Freunberger uncovered parallels between cell ageing in living organisms and in batteries. In both cases, highly reactive singlet oxygen is responsible for the ageing process.

  • Evonik Research Prize for lithium-ion battery test cell with separated electrodes

    A glass ceramic membrane, coated with aluminum and plastic, allows only lithium ions to pass through. It is impermeable to all other components of the electrolyte fluid. Photo: Monika Weiner / TUM

    For years, small rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have reliably supplied billions of portable devices with energy. But manufacturers of high-energy applications such as electric cars and power storage systems seek for new electrode materials and electrolytes. Michael Metzger, researcher at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has now developed a new battery test cell allowing to investigate anionic and cationic reactions separately. Recently the researcher was honored with the Evonik Research Prize for his work.

  • Fraunhofer IWS Dresden offers 6th Workshop "Lithium-Sulfur-Batteries"

    Workshop "Lithium-Sulfur-Batteries". © Photo Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

    Lithium-sulfur batteries are the most promising choice for future energy storage systems. Lithium metal anodes are decisive components as they determine cycling stability and specific energy, also in solid state batteries. A topical session will address lithium metal processing, protective coatings and new lithium metal electrode architectures. Novel materials such as nanostructured carbon/sulfur composite cathodes, solid electrolytes and alloy-based anodes are crucial to significantly enhance the cell performance.

  • Launch of project ECO COM'BAT: Sustainable energy storage with high-voltage batteries

    Efficient lithium-ion pouch cell with the base materials. © K. Selsam-Geißler, Fraunhofer ISC

    Cruising range is one of the greatest challenges for the rapid implementation of electromobility in Europe. Ten partners from industry and research organizations now join forces in the EU funded project ECO COM'BAT, coordinated by the Fraunhofer Project Group Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies, part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, to develop the next generation of lithium-ion batteries – the high-voltage battery. Better performance is not the only goal for the new battery. Compared to conventional batteries the new type should be more powerful and even more sustainable due to the substitution of conventional, often expensive, rare or even critical materials.

  • Molecules change shape when wet

    The preferred structure of a crown ether changes when water molecules bind to it (dashed lines). © C. Pérez et al.

    Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water. In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter at CFEL and from the Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI) show that water promotes the reshaping of crown ethers and biphenyl molecules, two classes of chemically fascinating molecules. Crown ethers are key systems in catalysis, separation and encapsulation processes, while biphenyl-based systems are employed in asymmetric synthesis and drug design.

  • Nanomagnetism in X-ray Light

    Left: X-ray microscope image of a magnetic skyrmion. Right: Snapshot of the spin waves generated by a magnetic plate excited by microwaves (red: magnetization fully directed upward, blue: downward). © MPI-IS Stuttgart

    Today’s most advanced scanning X-ray microscope is operated by the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin.
    The MAXYMUS scanning X-ray microscope has its home at Berlin’s synchrotron radiation source BESSY II at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin. Scientific support is provided by Dr. Markus Weigand from the “Modern Magnetic Systems” department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) under the management of Professor Dr. Gisela Schütz. MAXYMUS stands for “MAgnetic X-raY Micro and UHV Spectroscope”. The special fea-tures of this scanning X-ray microscope are its variable specimen environment and broad application spectrum. “It makes it possible to observe ultra-fast processes at 20 times better resolution compared to an optical microscope,” explains Professor Dr. Gisela Schütz.

  • Neutrons Pave the Way to Accelerated Production of Lithium-ion Cells

    Mounting of a battery cell in the instrument ANTARES at FRM II.  Photo: Wenzel Schürmann / TUM

    Developers from Bosch and scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are using neutrons to analyze the filling of lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars with electrolytes. Their experiments show that electrodes are wetted twice as fast in a vacuum as under normal pressure.

  • New Test Procedure for Developing Quick-Charging Lithium-Ion Batteries

    Test cell for lithium ion batteries. Forschungszentrum Jülich / T. Schlößer

    Jülich / Munich, 6 December 2017 - When lithium-ion batteries are charged too quickly, metallic lithium gets deposited on the anodes. This reduces battery capacity and lifespan and can even destroy the batteries. Scientists at the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now presented a process that, for the first time ever, allows this so-called lithium plating process to be investigated directly. This puts new strategies for quick-charging strategies close at hand.

  • Novel Process for Producing High-Voltage Cathodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries

    Electron microscope image of the platelet-shaped lithium cobalt phosphate crystals. Image: Katia Rodewald / TUM

    Power on the go is in demand: The higher the battery capacity, the larger the range of electric cars and the longer the operating time of cell phones and laptops. Dr. Jennifer Ludwig of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed a process that allows a fast, simple, and cost-effective production of the promising cathode material lithium cobalt phosphate in high quality. The chemist was awarded the Evonik Research Prize for her work.

  • Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

    Extruded spiral made of polymer-coated silicon-nanosheets glowing in UV light. Photo: Tobias Helbich / TUM

    Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

  • Positrons as a new tool for lithium ion battery research: Holes in the electrode

    Thomas Gigl and Stefan Seidlmayer at the positron source NEPOMUC. Photo: Wenzel Schürmann / TUM

    Rechargeable lithium batteries with cathodes comprising nickel, manganese, and cobalt, are viewed as the most potent today. But they, too, have a limited lifespan. Already in the first cycle they lose up to ten percent of their capacity. Why this happens and what can be done to alleviate the ensuing gradual loss of capacity has now been investigated in detail by a team of scientists using positrons at the Technical University of Munich (TUM).

  • Safe and Effective Energy Storage Media of the Future: Lithium-Sulphur Technology

    Lithium-sulphur cell electrodes with silicon-alloy anodes. © Fraunhofer IWS

    The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft in-house LiScell joint project was successfully concluded in May 2017. Lithium-sulphur technology was studied because it might offer an attractive energy-storage solution for future mobility thanks to its low cost of materials and high energy density. Efficient storage of electrical energy is the bottleneck for all mobile electronic applications.

  • Single crystal growth in hot air: nice and easy

    Schematic of the growth setup. The desired single crystals grow from separated educts at 1020°C via vapor transport. The condensation takes place at spikes placed in between the starting materials. © University of Augsburg/EP VI

    Physicists from Augsburg University together with colleagues from Oxford report on a novel method for the growth of lithium-based transition metal oxides. Augsburg/PhG/KPP -The synthesis of ceramic crystals often requires very complicated methods. Starting materials in form of powders have to be mixed, pressed and pre-reacted in order to allow for single crystal growth from the melt at elevated temperatures. Or samples are grown from solution or chemical vapor transport in complex processes. However, so far none of the established methods yields single crystals of lithium iridate - despite the great interest in this material that was initiated by the prediction of highly unusual magnetic properties.

  • Sodium and magnesium to replace lithium in batteries

    Lithium Battery.

    Scientists supported by the SNSF have produced novel electrolytes for rechargeable sodium and magnesium batteries. The research group’s objective was to develop alternatives to lithium-ion technology. A project supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) aims to find new materials which can be used in rechargeable batteries and eventually provide alternatives to the current lithium batteries. Lithium-based batteries have several drawbacks, such as the limited availability of the raw material itself as well as the numerous safety issues, which are primarily associated with the use of a flammable liquid compound. This problem has been exemplified by the recurrence of exploding mobile phones.

  • Solid State Batteries for Tomorrow's Electric Cars

    Marie Claude Bay and Corsin Battaglia work in a glove box on the solid state batteries of the future. Empa

    As part of a strategic international cooperation program of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Empa in Dübendorf (CH) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg (D) launched a three-year joint research project at the beginning of January to create the basis for a produc-tion-ready next generation of traction batteries for electric cars. In contrast to lithium-ion cells currently in use, these will consist only of solids and will no longer contain flammable liquid electrolytes. The Fraunhofer ISC contributes its know-how in process development and battery cell production and produces the first prototypes.

  • TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing

    Stefan Freunberger, beneficiary of an ERC grant at TU Graz, investigates ageing processes in non-aqueous batteries. © Lunghammer - TU Graz

    Stefan Freunberger, beneficiary of an ERC grant at TU Graz, shows in Nature Energy the influence of the reactive singlet oxygen on ageing processes in non-aqueous oxygen batteries. It has been known in biology for a long time that the excited oxygen molecule singlet oxygen is the main cause of ageing in cells. To counter this, nature uses an enzyme called superoxide dismutase to eliminate superoxide as a free radical. Superoxide also occurs in cell respiration for energy production and is the preliminary stage and thus source of singlet oxygen. TU Graz’s Stefan Freunberger has now stumbled upon astonishing parallels of oxygen chemistry in battery systems.