Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Silicon strategy shows promise for batteries

Microscopic pores dot a silicon wafer prepared for use in a lithium-ion battery. Silicon has great potential to increase the storage capacity of batteries, and the pores help it expand and contract as lithium is stored and released. (Credit: Biswal Lab/Rice University)
Microscopic pores dot a silicon wafer prepared for use in a lithium-ion battery. Silicon has great potential to increase the storage capacity of batteries, and the pores help it expand and contract as lithium is stored and released. (Credit: Biswal Lab/Rice University)

Abstract:
Rice researchers advance lithium-ion technique for electric cars, large-capacity storage

Silicon strategy shows promise for batteries

Houston, TX | Posted on October 13th, 2010

A team of Rice University and Lockheed Martin scientists has discovered a way to use simple silicon to radically increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

Sibani Lisa Biswal, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, revealed how she, colleague Michael Wong, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry, and Steven Sinsabaugh, a Lockheed Martin Fellow, are enhancing the inherent ability of silicon to absorb lithium ions.

Their work was introduced today at Rice's Buckyball Discovery Conference, part of a yearlong celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the buckminsterfullerene, or carbon 60, molecule. It could become a key component for electric car batteries and large-capacity energy storage, they said.

"The anode, or negative, side of today's batteries is made of graphite, which works. It's everywhere," Wong said. "But it's maxed out. You can't stuff any more lithium into graphite than we already have."

Silicon has the highest theoretical capacity of any material for storing lithium, but there's a serious drawback to its use. "It can sop up a lot of lithium, about 10 times more than carbon, which seems fantastic," Wong said. "But after a couple of cycles of swelling and shrinking, it's going to crack."

Other labs have tried to solve the problem with carpets of silicon nanowires that absorb lithium like a mop soaks up water, but the Rice team took a different tack.

With Mahduri Thakur, a post-doctoral researcher in Rice's Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, and Mark Isaacson of Lockheed Martin, Biswal, Wong and Sinsabaugh found that putting micron-sized pores into the surface of a silicon wafer gives the material sufficient room to expand. While common lithium-ion batteries hold about 300 milliamp hours per gram of carbon-based anode material, they determined the treated silicon could theoretically store more than 10 times that amount.

Sinsabaugh described the breakthrough as one of the first fruits of the Lockheed Martin Advanced Nanotechnology Center of Excellence at Rice (LANCER). He said the project began three years ago when he met Biswal at Rice and compared notes. "She was working on porous silicon, and I knew silicon nanostructures were being looked at for battery anodes. We put two and two together," he said.

Nanopores are simpler to create than silicon nanowires, Biswal said. The pores, a micron wide and from 10 to 50 microns long, form when positive and negative charge is applied to the sides of a silicon wafer, which is then bathed in a hydrofluoric solvent. "The hydrogen and fluoride atoms separate," she said. "The fluorine attacks one side of the silicon, forming the pores. They form vertically because of the positive and negative bias."

The treated silicon, she said, "looks like Swiss cheese."

The straightforward process makes it highly adaptable for manufacturing, she said. "We don't require some of the difficult processing steps they do -- the high vacuums and having to wash the nanotubes. Bulk etching is much simpler to process.

"The other advantage is that we've seen fairly long lifetimes. Our current batteries have 200-250 cycles, much longer than nanowire batteries," said Biswal.

They said putting pores in silicon requires a real balancing act, as the more space is dedicated to the holes, the less material is available to store lithium. And if the silicon expands to the point where the pore walls touch, the material could degrade.

The researchers are confident that cheap, plentiful silicon combined with ease of manufacture could help push their idea into the mainstream.

"We are very excited about the potential of this work," Sinsabaugh said. "This material has the potential to significantly increase the performance of lithium-ion batteries, which are used in a wide range of commercial, military and aerospace applications

Biswal and Wong plan to study the mechanism by which silicon absorbs lithium and how and why it breaks down. "Our goal is to develop a model of the strain that silicon undergoes in cycling lithium," Wong said. "Once we understand that, we'll have a much better idea of how to maximize its potential."

Lockheed Martin is a sponsor of Rice's Year of Nano.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
David Ruth
713-348-6327


Mike Williams
713-348-6728

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Electron's 1-D metallic surface state observed: A step for the prediction of electronic properties of extremely-fine metal nanowires in next-generation semiconductors February 9th, 2016

Nanoparticle therapy that uses LDL and fish oil kills liver cancer cells February 9th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Possible Futures

Electron's 1-D metallic surface state observed: A step for the prediction of electronic properties of extremely-fine metal nanowires in next-generation semiconductors February 9th, 2016

Scientists create laser-activated superconductor February 8th, 2016

Nanoscale cavity strongly links quantum particles: Single photons can quickly modify individual electrons embedded in a semiconductor chip and vice versa February 8th, 2016

A fast solidification process makes material crackle February 8th, 2016

Academic/Education

COD Grad Begins Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University: Marsela Jorgolli's Passion for Physics Has Led to a Decade of Academic Research That Continues at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow February 2nd, 2016

Heriot-Watt's Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences uses the Deben Microtest 2 kN tensile stage to characterise ceramics and engineering plastics January 21st, 2016

Multiple uses for the JPK NanoWizard AFM system in the Smart Interfaces in Environmental Nanotechnology Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign January 20th, 2016

BioSolar Extends Research Agreement With UCSB for Next Phase of Its Super Battery Technology: Development Effort to Continue Under the Supervision of Nobel Laureate, Dr. Alan Heeger January 13th, 2016

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes

The iron stepping stones to better wearable tech without semiconductors February 8th, 2016

Nano-coating makes coaxial cables lighter: Rice University scientists replace metal with carbon nanotubes for aerospace use January 28th, 2016

Scientists provide new guideline for synthesis of fullerene electron acceptors January 28th, 2016

Nanostructural Changes in Solar Cells to Increase Their Efficiency January 28th, 2016

Announcements

Electron's 1-D metallic surface state observed: A step for the prediction of electronic properties of extremely-fine metal nanowires in next-generation semiconductors February 9th, 2016

Nanoparticle therapy that uses LDL and fish oil kills liver cancer cells February 9th, 2016

A fast solidification process makes material crackle February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Energy

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage February 7th, 2016

February 4th, 2016

Putting silicon 'sawdust' in a graphene cage boosts battery performance: Approach could remove major obstacles to increasing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries January 30th, 2016

Automotive/Transportation

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

An alternative to platinum: Iron-nitrogen compounds as catalysts in graphene January 28th, 2016

LC.300 Series Nanopositioning Controller from nPoint January 28th, 2016

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage February 7th, 2016

Lithium battery catalyst found to harm key soil microorganism February 7th, 2016

Research partnerships

Scientists create laser-activated superconductor February 8th, 2016

Nanoscale cavity strongly links quantum particles: Single photons can quickly modify individual electrons embedded in a semiconductor chip and vice versa February 8th, 2016

A fast solidification process makes material crackle February 8th, 2016

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic