Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > 'Popcorn' particle pathways promise better lithium-ion batteries

These are LFP particles as seen by a transmission electron microscope with overlay of the chemical information as seen by a scanning transmission X-ray microscope. The red represents lithium iron phosphate while green represents iron phosphate, or LFP without lithium.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories
These are LFP particles as seen by a transmission electron microscope with overlay of the chemical information as seen by a scanning transmission X-ray microscope. The red represents lithium iron phosphate while green represents iron phosphate, or LFP without lithium.

Credit: Sandia National Laboratories

Abstract:
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have confirmed the particle-by-particle mechanism by which lithium ions move in and out of electrodes made of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4, or LFP), findings that could lead to better performance in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, medical equipment and aircraft.

'Popcorn' particle pathways promise better lithium-ion batteries

Livermore, CA | Posted on June 11th, 2013

The research is reported in an article entitled, "Intercalation Pathway in Many-Particle LiFePO4 Electrode Revealed by Nanoscale State-of-Charge Mapping" in the journal Nano Letters, 2013, 13 (3), pp 866-872. Authors include Sandia physicist Farid El Gabaly and William Chueh of Stanford University.

LFP, a natural mineral of the olivine family, is one of the newer materials being used in lithium-ion batteries and is known to be safer and longer-lasting than the lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) compound used in smart phones, laptops and other consumer electronics.

While LFP material is intriguing to researchers and battery manufacturers for those reasons, the process by which lithium ions move in and out of LFP as the battery stores and releases its energy is not well understood. This has proven to be a barrier to the material's widespread adoption.

Cathode materials like LFP are critical in the search for higher-capacity, long-life, lithium-ion batteries for applications where batteries can't be replaced as easily or as often as they are in consumer electronics. Larger applications where lithium cobalt oxide cells eventually could be replaced by LFP batteries include electric vehicles and aircraft.

Popcorn-like particle movements seen via microscopy technique

By observing complete battery cross-sections, the researchers have provided key insights on a controversy over the process that limits the battery charging and discharging rates.

Previous attempts to optimize the charging/discharging speed have included coating the particles to increase their electrical conductivity and reducing particle size to speed up their transformation, but have overlooked the initiation process that may well be the critical rate-limiting step in the way that lithium moves from a particle's exterior to its interior.

By using X-ray microscopy to examine ultrathin slices of a commercial-grade battery, Sandia researchers found evidence that charging and discharging in LFP is limited by the initiation of phase transformation, or nucleation, and is unaffected by particle size.

The LFP electrode forms a mosaic of homogeneous particles that are in either a lithium-rich or lithium-poor state. The Sandia research confirms the particle-by-particle, or mosaic, pathway of phase transformations due to insertion of lithium ions into the cathode. The findings contradict previous assumptions.

"One propagation theory said that when all the particles were exposed to lithium, they would all start discharging slowly together in a concurrent phase transformation," said El Gabaly. "We've now seen that the process is more like popcorn. One particle is completely discharged, then the next, and they go one-by-one like popcorn, absorbing the lithium."

Slicing-and-dicing helps understanding of lithium-ion charging

Lithium ions move in and out of battery electrode materials as they are charged and discharged. When a rechargeable lithium-ion battery is charged, an external voltage source extracts lithium ions from the cathode (positive electrode) material, in a process known as "delithiation." The lithium ions move through the electrolyte and are inserted (intercalated) in the anode (negative electrode) material, in a process known as "lithiation." The same process happens in reverse when discharging energy from the battery.

"We observed that there were only two phases, where the particle either had lithium or it didn't," said El Gabaly. "In many previous studies, researchers have focused on understanding the charging process inside one particle."

El Gabaly and his Sandia colleagues took a slice just a bit thicker than a human hair from a commercial-grade battery, just one layer of LFP particles, and mapped the locations of the lithium in about 450 particles when the battery was at different states of charge.

"Our discovery was made possible by mapping the lithium in a relatively large particle ensemble," he said.

Many tools, facilities contribute to research

The researchers were able to build a commercial-grade coin-cell battery from raw materials using Sandia's cell battery prototyping facility in New Mexico, which is the largest Department of Energy facility equipped to manufacture small lots of lithium-ion cells. The battery was then charged, tested for normal behavior, and disassembled at Sandia's Livermore, Calif., facility through a new method of slicing layers that conserved the spatial arrangement from the cathode to the anode.

The Sandia researchers went to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to characterize the materials with state-of-the-art scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), and then returned to Sandia's California site for study by transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

"The X-ray spectroscopy from the ALS tells you what's inside an individual particle, or where the lithium is, but it has low spatial resolution. We needed the electron microscopy of the same slice to tell us where all the particles were distributed across the entire layer of the battery," said Chueh, a former Sandia Truman Fellow who is lead author of the journal article and an assistant professor and center fellow at the Precourt Institute of Energy at Stanford University.

Sandia's research team and others presented their technical findings at the recent Materials Research Society Spring Meeting in San Francisco. As a result of that presentation, El Gabaly said, other researchers are using the results to validate theoretical models. The team also may partner with industry, as one company has already indicated a strong interest in Sandia conducting similar studies on different, more complex battery materials.

The research team at Sandia has been funded internally, including support from the Sandia Truman Fellowship in National Security Science and Engineering, and by the Department of Energy's Office of Science, which also supports the ALS.

####

About DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies and economic competitiveness.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Mike Janes

925-294-2447

Copyright © DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

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

Laboratories

Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015

Using magnetic fields to understand high-temperature superconductivity: Los Alamos explores experimental path to potential 'next theory of superconductivity' March 27th, 2015

News and information

Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015

Prototype 'nanoneedles' generate new blood vessels in mice: Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice March 31st, 2015

Super sensitive measurement of magnetic fields March 31st, 2015

Nanomedicine pioneer Mauro Ferrari at ETH Zurich March 31st, 2015

Imaging

'Atomic chicken-wire' is key to faster DNA sequencing March 30th, 2015

FEI Technology Award of the German Neuroscience Society Goes to Benjamin Judkewitz of the University of Berlin: Bi-annual award honors excellence in brain research during the German Neuroscience Society’s Annual Meeting, held 18-21 March 2015 March 26th, 2015

Square ice filling for a graphene sandwich March 26th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE and Title Sponsor SEFCU Name Capital Region Teams Advancing to the Final Round of the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition March 30th, 2015

Princess Margaret scientists convert microbubbles to nanoparticles: Harnessing light to advance tumor imaging, provide platform for targeted treatment March 30th, 2015

Nanoscale worms provide new route to nano-necklace structures March 29th, 2015

Discoveries

Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015

Prototype 'nanoneedles' generate new blood vessels in mice: Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice March 31st, 2015

Super sensitive measurement of magnetic fields March 31st, 2015

From tobacco to cyberwood March 31st, 2015

Announcements

Rutgers, NIST physicists report technology with potential for sub-micron optical switches March 31st, 2015

Prototype 'nanoneedles' generate new blood vessels in mice: Scientists have developed tiny 'nanoneedles' that have successfully prompted parts of the body to generate new blood vessels, in a trial in mice March 31st, 2015

Super sensitive measurement of magnetic fields March 31st, 2015

Nanomedicine pioneer Mauro Ferrari at ETH Zurich March 31st, 2015

Tools

PIHera: Largest Family of Piezo Stage Scanners with 10X Greater Positioning Area March 31st, 2015

New Applications Brochure on Complex Motion Control Systems for Scientific Research March 31st, 2015

'Atomic chicken-wire' is key to faster DNA sequencing March 30th, 2015

FEI Technology Award of the German Neuroscience Society Goes to Benjamin Judkewitz of the University of Berlin: Bi-annual award honors excellence in brain research during the German Neuroscience Society’s Annual Meeting, held 18-21 March 2015 March 26th, 2015

Automotive/Transportation

Clean energy future: New cheap and efficient electrode for splitting water March 18th, 2015

Imperfect graphene opens door to better fuel cells: Membrane could lead to fast-charging batteries for transportation March 18th, 2015

Researchers synthesize new thin-film material for use in fuel cells: Article in the journal APL Materials shows how to grow Bi2Pt2O7 pyrochlore, potentially a more effective cathode for future fuel cells March 10th, 2015

Glass coating improves battery performance: To improve lithium-sulfur batteries, researchers added glass cage-like coating and graphene oxide March 2nd, 2015

Aerospace/Space

Iranian Researchers Present Model to Determine Dynamic Behavior of Nanostructures March 24th, 2015

Engineers create chameleon-like artificial 'skin' that shifts color on demand March 12th, 2015

Anousheh Ansari Wins the National Space Society's Space Pioneer Award for "Service to the Space Community" March 5th, 2015

Launch of the Alliance for Space Development March 1st, 2015

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

Chemists make new silicon-based nanomaterials March 27th, 2015

New processing technology converts packing peanuts to battery components March 22nd, 2015

NC State researchers create 'nanofiber gusher': Report method of fabricating larger amounts of nanofibers in liquid March 19th, 2015

Drexel Univ. materials research could unlock potential of lithium-sulfur batteries March 17th, 2015

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







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE