Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

News and information

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Design of micro and nanoparticles to improve treatments for Alzheimers and Parkinsons: At the Faculty of Pharmacy of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country encapsulation techniques are being developed to deliver correctly and effectively certain drugs October 20th, 2014

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

Laboratories

HP Supercomputer at NREL Garners Top Honor October 19th, 2014

ORNL research reveals unique capabilities of 3-D printing October 15th, 2014

Scientists Map Key Moment in Assembly of DNA-Splitting Molecular Machine: Crucial steps and surprising structures revealed in the genesis of the enzyme that divides the DNA double helix during cell replication October 15th, 2014

Imaging

New Grand ARM Transmission Electron Microscope Offers Highest Commercially-Available Atomic Resolution of 63 Picometers October 17th, 2014

Nanotronics Imaging Releases nSPEC® 3D, Powerful Microscope That Captures 3D Images at Nanoscale, in Lightning Speed: Company Unveils Design at American Chemical Society 2014 International Elastomer Conference October 14th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Crystallizing the DNA nanotechnology dream: Scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary nanodevices October 20th, 2014

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

HP Supercomputer at NREL Garners Top Honor October 19th, 2014

First Canada Excellence Research Chair gets $10 million from the federal government for oilsands research at the University of Calgary: Federal government announces prestigious research chair to study improving oil production efficiency October 19th, 2014

Discoveries

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Design of micro and nanoparticles to improve treatments for Alzheimers and Parkinsons: At the Faculty of Pharmacy of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country encapsulation techniques are being developed to deliver correctly and effectively certain drugs October 20th, 2014

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

Announcements

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Design of micro and nanoparticles to improve treatments for Alzheimers and Parkinsons: At the Faculty of Pharmacy of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country encapsulation techniques are being developed to deliver correctly and effectively certain drugs October 20th, 2014

Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam October 20th, 2014

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

Tools

New Grand ARM Transmission Electron Microscope Offers Highest Commercially-Available Atomic Resolution of 63 Picometers October 17th, 2014

Nanodevices for clinical diagnostic with potential for the international market: The development is based on optical principles and provides precision and allows saving vital time for the patient October 15th, 2014

Nanotronics Imaging Releases nSPEC® 3D, Powerful Microscope That Captures 3D Images at Nanoscale, in Lightning Speed: Company Unveils Design at American Chemical Society 2014 International Elastomer Conference October 14th, 2014

Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven October 14th, 2014

Automotive/Transportation

Production of Anticorrosive Chromate Nanocoatings in Iran September 27th, 2014

Teijin Aramid’s carbon nanotube fibers awarded with Paul Schlack prize: New generation super fibers bring wave of innovations to fiber market September 25th, 2014

Next-Gen Luxury RV From Global Caravan Technologies Will Offer MagicView Roof and Windshield Using SPD-SmartGlass Technology From Research Frontiers: Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer Global Caravan Technologies (GCT) Features 28 Square Feet of MagicView™ SPD-SmartGlass September 17th, 2014

Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014

Aerospace/Space

Removal of Limitations of Composites at Superheat Temperatures October 20th, 2014

1980s aircraft helps quantum technology take flight October 20th, 2014

Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, solar cells October 10th, 2014

Fast, cheap nanomanufacturing: Arrays of tiny conical tips that eject ionized materials could fabricate nanoscale devices cheaply October 4th, 2014

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

Graphenea opens US branch October 16th, 2014

NTU develops ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years October 14th, 2014

Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, solar cells October 10th, 2014

Crumpled graphene could provide an unconventional energy storage: Two-dimensional carbon “paper” can form stretchable supercapacitors to power flexible electronic devices October 4th, 2014

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 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE