Paper-like Material to Boost Li-ion Batteries

The newly developed silicon nanofiber structure allow the battery to be cycled hundreds of times without significant degradation.Image: Nature Scientific Reports

The newly developed silicon nanofiber structure allows the battery to be cycled hundreds of times without significant degradation.
Image: Nature Scientific Reports

Electric cars and personal electronics may get the battery boost they need with this new development in lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside have created silicon nanofibers that are 100 times thinner than human hair, which will provide the potential to boost the amount of energy that can be delivered per unit weight of the batteries.

The research has been detailed in the paper “Towards Scalable Binderless Electrodes: Carbon Coated Silicon Nanofiber Paper via Mg Reduction of Electrospun SiO₂ Nanofibers.”

This from University of California, Riverside:

The nanofibers were produced using a technique known as electrospinning, whereby 20,000 to 40,000 volts are applied between a rotating drum and a nozzle, which emits a solution composed mainly of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), a chemical compound frequently used in the semiconductor industry. The nanofibers are then exposed to magnesium vapor to produce the sponge-like silicon fiber structure.

Read the full article here.

Because the conventional material to produce these battery anodes – graphite – has been nearly tapped out, researchers are turning their attention toward new materials.

“Eliminating the need for metal current collectors and inactive polymer binders while switching to an energy dense material such as silicon will significantly boost the range capabilities of electric vehicles,” said Zach Favors, one of six graduate students who worked on the research.

In the future, the researchers hope to take these nanofibers and implement them in a larger scale battery format to be used in EVs and portable electronics.

Interested in the future of the lithium-ion battery? You’ll want to check out the 227th ECS Meeting, where we’ll be featuring a symposia on batteries and energy storage – with an emphasis on li-ion batteries.

Register for that meeting now to take advantage of early-bird discounts!

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