Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



ENERGY TECH
Supercharging silicon batteries
by Staff Writers
Onna, Japan (SPX) Sep 15, 2017


The porosity of the nanostructured Tantalum (in black) enables the formation of silicon channels (in blue) allowing lithium ions to travel faster within the battery. The rigidity of the tantalum scaffold also limits the expansion of the silicon and preserve structural integrity. Image courtesy Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University Nanoparticles by Design Unit.

As the world shifts towards renewable energy, moving on from fossil fuels, but at the same time relying on ever more energy-gobbling devices, there is a fast-growing need for larger high-performance batteries. Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) power most of our portable electronics, but they are flammable and can even explode, as it happened to a recent model of smartphone.

To prevent such accidents, the current solution is to encapsulate the anode - which is the negative (-) electrode of the battery, opposite to the cathode (+) - into a graphite frame, thus insulating the lithium ions. However, such casing is limited to a small scale to avoid physical collapse, therefore restraining the capacity - the amount of energy you can store - of the battery.

Looking for better materials, silicon offers great advantages over carbon graphite for lithium batteries in terms of capacity. Six atoms of carbon are required to bind a single atom of lithium, but an atom of silicon can bind four atoms of lithium at the same time, multiplying the battery capacity by more than 10-fold.

However, being able to capture that many lithium ions means that the volume of the anode swells by 300% to 400%, leading to fracturing and loss of structural integrity. To overcome this issue, OIST researchers have now reported in Advanced Science the design of an anode built on nanostructured layers of silicon - not unlike a multi-layered cake - to preserve the advantages of silicon while preventing physical collapse.

This new battery is also aiming to improve power, which is the ability to charge and deliver energy over time.

"The goal in battery technology right now is to increase charging speed and power output," explained Dr. Marta Haro Remon, first author of the study. "While it is fine to charge your phone or your laptop over a long period of time, you would not wait by your electric car for three hours at the charging station."

And when it comes to providing energy, you would want your car to start off quickly at a traffic light or a stop sign, requiring a high spike in power, rather than slowly creeping forward. A well-thought design of a silicone-based anode might be a solution and answer these expectations.

The idea behind the new anode in the Nanoparticles by Design Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University is the ability to precisely control the synthesis and the corresponding physical structure of the nanoparticles. Layers of unstructured silicon films are deposited alternatively with tantalum metal nanoparticle scaffolds, resulting in the silicon being sandwiched in a tantalum frame.

"We used a technique called Cluster Beam Deposition," continued Dr. Haro. "The required materials are directly deposited on the surface with great control. This is a purely physical method, there are no need for chemicals, catalysts or other binders."

"We used a technique called Cluster Beam Deposition," continued Dr. Haro. "The required materials are directly deposited on the surface with great control. This is a purely physical method, there are no need for chemicals, catalysts or other binders."

The outcome of this research, led by Prof. Sowwan at OIST, is an anode with higher power but restrained swelling, and excellent cyclability - the amount of cycles in which a battery can be charged and discharged before losing efficiency.

By looking closer into the nanostructured layers of silicon, the scientists realized the silicon shows important porosity with a grain-like structure in which lithium ions could travel at higher speeds compared to unstructured, amorphous silicon, explaining the increase in power.

At the same time the presence of silicon channels along the Ta nanoparticle scaffolds allows the lithium ions to diffuse in the entire structure. On the other hand, the tantalum metal casing, while restraining swelling and improving structural integrity, also limited the overall capacity - for now.

However, this design is currently only at the stage of proof-of-concept, opening the door to numerous opportunities to improve capacity along with the increased power.

"It is a very open synthesis approach, there are many parameters you can play around," commented Dr. Haro. "For example, we want to optimize the numbers of layers, their thickness, and replace tantalum metal with other materials."

With this technique paving the way, it might very well be that the solution for future batteries, forecast to be omnipresent in our lives, will be found in nanoparticles.

Research paper

ENERGY TECH
Firebricks offer low-cost storage for carbon-free energy
Boston MA (SPX) Sep 15, 2017
Firebricks, designed to withstand high heat, have been part of our technological arsenal for at least three millennia, since the era of the Hittites. Now, a proposal from MIT researchers shows this ancient invention could play a key role in enabling the world to switch away from fossil fuels and rely instead on carbon-free energy sources. The researchers' idea is to make use of excess elec ... read more

Related Links
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

ENERGY TECH
Voyager Spacecraft: 40 Years of Solar System Discoveries

Trump names former Navy aviator to head NASA

What's hot and what's not at Berlin's IFA tech fair

'Star Trek' actor Shatner sends message to Voyager

ENERGY TECH
Rocket fever launches UB students to engineering competition in New Mexico

NASA Concludes Summer of Testing with Fifth Flight Controller Hot Fire

ISRO suspects pyro elements failed to separate rocket's heat shield

Ariane 5 rocket aborts Guiana lift-off in final seconds

ENERGY TECH
Discovery of boron on Mars adds to evidence for habitability

Life on Mars: Let's Try Oman Desert First for Space Mission

Citizen scientists spot Martian 'spiders' in unexpected places

Big dishes band together

ENERGY TECH
China, Russia to Have Smooth Space Cooperation, Says Expert

Kuaizhou-11 to send six satellites into space

Russia, China May Sign 5-Year Agreement on Joint Space Exploration

ESA and Chinese astronauts train together

ENERGY TECH
Bids for government funding prove strong interest in LaunchUK

Blue Sky Network Reaffirms Commitment to Brazilian Market

India to Launch Exclusive Satellite for Afghanistan

Lockheed Martin invests $350M in state-of-the-art satellite production facility

ENERGY TECH
New microscopy method for quick and reliable 3-D imaging of curvilinear nanostructures

Chinese video site offers virtual escape from 'boring' reality

Chinese video site offers virtual escape from 'boring' reality

Molecules move faster near sticky surfaces

ENERGY TECH
Climate change for aliens

X-Rays Reveal Temperament of Possible Planet-Hosting Stars

Earth as Hybrid Planet: The Anthropocene Era in Astrobiological Context

Could TRAPPIST-1's Seven Earth-size Planets Have Gas Giant Siblings

ENERGY TECH
Pluto features given first official names

Jupiter's Auroras Present a Powerful Mystery

New Horizons Files Flight Plan for 2019 Flyby

Juno Scientists Prepare for Seventh Science Pass of Jupiter




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement