Lithium-ion batteries promise longevity, scientists find ‘hollow’ tantalum crystals

A material, the palladium crystal, has been discovered at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Federal Institute of Technology zurich and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which allows lithium-ion batteries to hold more energy without sacrificing battery life, according tomedia journal Nature Nanotechnology. It is spontaneous and reversible in the process of charge and discharge cycle, a highly anticipated feature that promotes greater energy density without compromising safety.

Lithium-ion batteries promise longevity, scientists find 'hollow' tantalum crystals

It is reported that lithium-ion batteries generate electricity by transmitting ions back and forth between two electrodes (negative cathode and positive anode). But in their current state, they have reached the limit, i.e. efforts to increase the flow of lithium-ion seyoung materials are hampered by the aging of anode materials, which expand and contract during charging and discharging, resulting in greater pressure, thereby reducing battery life.

Now, scientists have seen a solution in tiny particles one thousandth of the diameter of a human hair. Since the gap in the hollow crystal of the nanomaterial can adapt to the volume change when the battery is charged and discharged, it also provides a stable outer surface, thus improving the cycling capacity.

“Intentional engineering of hollow nanomaterials has been around for some time, and this is a promising way to improve the life and stability of high-energy-density batteries,” said Matthew McDowell, a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Our findings provide a simpler, streamlined process to improve performance in a way similar to a deliberately designed hollow structure. “

The use of high-resolution electron microscopes to observe nanoparticles in small test cells confirmed this hollow behavior and found that only particles less than 30 nanometers in diameter were found. It works through an elastic oxide layer that causes the material to expand as ions flow into the anode, but creates gaps when ions are removed, rather than causing typical contraction behavior.

“When we first observed the unique hollow behavior, it was very exciting, and we knew right now that this could have a significant impact on battery performance. McDowell sighed.

While these hollow nanoparticles are an exciting discovery, there are some challenges ahead for the team. Because radon itself is expensive, it is not yet used to produce battery electrodes.

However, scientists suspect tin or other cheaper materials may exhibit the same hollow structure, and hope to explore these possibilities and study larger batteries in a bid to achieve commercial applications.

“It’s interesting to test other materials to see if they’re converted against a similar hollow mechanism. “This expands the range of materials available for batteries,” McDowell said. The small test batteries we manufacture show promising charge and discharge properties, so we want to evaluate them in larger battery materials. “