Navigation Links
Tin nanocrystals for the battery of the future
Date:4/8/2013

This press release is available in German.

They provide power for electric cars, electric bicycles, Smartphones and laptops: nowadays, rechargeable lithium ion batteries are the storage media of choice when it comes to supplying a large amount of energy in a small space and lightweight. All over the world, scientists are currently researching a new generation of such batteries with an improved performance. Scientists headed by Maksym Kovalenko from the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry at ETH Zurich and Empa have now developed a nanomaterial which enables considerably more power to be stored in lithium ion batteries.

The nanomaterial is composed of tiny tin crystals, which are to be deployed at the minus pole of the batteries (anode). When charging the batteries, lithium ions are absorbed at this electrode; while discharging, they are released again (see box). "The more lithium ions the electrodes can absorb and release the better they can breathe, as it were the more energy can be stored in a battery," explains Kovalenko.

Uniform crystals

The element tin is ideal for this: every tin atom can absorb at least four lithium ions. However, the challenge is to deal with the volume change of tin electrodes: tin crystal becomes up to three times bigger if it absorbs a lot of lithium ions and shrinks again when it releases them back. The scientists thus resorted to nanotechnology: they produced the tiniest tin nanocrystals and embedded a large number of them in a porous, conductive permeable carbon matrix. Much like how a sponge can suck up water and release it again, an electrode constructed in this way can absorb lithium ions while charging and release them when discharging. If the electrode were made of a compact tin block, this would practically be impossible.

During the development of the nanomaterial, the issue of the ideal size for the nanocrystals arose, which also carries the challenge of producing uniform crystals. "The trick here was to separate the two basic steps in the formation of the crystals the formation of as small as a crystal nucleus as possible on the one hand and its subsequent growth on the other," explains Kovalenko. By influencing the time and temperature of the growth phase, the scientists were able to control the size of the crystals. "We are the first to produce such small tin crystals with such precision," says the scientist.

Larger cycle stability

Using uniform tin nanocrystals, carbon and binding agents, the scientists produced different test electrodes for batteries. "This enables twice as much power to be stored compared to conventional electrodes," says Kovalenko. The size of the nanocrystals did not affect the storage capacity during the initial charging and discharging cycle. After a few charging and discharging cycles, however, differences caused by the crystal size became apparent: batteries with ten-nanometre crystals in the electrodes were able to store considerably more energy than ones with twice the diameter. The scientists assume that the smaller crystals perform better because they can absorb and release lithium ions more effectively. "Ten-nanometre tin crystals thus seem to be just the ticket for lithium ion batteries," says Kovalenko.

As the scientists now know the ideal size for the tin nanocrystals, they would like to turn their attention to the remaining challenges of producing optimum tin electrodes in further research projects. These include the choice of the best possible carbon matrix and binding agent for the electrodes, and the electrodes' ideal microscopic structure. Moreover, an optimal and stable electrolyte liquid in which the lithium ions can travel back and forth between the two poles in the battery also needs to be selected. Ultimately, the production costs are also an issue, which the researchers are looking to reduce by testing which cost-effective base materials are suitable for electrode production. The aim is to prepare batteries with an increased energy storage capacity and lifespan for the market, including in collaboration with a Swiss industrial partner.


'/>"/>

Contact: Maksym Kovalenko
mvkovalenko@ethz.ch
41-446-334-156
ETH Zurich
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Nanocrystals not small enough to avoid defects
2. Penn researchers make flexible, low-voltage circuits using nanocrystals
3. Nanocrystals and nickel catalyst substantially improve light-based hydrogen production
4. Research on nanocrystals to move from lab to market
5. Novel technique to synthesize nanocrystals that harvest solar energy
6. Nanotechnology for Drug Delivery: Global Market for Nanocrystals
7. Nanocrystals make dentures shine
8. On the road to plasmonics with silver polyhedral nanocrystals
9. China Industry Reports: 2013 Research on Swine Industry Chain, Human Tetanus Immunoglobulin, Power Energy Storage Battery and Wind Power Lubricating Grease at ReportsnReports.com
10. Alpha Source, Inc.’s Manufacturing Division, Access Battery, Nominated for Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award
11. Cheap, strong lithium-ion battery developed at USC
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... 28, 2016 , ... Morris Midwest ( http://www.morrismidwest.com ), a ... at its Maple Grove, Minnesota technical center, May 11-12. The event will ... Almost 20 leading suppliers of tooling, accessories, software and other related technology will ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... The Pittcon Organizing Committee is pleased ... has been a volunteer member of Committee since 1987. Since then, he has served ... and treasurer and was chairman for both the program and exposition committees. In his ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... SPRING, Md. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE ... Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR ) announced today ... Executive Officer, of United Therapeutics will provide an overview ... Bank 41 st Annual Health Care Conference. ... 5, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and can ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Lamka will assist PathSensors in expanding the use ... , PathSensors deploys the CANARY® test platform for the detection of harmful pathogens, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/9/2016)... , March 9, 2016 ... identified that more than 23,000 public service employees either ... been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ... government identified that more than 23,000 public service employees ... had been receiving their salary unlawfully.    --> ...
(Date:3/3/2016)... 2016  2016FLEX, organized by FlexTech, a SEMI ... in flexible, hybrid and printed electronics. More than ... have gathered for short courses, technical session, exhibits, ... The Flex Conference celebrates its 15 th ... organizations, and universities contributing to the adoption of ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... DUBLIN , March 1, 2016 ... has announced the addition of the  ... 2015-2019"  report to their offering. ... announced the addition of the  "Global ...  report to their offering. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):