M. Poyner, D. Teeters, L. Salsman
Frontier Electronic Systems Corporation,
Keywords: Li-ion, battery, energy storage, nanotechnology, all solid state
Summary:Advances in technology continue to demand more capable power sources. Li ion batteries have emerged as a leading source of energy and is widely used in various applications. However, improvements in battery characteristics such as energy density and capacity are needed to fuel more complex systems. Nanotechnology has emerged as a possible solution to this increase demand in battery performance. Battery materials previously used on a more traditional bulk-scale appear to have favorable properties when at the nanoscale. This discovery has led many researchers to investigate the use of nanotechnology on various Li ion battery materials. One such interesting application of nanotechnology to Li ion batteries is through nanostructuring electrodes. Using a nanostructured filtration membrane as a template, high surface area Li ion battery electrode materials can be fabricated. This increase in surface area associated with nanoscale materials can ultimately lead to unique chemical and physical phenomena. Research conducted at The University of Tulsa (TU) on high surface area Li ion battery electrode materials revealed the capability of improving cell cycling performance by implementing nanotechnology. Higher than theoretical specific capacities and improved mechanical tolerances were discovered. However important enhanced performance is, the safety of the battery is still a key concern. Market-driven pushes for improved battery safety has furthered research into the area of all-solid-state systems. These all-solid-state systems are devoid of the volatile liquid electrolyte found in traditional Li ion systems, thereby reducing the flammability of the battery. Numerous polymer and ceramic electrolyte all-solid-state batteries have been researched. Many of these batteries use Li metal as an anode. While there are several benefits to using a Li metal electrode, there are several safety issues as well. Li metal is extremely reactive and should not be exposed to ambient atmospheric conditions. This reactivity can prove difficult in manufacturing Li ion batteries. By removing and replacing the Li metal with a more atmospherically inert anode material such as SnO2, safer more robust all-solid-state Li ion batteries can be fabricated. Frontier Electronic Systems (FES) in collaboration with TU, is currently developing viable manufacturing processes to utilize these unique nanoscale properties and fabricate cutting-edge all-solid-state battery products. The cell design and fabrication methods of this novel all-solid-state Li ion battery will be discussed. FES has successfully demonstrated the development and application of these all-solid-state batteries, through reproducibly lighting blue LEDs.