Low-Cost Lithium Battery Cell Uses a Unique Semi-Liquid Metal Buffer to Prevent Dendrite Growth

Technology #34036

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The UCF liquid metal coating promotes the uniform deposition of lithium ions in a battery cell and prevents dendritic growth. It thus provides a stable solid electrolyte interface for separating the lithium metal anode from the electrolyte.
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Researchers
Akihiro Kushima, Ph.D.
External Link (www.cecs.ucf.edu)
Supriya Koul
Kun Liang, Ph.D.
Yang Yang, Ph.D.
External Link (www.nanoscience.ucf.edu)
Managed By
Raju Nagaiah
Research Associate 407.882.0593
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending

Battery cell’s novel coating stabilizes lithium metal surfaces, enabling the development of next-generation energy storage technologies such as lithium-air and lithium-sulfur batteries.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed an inexpensive battery cell that overcomes the safety hazards, performance problems and capacity loss associated with using lithium metal as an anode electrode in lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries. With the innovation, manufacturers now have the technology to produce next-generation energy storage devices as well as better lithium-ion batteries. Today’s lithium-ion batteries are susceptible to dendrite growth that can pierce the separator between the anode and the cathode and cause a battery to short-circuit or possibly catch fire. More importantly, dendrites contribute to electrolyte decomposition, which reduces the power, charge efficiency and lifespan of a battery. The new UCF battery cell resolves these issues with a novel semi-liquid coating that forms a stable, evenly distributed solid electrolyte interface (SEI) buffer between the electrolyte layer and the surface of the lithium metal anode.

Technical Details

The invention comprises a battery cell with an inexpensive buffer layer (coating) and a method of applying it onto a lithium metal electrode surface. Made of a semi-liquid gallium-indium-tin eutectic alloy, the buffer forms a stable and conformal interfacial layer that deters dendritic growth and protects the electrolyte during charging/discharging cycles. Since the alloy is in a liquid state at room temperature, it can maintain good contact with the lithium metal surface. Also, by solidifying in the presence of lithium ions and liquefying in the absence of lithium ions, the SEI allows the battery to safely achieve coulombic efficiency over multiple cycles without losing capacity.

Partnering Opportunity

The research team is looking for partners to develop the technology for commercialization.

Stage of Development

Prototype available.

Benefits

  • Low cost
  • Maintains good contact with the lithium surface, improving its durability
  • Can be created using traditional roll-to-roll manufacturing methods
  • Self-healing liquid does not crack (compared to solid SEI layers)

Applications

  • Any lithium batteries that use lithium metal anode (lithium-ion, lithium-air, lithium-sulfur)
  • Anti-corrosion coating
  • Automobile batteries