Researchers in the UCLA Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have designed a new solid electrolyte material for lithium batteries, which enhances the energy density and battery stability.
Lithium (Li) metal offers the highest energy density (3860 mAhg-1) among all battery anode materials. As a result, there is a constant and ongoing demand for lithium-based batteries. Li-metal for anodes, however, requires the use of lithium in combination with electrolytes, reducing the overall energy density due to side reactions between the lithium and electrolytes. Solid electrolytes have been developed to improve conductivity but suffer from critical challenges such as unsatisfactory electrochemical stability, sensitivity to moisture and oxygen, poor interfacial contact with electrodes and high grain boundary resistance. New electrolyte materials are needed to optimize the energy density of Li-metal anodes while avoiding issues with solid electrolytes.
UCLA researchers have developed and synthesized a metal-organic-framework-based electrolyte with biomimetic ionic channels for fast and effective transport of Li ions. The new electrolyte, a pseudo solid-state material, exhibits ambient conductivity surpassing 10-3 S cm-1 with an activation energy below 0.21eV and enhanced Li ion transference number. Batteries made with this material have superior rate performance and cycling stability over conventional electrolytes and may be used to replace current lithium batteries.
The material has been successfully synthesized.
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