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Silicon Expansion Safety Switch for Lithium-Ion Batteries

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry have developed a safety switch that prevents overcharging of lithium-ion batteries without impacting battery operation.

Simple Low-Cost Battery Electrode Alternative

Prof. Mangolini and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a novel silicon-tin nanocomposite that may be used as anodes for lithium ion batteries. Commercial silicon particles and off-the-shelf additives such as tin dichloride are used due to their low material cost, and have shown good performance in both capacity and stability. These hybrid structures show a dramatic improvement compared to those prepared with silicon alone. Measurements suggest that these composites have an overall lower active layer resistance compared to a silicon-only case. This avoids the formation of electrical “dead spots”, and enables the full utilization of the active material. The effectiveness of this simple, low-cost approach suggests that if used in combination with more advanced structures, it may be provide the critical improvement necessary to finally realize a silicon-based next-generation anode. Fig 1: (A) Top-down SEM of the active layer after coating and annealing, without the addition of the tin precursor (B) Same as (A), but with the addition of the tin precursor.  

High-Storage-Capacity Battery Anode Alternative

Prof. Mangolini and his colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a novel process for coating silicon nanoparticles with a conformal shell of carbon specifically optimized for electrochemical energy storage applications. This process allows for simple control of the thickness and degree of graphitization of the nanoparticles. The introduction of a highly-graphitic carbon coating on the surface of the silicon particles serves as a buffer layer, promoting a more robust cycling, and improves the overall electrical conductivity of the silicon-carbon composite. Replacement of 10% by weight of graphite in the electrode composition results in an increase of 60% in the storage capacity silicon-carbon core-shell nanocomposites represent a promising high storage capacity alternative to the current graphite-based lithium-ion battery anodes, while also overcoming the obstacles that prevent the use of silicon particles in energy storage applications.  Fig 1: High-resolution TEM images showing the high uniformity of the carbon coating wrapping a single silicon nanoparticle.  

Three-Dimensional Holey Graphene/SnO2 Composite Anodes with Ultra Areal Capacity for Lithium-Ion Batteries

UCLA researchers in the Schools of Engineering and Chemistry have developed a novel material for lithium-ion battery anodes. The composite exhibits unprecedented mass loading and energy storage capacity, expanding the applications and efficiency of lithium-ion batteries.

Sulfur Reduction Reaction Catalyst for High Performance Sulfur Cathode

Researchers in UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Department of Material Science Engineering have developed an electrocatalytic strategy to eliminate polysulfide shuttling and significantly improve Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) battery performance.

Solid Electrolytes with Biomimetic Ionic Channels for Lithium-Metal Batteries

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.

Conductive-Organometallic Framework

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry have developed organic metallic framework (MOF) materials with high porosity and conductivity capabilities.

Ambient-Pressure Regeneration Of Degraded Lithium-Ion Battery Cathodes Via Eutectic Solutions

Lithium‐ion batteries (LIBs) are currently the dominant power sources for portable electronics and electric vehicles, both of which have rapidly growing markets. Recycling and re‐use of end‐of‐life LIBs, to reclaim lithium and transition metal resources and eliminate pollution from disposal of waste batteries, have become urgent tasks. Great effort has been made to recycle LIB cathode materials. State‐of‐the‐art approaches include pyrometallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and direct recycling. The pyrometallurgical approach requires high temperature smelting as well as multi-step purification and separation processes; the hydrometallurgical approach requires acid leaching and subsequent complicated precipitation steps to produce precursors for the re-synthesis of new cathode materials. Both approaches have to totally destroy the LIB cathode particles which represent a significant amount of value from their primary manufacturing process. The direct recycling approach combines physical separation to harvest the cathode materials with high-pressure relithiation to regenerate cathode materials, where the high pressure process greatly increases the cost of regeneration.

A Family Of Hybrid Boosting Voltage Converters

Many industries, such as solar cells and energy storage, will be greatly benefited by high-gain step-up/step-down converters.UCI researchers have developed a family of hybrid boosting converters (HBC) that combine a base bipolar voltage multiplier (BVM) and one of several possible inductive switching cores to address various converter functionalities.

A Family Of Two-Switch Boosting Switched-Capacitor Converters (TBSC)

Switched capacitor converters, which provide high-gain voltage conversion, have drawbacks that have limited their use to specific applications. UCI researchers have developed a family of two-switch boosting switched-capacitor converters (TBSC) that enables the use of switched-capacitor converters in low cost and small-size applications as well as on-chip integration.

Multi-Point, Multi-Access Energy Storage

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a novel multi-point, multi-access thermal energy storage system.

Composite Membranes For Energy Storage Devices

Dendritic growth inside a high capacity electrochemical system can initiate self-discharge and a very dangerous set of reactions that result in cell temperatures reaching >500 °C within seconds of internal shorting. Thus, cell components are often designed with shut-off features that engage after shorting occurs and cell temperature begins to rise, but before a threshold temperature is reached (e.g. runaway temperature). For example, some separator membranes can be designed to collapse in response to high temperatures, blocking ion-flow and effectively shutting off the cell. However, this process is irreversible and will not prevent thermal runaway if a critical temperature is reached before proper shutoff can occur. Additionally, such membrane will have little effect if the short circuit occurs from separator penetration by a metallic dendrite. Reversible thermo-responsive membranes have been developed, but share similar drawbacks during internal shorting and rapid self-discharge.

Composite Electrodes For Electrochemical Energy Storage

Researchers at the UCLA Department of Physics & Astronomy have designed supercapacitors with enhanced energy density and power density properties.

Thermodynamic Integration Simulation Method for Filling Molecular Enclosures Using Spliced Soft-Core Interaction Potential

Researchers have developed a simulation method to determine the properties of molecular enclosures based on slow growth thermodynamic integration (SGTI).

Cephalopod-Inspired Adaptive Infrared Camouflage Materials and Systems

This technology is a new class of materials capable of thermal regulation and active camouflage. These cephalopod-inspired materials, configurable to different geometries, can be used in many sectors, ranging from consumer to industrial to military applications.

Ceramic And Metallic Cellular Structures Wtih Interconnected Microchannels

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed cellular porous metallic and ceramic structures that can be used to increase the production and recovery of tritium for fusion power reactors or as a support for electrode materials.

A Method Of Making Carbon Coated Oxides As High-Performance Anode Materials

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a carbon-coated silicon nanoparticle-based electrode material for lithium-ion batteries with high energy density and long lifetime.  They have also developed a scalable fabrication method for this material.

Decentralized Charging Protocol for Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Plug-in vehicles (PEVs) have drawn interest from government, automakers, and the public due to potential for reduced environmental impact. UCI researchers have developed a decentralized charging protocol for PEVs that results in improved stability in power grid demand.

Battery Energy Storage Control System

UCLA researchers have developed a battery energy storage system capable of both shifting power consumption pattern and shaping power consumption profile with minimal delay.

Ion-Gated Thermal/Electrical/Optoelectronic Modulator/Transistors/Switches

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a novel device for modulating thermal and electrical properties of materials by manipulating ionic motions.

New Non-Platinum Fuel Cell Catalyst

The Kisailus research group at the University of California, Riverside, has  developed a novel fuel cell catalyst made of porous carbon nanofibers doped with inexpensive metal or metal oxide nanoparticles that provide active sites for energy conversion and storage. The active or catalytic nanoparticles are embedded and integrated with graphitic nanofibers and are accessible to the surrounding environment due to high porosity. The extensive graphitic networks within these nanofibers also exhibits enhanced conductivity. Cobalt oxide- graphite composite nanofibers showed equivalent catalytic activity to fuel cell platinum catalysts like platinum on carbon (Pt/C). When operated under fuel cell conditions, the nanofiber formulation provides enhanced durability.  Fig. 1 Metal oxide-graphite composite and porous nanofibers with highly controllable diameter, particle size and performance. Fig. 2 Linear sweep voltametry curves shows that the graphitic nanofibers doped with metal ions have higher current densities than commercial platinum on carbon (Pt/C).  

Process to Synthesize Size Controlled Nanocrystalline Materials for Battery Electrodes

Researchers at UCR have developed a scalable and affordable process for synthesizing nanostructure materials like LiFePO4 (LFP) at low temperatures (150 to 200 oC) with highly reproducible sizes and morphologies. The nanocrystalline structures may be utilized as active elements in battery cathodes or anodes to enhance charging cycle stability or enhance capacitance (including when doped with conductive metals). The process is performed at relatively low temperatures, and uses environmentally friendly solvents.  This results in lower up front and ongoing manufacturing costs in cathode and anode production.  The particle size and shape, as well as crystal orientation of the produced structures can be controlled, not only preventing loss of performance and capacity due to increased stresses and charge de-stabilization, but also improving rate capability.  The nanostructures created with this method will result in increased battery power and energy density. Fig. 1: Reproducible nanoprism crystal morphologies produced via the method described here.   Fig. 2: Reproducible nanobelt crystal morphologies produced via the method described here.

High Performance Transition-Metal Doped PtNi Catalysts

Researchers led by Yu Huang from the Department of Material Science and Engineering at UCLA have developed a novel oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) catalyst by doping platinum-nickel octahedrals with transition metals.

Supercapacitor With Non-Planar Electrodes

UCLA researchers have developed a solid-state supercapacitor structure with non-planar electrodes and ionogels dielectric medium.

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