A team of scientists from the Shinshu University in Nagano, Japan are working on creating a lithium-ion battery that improves drastically upon current batteries. If successful, these new batteries could provide power for improving a range of technologies, especially electric vehicles. The team, headed by professor Katsuya Teshima, published their work in the Scientific Reports journal in August.

Why Lithium-Ion Batteries Need Improvement

Lithium-ion batteries have been in the technological news frequently in recent years. Often, they have been heralded as the next big thing in storing energy and are already being used in many new pieces of technology.

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However, traditional lithium-ion batteries made so far have a major flaw. The high voltage levels required to make the battery release its energy causes damage to the battery, resulting in various reactions that ultimately degrade its storage capacity.

Building a Better Battery

The Shinshu team believes they can solve the degradation issue by using a self-assembled monolayer on the surface of a lithium-ion battery’s cathodes. They applied a coating of fluoroalkylisilane to the cathodes. Fluoroalkylisilane is a type of silicone which arranges itself in such a way to conduct lithium ions and insulate electrons while remaining in a layer only one atom thick.

Nobuyuki Zettsu Ph.D

This coating seems to prevent the degradation greatly. In their experiments, they were able to cycle one of their improved lithium-ion batteries over one hundred times without it degrading at all.

The Uses for an Improved Lithium-Ion Battery

Nobuyuki Zettsu, another professor at Shinshu University and an expert in materials chemistry, believes that this could be a game-changing advancement in energy-storage technology, but warns that there is still a lot of testing to be done.

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Zettsu hopes they will be able to bring the new batteries to market in 2022 with help from the automobile and energy cell manufacturers. Hopefully, they will be able to create batteries that not only store much greater energy than older ones but are also environmentally friendly.