(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Novel strategy to make fast-charging solid-state batteries
Novel strategy to make fast-charging solid-state batteries
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and their collaborators have discovered how next-generation solid-state batteries fail and devised a novel strategy to make these batteries last longer and charge faster.
Solid-state batteries are poised to replace the lithium-ion batteries found in almost every portable electronic device. But on repeated or excessive use, they develop thin filaments called ‘dendrites’ which can short-circuit the batteries and render them useless.
They also show that adding a thin layer of certain metals to the electrolyte surface significantly delays dendrite formation, extending the battery’s life and enabling it to be charged faster.
Conventional lithium-ion batteries – the kind that you might find in your smartphone or laptop – contain a liquid electrolyte sandwiched between a positively charged electrode (cathode) made of a transition metal (such as iron and cobalt) oxide and a negatively charged electrode (anode) made of graphite. When the battery is charging and discharging (using up power), lithium ions shuttle between the anode and cathode in opposite directions. These batteries have a major safety issue – the liquid electrolyte can catch fire at high temperatures. Graphite also stores much less charge than metallic lithium.
A promising alternative, therefore, is solid-state batteries that switch out the liquid for a solid ceramic electrolyte and swap graphite with metallic lithium. Ceramic electrolytes perform even better at higher temperatures, which is especially useful in tropical countries like India. Lithium is also lighter and stores more charge than graphite, which can significantly cut down the battery cost.