Reliable metal lithium batteries closer to reality thanks to new coating

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The lithium-metal battery is a little closer to reality, at least as far as possible commercial production, after a study conducted by a team of scientists from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

In the study presented at Joule, the team presents a new coating that could make this type of battery lighter and safer and above all more durable, something that could bring these batteries closer to a possible use on electric cars.

For decades attempts have been made to develop reliable and durable rechargeable lithium metal batteries, but attempts have always led to devices that are too unreliable in terms of life expectancy and fire risk, unlike what happened to lithium-ion batteries.

In the laboratory tests carried out by the researchers, this special coating significantly extended the life of the battery. The same coating has also proven useful in addressing the combustion problem by reducing the number of dendrites, small needle-like structures that can cause a short circuit in the battery and start a fire. Not that lithium-ion batteries do not suffer from this problem, but in the latter case, it is much more incidental.

Zhenan Bao, who is developing this special coating together with his colleague Yi Cui, talks about “holy grail” in reference to the research they are also conducting because lithium metal batteries can contain more energy than lithium ion batteries and much more are light and compact, two things that can make a noticeable step forward in portable electronics.

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Kelly Owen
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