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Korean scientists develop safer Li-ion batt

Posted: 06 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Lithium ion? Li-ion? battery? LIB? consumer electronics?

Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) power many of today's electronic devices, and though they may be the preferred choice over nickel-based and lead acid batteries, LIBs are not without some shortcomings, such as overheating that leads to thermal runaway.

South Korean researchers at the Center for Self-assembly and Complexity, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Department of Chemistry and Division of Advanced Materials Science at Pohang University, have developed a new LIB made from a porous solid, which greatly improves its performance as well as reducing the risks due to overheating.

Since 2002, there have been over 40 recalls in the United States alone due to fire or explosion risk from LIBs used in consumer electronic devices. These types of batteries, in all of their different lithium-anode combinations, continue to be an essential part of modern consumer electronics despite their poor track record at high temperatures.

The Korean team tried a totally new approach in making the batteries. According to Dr Kimoon Kim at IBS, "We have already investigated high and highly anisotropic [directionally dependent] proton conducting behaviours in porous CB[6] for fuel cell electrolytes. It is possible for this lithium ion conduction following porous CB[6] to be safer than existing solid lithium electrolyte-based organic-molecular porous-materials utilising the simple soaking method."

Current LIB technology relies on intercalated lithium which functions well, but due to ever increasing demands from electronic devices to be lighter and more powerful, investigation of novel electrolytes is necessary in order.


Simple incorporation of various lithium precursor to porous CB[6] exhibits high lithium ion conductivities, mobility and safer dried solid lithium electrolytes (Source: Institute of Basic Science)

The new battery is built from pumpkin-shaped molecules called cucurbit[6]uril (CB[6]) which are organised in a honeycomb-like structure. The molecules have an incredibly thin 1D-channel, only averaging 7.5? [a single lithium ion is 0.76?, or 0.76 x 10-10m] that runs through them. The physical structure of the porous CB[6] enables the lithium ions to battery to diffuse more freely than in conventional LIBs and exist without the separators found in other batteries.

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