A Korean research team has successfully developed a technology to vastly improve the performance of lithium ion batteries.
Seoul National University (SNU) announced on February 2 that a research team led by Park Byung-woo, professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at SNU, and Dr. Kim Cheon-jung from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory succeeded in developing a new cathode material, graphene-coated Li4Ti5O12 (LTO), using a solid-state reaction method.
An LTO cathode is considered to be a next-gen cathode material because of its higher efficiency in battery charging than electrodes. However, its commercialization has not been possible so far, owing to its low electrical conductivity.
The research team was able to synthesize graphene-coated LTO with the method in which both the graphene deoxidation and its solid state reaction occur at the same time. It was done by coating titanium oxide with graphene oxide, and putting them though a heat treatment with a lithium precursor. The newly-developed LTO cathode proved to be better in charging rates than existing graphene-coated lithium-steel oxide, as shown by the formation of the uniform surface and stable coating.
Professor Park said, “We tried to overcome the non-conductivity of LTO by coating a conductive material on the surface of LTO, and thereby inducing a speedy response of lithium ions at the initial stage.” He added, “This study is going to lead to enormous developments in cell phones, laptops, and electric cars, since the charging speed of the improved lithium battery is faster, and the number of charge cycles is also increased.”
The research findings were published online in a recent issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, a weekly scientific journal in the materials field.