In order to improve the performance of current lithium batteries, some of the liquid components of the same are being exchanged for solids .
Known as solid-state batteries , these experimental devices could greatly extend the life of electric vehicles and mobile devices by significantly increasing the density of accumulated energy within them.
One charge every three days
Researchers at MIT have now reported a new type of solid-state battery architecture that overcomes some limitations of current designs.
This new architecture involves a combination of solid materials known as mixed ion-electronic conductors (MIEC) and lithium -ion electron insulators (ELI). These were built in a three-dimensional honeycomb architecture, with a series of nanoscale tubes made of MIEC forming the crucial piece of the puzzle.
These tubes are infused with solid lithium metal to form the battery’s anode. And because there is additional space within each of these tubes, the lithium metal has free space to expand and shrink during loading and unloading. In this way, the material runs a fine line between a solid and a liquid material, moving much like a liquid but maintaining a solid crystalline structure throughout the process.
The team has carried out experiments testing the architecture of the solid-state battery, managing to withstand 100 charge and discharge cycles without any signs of fracture. Later, the technology could generate anodes that weigh about a quarter of current designs, but with the same storage capacity.
Combined with other state-of-the-art cathode designs, the team says there could be mobile phones that only need to be charged once every three days .