• Rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries mostly found in portable electronic devices and electric or hybrid cars can now deliver better performance at a lower cost. Researchers at USC Viterbi School of Engineering have been successful in improving the performance of lithium batteries by developing cheaper and high-performance materials that can be used as anode and cathode electrodes. According to the research, silicon can be used as anode in place of graphite. One silicon atom can bond with up to 3.75 lithium atoms whereas six carbon atoms (when graphite is used) are required for one lithium atom. This clearly shows how drastic increase in performance can be brought with the use of silicon.

    The capacity of li-ion battery depends on the number of lithium ions that can be stored in electrodes. Being an abundantly available material, Silicon is one of the best substitute with capacity of 3600 milliamp hour per gram - which is ten times better than graphite. Earlier, the implementation of silicon anode in li-ion batteries had major drawback due to pulverization of electrode because of volume expansion and retraction. However, the same team of USC has been successful last year in developing the anode design which solved the problem of pulverization. However, the method they adopted was way too expensive for commercial adoption, proving it unsuitable for future development of batteries.

    Learning from their previous works, Professor Chongwu Zhou and team have now successfully developed alternative and cost-efficient method for producing porous silicon particles that could be used as anodes. Additionally, a graduate student Jiepeng Rong and team have worked out a way to improve battery performance by coating sulphur powder with graphene oxide. Just like silicon works as anode, sulphur has been promising cathode because of its high capacity. Practical application of sulphur has not been good because of its poor conductivity and poor cyclability. However, the recent research solves both of these problems giving a clear way for its use.

    As the individual tests for anode and cathode have been prominently successful, researchers are testing them as a whole. If they do successfully create the high-performance silicon anode and sulphur cathode batteries with traditional materials, it would completely change the way we look at batteries in the future.

    Via: #-Link-Snipped-#
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