Using Nanoparticle Oxide Coatings to Extend Cycle Life of Cathode Materials in Lithium-Ion Batteries


This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project seeks to increase the cycle life of cathode materials used in lithium-ion batteries in high-temperature applications by applying protective nanoporous ceramic coatings. SolRayo will investigate the effects that changing several variables that control the nanoporous structure of ceramic coatings have on the cycle life of cathode materials. Such variables include the amount or thickness of the coating, the pH of the suspension of the coating material, the deposition of layers of different ceramic materials on the cathodes, and different methods for depositing the coatings on the cathodes.

The materials to be investigated will include TiO2, ZrO2 and others proposed by our industrial partner.

The broader impacts of this research are that, if successful, this project will improve the cycle life of lithium-ion batteries and allow inherently safer and less expensive materials to be employed. Although lithium-ion batteries have gained wide acceptance in consumer electronic products, their use in other markets has been limited by heir lifetimes and safety concerns, particularly in applications at higher temperatures. Improving the lifetime and safety of the materials used in these batteries will enhance their market penetration. Preliminary cost estimates indicate that licensing the coated materials to industry could provide approximately $100 million annually in royalties on sales. This work will also benefit the nation by improving our understanding of nanoparticle coating techniques suitable for a variety of energy storage applications.


We have seen significant improvement in cycle life since incorporating our nanoparticles into certain lithium ion cells. The chart below shows discharge capacities (as a percentage of initial discharge) without our coating in gray, and with our coating in green. As you can see, our coating allows for a significantly greater number of cycles.

Below is a microscopic image of lithium ion cathode material without our coating and with our coating. You can see the tiny nanoparticles deposited on top of the coated cathodes. These nanoparticles are responsible for the improvement in cathdoe performance.

This work is being accomplished by our subsidiary, SolRayo.

And, it is funded by the National Science Foundation.

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