Methodology & Manufacturing
Exploration of new materials and chemistry has always been a hotspot in battery research. The methodology to study essential materials & interface properties, mechanisms of chemical & physical processes, as well as the materials manufacturing & processing involved in battery fabrication plays a very important role in improving battery performance. The Liu Lab group is currently investing in developing advanced manufacturing protocols for both liquid and solid state batteries and enabling methodology to study the evolution of organic species in solid state interphase (SEI) composition by utilizing our freshly minted gradient wash method integrated with IR and MALDI techniques.
Gradient Solvent Wash for Electrode Surface Study
Gradient polarity solvent wash technique involving the use of solvents with gradually increased polarities is employed to sequentially remove different SEI components from electrode surfaces. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is utilized to characterize the SEI composition. The impacts of electrolyte additives and discharge rates over SEI formation are illustrated. This study presents a new concept of rationally controlled solvent wash technique for electrode surface analysis that can selectively remove targeted components. The findings in this study provide experimental support for the slow charge formation processes commonly employed for LIBs in industry.
Advanced Manufacturing Process for Lithium-ion Batteries
To further improve the energy density of the lithium-ion battery and significantly reduce its production cost, an advanced manufacturing process based on fundamental scientific and technological breakthroughs needs to be in place. We have been investigating novel manufacturing approaches to incorporate new materials into the lithium-ion manufacturing process, in order to boost its capacity and reduce its cost. We collaborate with FMC Lithium and Saft America to develop a low-cost advanced manufacturing process to introduce Stabilized Lithium Metal Powder (SLMP) into the lithium-ion battery, to boost energy density and eliminate the initial formation process.