To make batteries suitable for electric cars or home storage, imec is developing solid state electrolytes with high conductivity (>1E-2 S/cm) to increase the energy capacity of solid state Li-ion batteries. Imec’s solid electrolyte is fully compatible with existing Li-ion battery fabrication tools as the electrolyte is applied via a liquid precursor and solidified once applied. In this way, Imec’s approach distinguishes from the typical inorganic solid powder electrolytes which needs new fabrication schemes.
High conductivity electrolyte
Imec is engineering materials at the nanoscale to develop an (inorganic) nano-composite electrolyte with high ion conductivities larger than 1E-2 S/cm and with a large electrochemical stability window (0V – 5V vs. Li+/Li).
We design solid electrolytes through the principle of heterogeneous doping. Heterogeneous doping refers to the significantly enhanced ion transport that occurs at the interface between an oxide insulator (e.g. silica or alumina) and a salt electrolyte. This interface phenomena is exploited to create new Li-ion electrolyte materials with high ionic conductivity. The concept of using interfaces to engineer ion conductivity is termed “nanoionics”.
We use, for example, nanoporous silica, a material that we have a great deal of experience with in the chip industry. When combined with a lithium salt into a composite, faster ion conduction can be achieved as the lithium ions move through this material along the internal surface of the silica.
We have demonstrated nanocomposite electrolytes with ion conductivities exceeding several mS/cm at room temperature.
Embedded nanocomposite electrolyte
Using this high conductivity electrolyte, imec is developing a high capacity solid-state powder battery. Imec’s solid electrolyte is applied via a liquid precursor and solidified once inside the powder electrodes. As such, high density electrodes with high capacity are made.
Battery performance and reliability (life-time) are determined by the control of interfaces. If an interface is blocked, that part of the battery won’t work anymore. Imec is developing protective coatings with dually ionic and electronic conducting properties.
To increase the capacity to the order of Ah (ampere hours), imec is developing thick (>100 micrometers) electrode structures.
This work is part of EnergyVille, a center of expertise that unites KU Leuven, VITO, Hasselt University and imec for research into sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems.
Large storage systems for:
- portable electronics (such as laptops or cameras)
- electric cars
- home storage systems for the smart grid
- future smart house-hold appliances and autonomous robots
What can we do for you?
- By participating in our research program, you can get early access to advanced research results to shorten your time-to-market, while sharing costs and lowering the risks associated with precompetitive research through collaboration with other technology leaders across the value chain.
- Via dedicated research projects, we can provide you with state-of-the-art technology solutions to improve your industrial cell and module performance.
Why work with us?
- Our in-depth technology knowledge is leveraged by our unique multidisciplinary science and design teams that cover a range of expertise areas, such as material and component analysis, modeling, metrology, reliability, process steps, and more.
- We develop industry relevant solutions using industrial processes
- Our unique infrastructure includes a state-of-the-art pre-pilot silicon photovoltaics process line and the industry’s most advanced thin-film photovoltaics R&D infrastructure.
How can we help you?
Some examples of what we have done
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Postdoctoral Researcher Solar Fuels
Help design the energy production of the future as our postdoctoral researcher in Solar Fuels!
Electrochemical stability of Li-ion cathodes in water
Help make the next generation Li-ion batteries happen
Heterogeneous conductivity enhancement in solid state electrolytes for all-solid-state lithium ion batteries
Making Li-ions move faster at interfaces for novel solid electrolytes
Modeling ALD thin-film growth in Li-ion electrodes
Enabling imec's next-generation Li-ion cell technology for a green and sustainable societyMore job opportunities