Researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are working to extend the life of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries by focusing on keeping the internal metal structure of the batteries — the anode — from falling apart over time.
The work could significantly improve the time spent charging batteries for portable devices and electric vehicles. Researchers are hoping to improve the anode of lithium-ion batteries by applying a thin, film-like coating of copper and tin.
An anode generates electrons that travel to a similar structure, the cathode, inside the battery, then create a current and power.
"Our work has shown that the rate of degradation of the anode can be reduced by more than 1,000% by using a copper-tin film compared to a tin film that is often used," said Yang Yang, associate professor in UCF's NanoScience Technology Center.
Yang said that not only would this copper-tin alloy help to stabilize rechargeable battery performance but would also make them safer and able to withstand extreme temperatures. The system is also scalable for use in the smallest smartphone batteries or larger batteries that power electric vehicles or electric trucks.
"We are motivated by our most recent research progress in alloyed materials for various applications," Yang said. "Each alloy is unique in composition, structure and property."
The full research can be found in the journal Advanced Materials.