Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanopower: Avoiding electrolyte failure in nanoscale lithum batteries

Date:
March 21, 2012
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
It turns out you can be too thin -- especially if you're a nanoscale battery. Researchers have built a series of nanowire batteries to demonstrate that the thickness of the electrolyte layer can dramatically affect the performance of the battery, effectively setting a lower limit to the size of the tiny power sources.

Using a transmission electron microscope, NIST reearchers were able to watch individual nanosized batteries with electrolytes of different thicknesses charge and discharge. The NIST team discovered that there is likely a lower limit to how thin an electrolyte layer can be made before it causes the battery to malfunction.
Credit: Talin/NIST

It turns out you can be too thin -- especially if you're a nanoscale battery. Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the University of Maryland, College Park, and Sandia National Laboratories built a series of nanowire batteries to demonstrate that the thickness of the electrolyte layer can dramatically affect the performance of the battery, effectively setting a lower limit to the size of the tiny power sources. The results are important because battery size and performance are key to the development of autonomous MEMS -- microelectromechanical machines -- which have potentially revolutionary applications in a wide range of fields.

Related Articles


MEMS devices, which can be as small as tens of micrometers (that is, roughly a tenth the width of a human hair), have been proposed for many applications in medicine and industrial monitoring, but they generally need a small, long-lived, fast-charging battery for a power source. Present battery technology makes it impossible to build these machines much smaller than a millimeter -- most of which is the battery itself -- which makes the devices terribly inefficient.

NIST researcher Alec Talin and his colleagues created a veritable forest of tiny -- about 7 micrometers tall and 800 nanometers wide -- solid-state lithium ion batteries to see just how small they could be made with existing materials and to test their performance.

Starting with silicon nanowires, the researchers deposited layers of metal (for a contact), cathode material, electrolyte, and anode materials with various thicknesses to form the miniature batteries. They used a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to observe the flow of current throughout the batteries and watch the materials inside them change as they charged and discharged.

The team found that when the thickness of the electrolyte film falls below a threshold of about 200 nanometers, the electrons can jump the electrolyte border instead of flowing through the wire to the device and on to the cathode. Electrons taking the short way through the electrolyte -- a short circuit -- cause the electrolyte to break down and the battery to quickly discharge.

"What isn't clear is exactly why the electrolyte breaks down," says Talin. "But what is clear is that we need to develop a new electrolyte if we are going to construct smaller batteries. The predominant material, LiPON, just won't work at the thicknesses necessary to make practical high-energy-density rechargeable batteries for autonomous MEMS."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dmitry Ruzmetov, Vladimir P. Oleshko, Paul M. Haney, Henri J. Lezec, Khim Karki, Kamal H. Baloch, Amit K. Agrawal, Albert V. Davydov, Sergiy Krylyuk, Yang Liu, JianY. Huang, Mihaela Tanase, John Cumings, A. Alec Talin. Electrolyte Stability Determines Scaling Limits for Solid-State 3D Li Ion Batteries. Nano Letters, 2012; 12 (1): 505 DOI: 10.1021/nl204047z

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Nanopower: Avoiding electrolyte failure in nanoscale lithum batteries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321132056.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2012, March 21). Nanopower: Avoiding electrolyte failure in nanoscale lithum batteries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321132056.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Nanopower: Avoiding electrolyte failure in nanoscale lithum batteries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321132056.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins