APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Li-ion batteries
- Solid state batteries
- High ionic conductivity with the structural properties required for Li electrode stability
- Non-flammable electrolyte
- Theoretical energy density of 300 Wh/kg
- No dead weight and no reduction in potential as Li is depleted
- The mechanical properties of polymer electrolytes are particularly important in secondary solid-state lithium batteries, however, dendrite formation reduces battery life and compromises safety. Theoretical work indicates that dendrite growth can be stopped if the shear modulus of polymer electrolytes is increased. Other studies show that cation transport is coupled to segmental motion of the polymer chains. These indicate that dendrite growth can be prevented by introducing a highly rigid electrolyte (elastic modulus about 1 GPa) between the two electrodes. However most rubbery polymer electrolytes are incompatible, with typical elastic moduli of about 1 Mpa.
Researchers at Berkeley Lab have developed a novel solid polymer electrolyte material using a diblock copolymer, resulting in high elastic modulus (high rigidity), thus suppressing dendrite growth. The material is ionically conductive, mechanically robust, and can be formed into desirable shapes using conventional polymer processing methods. The electrolyte is made under dry conditions. Ion transport in block copolymer microphases is smooth and can be faster than that in bulk.
The invention enables higher energy density, better thermal and environmental stability, lower rates of self-discharge, enhanced safety, lower manufacturing costs, and novel form factors.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.