Paving the way for a lithium battery that uses an asphalt electrode
October 9, 2017
Most of the batteries we use, from our cell phones to our cars, rely on using lithium ions. As a result, their capacity is largely a product of how much lithium you can stuff into a given volume. Obviously, using a pure lithium electrode would provide the highest density possible. But there has been no way to control where the lithium ends up as a battery goes through charge/discharge cycles. The typical result is a set of lithium metal spines that short the whole system out.
As a result, a lot of effort has been put into finding other materials that can incorporate lithium into their structure. This lowers the total lithium content but keeps the battery from shorting out. However, a new paper suggests an intriguing alternative, describing a material that ensures lithium forms a smooth coating on its surface with no spines. What's this wonder material? A slightly modified version of asphalt.