A team of researchers led by Gao Liu at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA, has developed a doping process for lithium ion battery electrode formation that they claim can boost a cell’s charge capacity and lower its cost while improving reliability and safety. Specifically, the Berkeley Lab team addressed issues with electrode formation by ‘pre-lithiating’ both positive and negative battery electrodes with stabilised lithium metal powder (SLMP) in a highly calibrated process.
Doping graphite or silicon electrode materials with SLMP gives manufacturers a high degree of control of the electric potential of the battery components, simplifying the electrode formation process and lowering costs.
The direct introduction of lithium into anodes or cathodes, in a slurry fabrication process that mixes SLMP with binders and active electrode materials such as silicon or graphite, reduces formation capacity loss and results in improved cycling capacity compared to that of batteries made with conventional processes. Lithium ion batteries are used in consumer electronics, cordless tools, and in hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles.