The role of nanotechnology in the development of battery materials for electric vehicles

Journal name:
Nature Nanotechnology
Volume:
11,
Pages:
1031–1038
Year published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/nnano.2016.207
Received
Accepted
Published online
Corrected online

Abstract

A significant amount of battery research and development is underway, both in academia and industry, to meet the demand for electric vehicle applications. When it comes to designing and fabricating electrode materials, nanotechnology-based approaches have demonstrated numerous benefits for improved energy and power density, cyclability and safety. In this Review, we offer an overview of nanostructured materials that are either already commercialized or close to commercialization for hybrid electric vehicle applications, as well as those under development with the potential to meet the requirements for long-range electric vehicles.

At a glance

Figures

  1. Structure of LiFePO4.
    Figure 1: Structure of LiFePO4.

    a–d, 3D crystal structure (a), projection of 3D model on ab plane (b), projection of 3D model on ac plane (c) and theoretical prediction of blocked lithium in 1D channels by anti-site defects (d). The inset of panel d schematically shows blocked lithium ions in a blocked channel (red background sandwiched between two anti-site defects), which can diffuse into another (010) channel through the sluggish (001) channel. Panel d implies that particles with <50 nm in the (010) direction are free of impact from the anti-site defects, given the defect level is controlled at the 0.5% level (see the intercept between the red dotted line and the x axis).

  2. Comparison of energy diagrams of various cathode materials.
    Figure 2: Comparison of energy diagrams of various cathode materials.

    In the LiCoO2 system, the t2g band is completely filled and the eg band is empty (t2g6eg0) with a low-spin Co3+ 3d6 configuration. During lithium extraction, electrons are removed from the t2g band first. Since the t2g band overlaps with the top of the O 2p band, deeper lithium extraction may result in a removal of electrons from the O 2p band, which will result in an oxidation of the O2− ions and an ultimate loss of oxygen from the lattice. In contrast, the LiNiO2 system with a low-spin Ni3+ t2g6eg1 configuration and the Li1−xMn2O4 system with a high-spin Mn3+ t2g3eg1 configuration involves the removal of electrons only from the eg band. Figure adapted from ref. 28, Elsevier.

  3. Schematics of strategies to protect cathodes from reacting with non-aqueous electrolytes.
    Figure 3: Schematics of strategies to protect cathodes from reacting with non-aqueous electrolytes.

    a–e, Rough particulate coating (a), thin homogeneous coating (b), ultra-thin surface coating by atomic layer deposition (c), core–shell structure using manganese-rich shell to protect the nickel-rich core (d) and full concentration gradient cathodes with the concentration of nickel continuously decreasing from the centre to the surface (e). Panel e reproduced from ref. 35, NPG.

  4. The lithium titanate-carbon nanocomposites as anodes for LIBs.
    Figure 4: The lithium titanate-carbon nanocomposites as anodes for LIBs.

    a, Schematic of the kinetics of Li and electron transport in an ordered mesoporous, micro-/nanosized TiO2/C composite. Green spheres, TiO2 nanoparticles; black rods, mesopore carbon matrix. b, Synthetic strategy for preparing LTO–carbon mesoporous nanostructures. The ordered mesoporous carbon CMK-3 was synthesized using SBA-15 as a template and sucrose as a carbon source. Then, tetrabutyl titanate (TBT) was converted into a TiO2 network by hydrolysis in HCl and a heat treatment at 400 °C. The TiO2 was transformed into Li4Ti5O12 by chemical lithiation and a short post–annealing procedure to form highly conductive mesoporous, micro-/nanosized TiO2/C composite. c, Scanning electron microscopy (left) and transmission electron microscopy (right) images of the LTO–carbon nanocomposites. d, Battery capacity under various cycling conditions. Panels adapted or reproduced from ref. 78, American Chemical Society.

  5. The 'pomegranate'-structured Si-C nanocomposites as anodes for LIBs.
    Figure 5: The 'pomegranate'-structured Si–C nanocomposites as anodes for LIBs.

    a, The synthetic strategy. Commercial silicon nanoparticles were first coated with a SiO2 layer using tetraethoxysilane. The aqueous dispersion of Si@SiO2 nanoparticles was then mixed with 1-octadecene containing 0.3 wt% emulsifier to form water-in-oil emulsions. After evaporation of water, a step-growth polymerization generated a resorcinol-formaldehyde resin layer to wrap the cluster, which was converted into a carbon layer under heat treatment. Finally, the SiO2 sacrificial layer was removed. b, The scanning electron microscopy-imaged morphology of the Si–C core–shell nanoparticles. c, Magnified scanning electron microscopy image showing the local structure of silicon nanoparticles and the conductive carbon framework with well-defined void space between. d, The reversible delithiation capacity for the first 1,000 galvanostatic cycles of the silicon pomegranate, Si clusters coated on carbon (Si cluster@C) and Si nanoparticles under the same conditions. Panels a–c reproduced from ref. 100 NPG.

Change history

Corrected online 14 December 2016
In the original version of this Review Article Feng Pan's affiliation should have read: 'School of Advanced Materials, Peking University, Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, PR China'. This has been updated in the online versions of the Review.

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Affiliations

  1. Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA

    • Jun Lu,
    • Zonghai Chen &
    • Khalil Amine
  2. Institute of Electrochemical and Energy Technology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

    • Zifeng Ma
  3. School of Advanced Materials, Peking University, Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen 518055, PR China

    • Feng Pan
  4. Material Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois 60439, USA

    • Larry A. Curtiss

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