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High-performance battery electrodes via magnetic templating


In lithium-ion batteries, the critical need for high-energy-density, low-cost storage for applications ranging from wearable computing to megawatt-scale stationary storage has created an unmet need for facile methods to produce high-density, low-tortuosity, kinetically accessible storage electrodes. Here we show that magnetic control of sacrificial features enables the creation of directional pore arrays in lithium-ion electrodes. The directional pores result in faster charge transport kinetics and enable electrodes with more than threefold higher area capacity (for example, >12 mAh cm−2 versus <4 mAh cm−2 in conventional electrodes) at practical charge–discharge rates. We demonstrate these capabilities in laboratory cells under various test conditions, including an electric vehicle model drive cycle.

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Figure 1: Electrode fabrication using magnetic alignment of a sacrificial phase.
Figure 2: Structured electrodes made by magnetic templating.
Figure 3: Electrochemical characterization of electrodes fabricated by magnetic alignment of sacrificial microrods.
Figure 4: Electrochemical characterization of electrodes fabricated by chaining of magnetic emulsion droplets.
Figure 5: Dynamic discharge of LiCoO2 cathodes.


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This work was supported by the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Vehicle Technologies of the US Department of Energy under Contract no. DE-AC02-05CH11231, Subcontract no. 7056592 under the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) Program. J.S.S. thanks the Swiss National Science Foundation for financial Support (Grant Numbers P300P2_154584 and P2EZP2_148768).

Author information




J.S.S., R.M.E. and Y.-M.C. conceived the research, designed the experiments, and wrote the manuscript. J.S.S., L.L. and A.G. carried out the experiments and analysed the data.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Y.-M. Chiang.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–5 (PDF 1003 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

Out-of-plane alignment of magnetic emulsion droplets in water. The movie shows chaining and alignment of magnetic emulsion droplets in a dc magnetic field. (MP4 2905 kb)

Supplementary Video 2

Out-of-plane alignment of magnetic emulsion droplets in water. The movie shows chaining and alignment of magnetic emulsion droplets in a dc magnetic field. (MP4 2520 kb)

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Sander, J., Erb, R., Li, L. et al. High-performance battery electrodes via magnetic templating. Nat Energy 1, 16099 (2016).

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