The world’s first lithium-ion battery with a thin film of nickel oxide could be built using materials made from the cobalt-based metal.
“This is something we’re not simply building a new battery,” said Alex Gorman, director of the Advanced Manufacturing and Process Engineering Laboratory at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, where the research team developed the process for the battery.
“We’re building a hybrid battery that uses both nickel and cobalt.”
The battery is made of nickel-cobalt alloy.
The cobalt in the nickel oxide has an ionic composition, meaning it’s electrically charged when the nickel is added.
The nickel oxide in the battery will then be cooled to form nickel-based electrodes.
“It’s a very cool and unique material,” said Peter Gorman.
“Cobalt is used in many of the materials we use in electronics, and this is very special.”
The nickel-iron alloy in the device is made from cobalt oxide.
“The material is extremely good for its density and for its performance,” said Gorman and his colleagues.
“When it comes to charging, we’re using it to make two electrodes.
That’s pretty standard.”
It’s also a great conductor of electricity.
“Our battery has a capacity factor of about 50 per cent,” said Robert Dziedzic, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
“That’s higher than most lithium-based batteries.”
The device has the advantage of being a low-cost solution to a problem that has long been a problem with the battery industry.
The first battery that was designed from a material made from nickel was a device that used nickel to make a cathode and an anode, the two electrodes that make up a battery.
The cathode is the metal that holds the battery in place and the anode is where the current flows.
That made the battery extremely bulky, so the team used a thin layer of nickel that was embedded in the metal.
The team also used a material that’s also used in computer chips.
They called the material “electron cloud,” and it’s made of carbon and graphite.
That thin layer was able to absorb all of the electrons and carry them around inside the device.
“There’s a lot of interesting material that we’ve been interested in for a long time, and we’re excited to finally be able to make it,” said Dziesic.
“You can make a nickel-type battery in two or three weeks.”
The team used two materials that have already been developed: cobalt and graphitic.
They’ve already been able to create a metal electrode that’s more conductive than nickel oxide, but that is about as conductive as you can get.
The new battery is a result of combining those two materials.
“Electron cloud is really a very interesting material,” Dziansic said.
“With electron cloud we’ve actually created a battery that is both a very high conductivity material as well as a very low conductivity metal electrode.”
Dziasic said the team is currently looking at how to add more nickel to the material, and they’re hopeful that it could be ready for commercial use in as little as a few years.
The researchers are also looking into how to use the materials to build more powerful batteries.
“One of the challenges of developing a battery is to make something that’s as good as it could get but that also has a lot more energy density,” said Raghu Kumar, a research associate at Argonna who was not involved in the work.
“So we’ve used the electron cloud to build something that has much more energy.
That was really exciting.”
The researchers said that their prototype was ready for the commercial market within a year.
“In terms of commercial applications, it has a pretty good range of energy density, which is not as good for the environment,” said Kumar.
“But in terms of safety, it’s a really good material for this sort of high-power application.”
They said that they hope to have their device ready for mass production in about a year, with the batteries used in smartphones, cars and other devices.
The research team is also working on ways to incorporate the technology into a new type of battery that could be used in space exploration and other applications.
“If it can be scaled up and applied to space, that would be really cool,” said Singh.
“I think the future is going to be really exciting because we’re able to build the batteries on asteroids and then use them in space and get a whole lot more power out of them.”
A paper describing the research was published in the journal Nature Materials.