15 December 2020

New solid state electrolyte discovered

Post Doctoral Research Associate Marco Amores has penned a new paper published in Nature Communications.

Marco Amores

The paper 'Li1.5La1.5MO6 (M = W6+, Te6+) as a new series of lithium-rich double perovskites for all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries' focusses on safer solid state batteries and Marco's discovery of a new solid state electrolyte.

The paper is also co-authored by Loughborough University and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, Marco explains further: 

Why is this paper important? 

Li-ion batteries are ubiquitous in society’s everyday life and are pivotal in the development of renewable energies and the realisation of a competitive EV market. Solid-state batteries represent a new generation of batteries in which a solid-electrolyte component replaces the current liquid electrolyte, improving the safety and the amount of energy that the battery can store. There are great challenges, however, when introducing a solid-state electrolyte, including large interfacial resistances and chemical incompatibility with the electrode materials that are precluding their commercialisation. In this research article, we report the development of a new family of perovskite materials with a high concentration of lithium ions in their crystal structure which provides fast lithium diffusion, enabling their functionality as novel materials for all-solid-state batteries with improved compatibility across the solid electrolyte-electrode interface.

How did you do this?

At Prof Serena Corr and Dr Eddie Cussen’s groups, we specialise in the design and advanced characterisation of battery materials. In this work, we have employed solid-state chemistry together with the chameleonic perovskite structure to tweak its chemical composition and crystal structure. Specifically, we have designed a lithium-rich composition that allows lithium ions to be present in different crystallographic positions which then enables their fast diffusion across the perovskite framework. Additionally, by careful selection of the other elements in the perovskite structure, we have been able to produce both a solid-state electrolyte and an electrode material with excellent compatibility between both materials due to their shared crystal structure. The use of advanced characterisation techniques, including muon spin relaxation spectroscopy and neutron scattering with our collaborators at ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, together with computational insights from colleagues at Loughborough University has allowed us to understand the phenomena underpinning the performance of these novel battery materials.

What is the potential impact of the study? 

The excellent compatibility between both of our lithium-rich double perovskites and also with Li metal provides a new avenue to tackle detrimental interfacial incompatibility observed in current solid-state battery technology. Our work also opens up the possibility to expand this approach to other families of materials, contributing towards the ultimate goal to speed up the realisation of solid-state batteries for a safer and increased energy storage technology.

Tell us more about yourself 

I'm a materials chemist with a passion for the study of the phenomena underpinning the structure-properties relationship in functional materials. Particularly, during my PhD I’ve been interested in the use of synchrotron-based and in-house electrochemical techniques to understand how the crystal structure and local diffusion properties are related to the macroscopic properties in Li-rich complex oxides that I’ve been synthesising for all-solid-state Li batteries. This in-depth understanding of these materials properties has allowed me to tailor and design improved versions with enhanced properties. I’ve also recently started researching in other battery chemistries such as Na, where I’ve been exploring the conduction properties of a novel Na solid-electrolyte, and I’ve also been collaborating in the electrochemical characterisation of new liquid electrolytes for Mg batteries.

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