Research team identifies »bottleneck« of solid-state batteries

Slow ion transport limits the performance of lithium-sulfur solid-state batteries – this is the bottom line of a study conducted at German research institute Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) in cooperation with several other research institutes. Solid-state batteries, which have considerable advantages in terms of energy density and (fire) safety compared to the lithium-ion batteries currently dominating the market, still have insufficient performance. The main reason for this, according to HZB, is »slow charging and discharging« – even though solid-state batteries should theoretically enable particularly fast charging.
Using a very elaborate measurement setup, the research team was able to use neutron radiography to observe a battery cell »in operation,« that is, during the transport of lithium ions between the anode and cathode. »We now have a much better idea what is limiting the battery performance,« said HZB researcher Robert Bradbury, who was involved in the measurements. The researchers had succeeded in identifying »a previously overlooked development bottleneck for solid-state batteries.«
The observed »reaction front of lithium ions« confirms the negative influence of low ionic conductivity. Without the visualization that has now been achieved, Bradburry said, »this effect might have gone unnoticed, despite its it importance for solid-state battery development.«

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