The department focuses mainly on the development of lithium- and sodium solid state batteries as novel, improved types of batteries for stationary and mobile applications. Our research covers the full chain of the battery development, starting from the fundamentals of materials chemistry towards the battery components and complete cells.
In combining knowledge and know-how on materials and components development, which includes synthesis, thin film technologies and ceramic processing, we aim for bringing forward solid state batteries with high energy and power density.
Advantages of solid state batteries
In solid state batteries, the liquid electrolyte that is usually used in conventional batteries is replaced by an ion conducting solid. Since the electrodes and other components of a battery are usually also solid, these batteries are called "solid state batteries".
Solid state batteries offer many advantages: They cannot leak, are generally less toxic, and in case of failure, the components generally cannot burn or explode. Most importantly, solid electrolytes allow the use of electrode materials with voltages in excess of 5 volts because of their wider electrochemical window as well as the use of lithium metal as anode because of their chemical compatibility with lithium. All of these advantages mean an increase in energy density while maintaining the inherent safety of the battery.
Materials science expertise and worldwide collaborations
Our efforts in materials science focus on metallic anode and ceramic electrolyte and cathode materials, in particular oxide ceramics with electronic or ionic conductivity. Research and development of ceramic battery components at IEK-1 benefits from a long-standing expertise in ceramic processing and thin film technologies (see epertise).
Additionally, numerous imaging and physical techniques are available for the characterization of materials and components. The knowledge chain is completed by collaborating with other institutes in order to implement electrochemical methods for measuring cells, modules, and hybrid systems under laboratory and application-relevant conditions as well as in real operation (see projects).