October 21, 2010 00:42 by Jeremy
In latest news, scientists have dug deeper into the mystery of why lithium-ion batteries degrade over time. The answer, they currently believe, lies in nanoscale changes in the anode and cathode. Giorgio Rizzoni, along with colleagues at the Ohio State University, experimented with batteries that had finished their working lifespan. "We can clearly see that an aged sample versus and unaged sample has much lower lithium concentration in the cathode." In essence, the lithium had actually combined wtih the anode material, making it unavailable for transfer.
With the use of infrared thermal imaging, researchers were able to discover that the electrodes on dead batteries had nanomaterials that had coarsened in size. It is these finely-structured nanomaterials on the electrodes that allow the battery to charge and discharge. Though not yet proven, researchers are suspect that it is this cathode-coarsening that may be responsible for the loss of lithium.
If that theory turns out to be true, it could be a scientific breakthrough, as researchers and scientists could then use that information to create longer-lasting durable lithium ion batteries. This affects not only our electronic devices with laptops, digital cameras, and cell phones, but could also affect the future of gasoline-powered vehicles.