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Oct 2nd, 2012
 
Next generation of lithium-ion batteries based on silicon coated carbon nanofibers
 
Steven Arnold Klankowski, a doctoral candidate in chemistry, La Crescent, Minn., is working under Jun Li, professor of chemistry, to develop new materials that could be used in future lithium-ion batteries.
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The materials look to improve the energy storage capacity of batteries so that laptops, cellphones, electric cars and other mobile devices will last longer between charges.

Additionally, lithium-ion batteries that can store energy and deliver power more rapidly will be a more viable alternative power source for vehicles and machines powered by alternative energy, Klankowski said. For example, solar- and wind-powered technologies could switch to the battery in the evening when there is a lack of wind or sunlight to produce energy.

For his research, Klankowski is developing and testing a high-performance nanostructure of silicon coated onto carbon nanofibers for the use as an electrode in lithium-ion batteries. The electrodes, which look like a dense brush, give the battery greater charge capabilities and storage capacity. This is anticipated to replace current commercial electrodes that are made from simple carbon-based materials.

The material being developed and improved by Klankowski helps the electrode store roughly 10 times the amount of energy as current electrodes -- giving the batteries a 10-15 percent improvement in current battery technology.

 

 
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