Real time monitoring of lithium (Li) ions in rechargeable batteries is now possible thanks to a new technology developed by the Japanese giant in manufacturing of consumer electronics, Hitachi Maxell Ltd. The company also developed a Li-ion battery with 1.6 times higher energy density than their latest product.
The technology, which can quantify the distribution of the reaction of Li ions, came as a result of a research in collaboration with an equipment maker. After observing the flow of Li ions in the electrodes at the time of charge and discharge, the team developed the technology to monitor the reactions between these ions and a negative electrode.
The engineers at Hitachi Maxell discovered that a stagnant flow of Li ions into a negative electrode increases the chances of formation of Li metal dendrites and causes short circuits. 3D models were used to simulate the distribution of the reaction in a battery, which led to development of a technology that can homogenize this reaction and prevent the Li-ion flow from becoming stagnant.
Together with Hitachi Ltd, Hitachi Maxell also developed a sample making technology, which can stop the reaction of Li, nickel, manganese and cobalt oxides in positive electrodes. This allowed them to monitor the reactions in real time.
These two technologies were used by Hitachi Maxell to create a new battery structure, which resolves the stagnation of Li-ions. The battery has almost twice as high energy density and much longer battery life.