Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Novel, enviromental friendly, high energy density materials for use in Li-ion batteries

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.04.01  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology  Inorganic nonmetallic materials 

Code Science Field
P401  Natural sciences and mathematics  Electrochemistry 
P410  Natural sciences and mathematics  Theoretical chemistry, quantum chemistry 
P260  Natural sciences and mathematics  Condensed matter: electronic structure, electrical, magnetic and optical properties, supraconductors, magnetic resonance, relaxation, spectroscopy 
P351  Natural sciences and mathematics  Structure chemistry 
T150  Technological sciences  Material technology 
T153  Technological sciences  Ceramic materials and powders 
Li-ion batteries, X-ray diffraction, Mössbauer spectroscopy, solid-state NMR, DFT calculations
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (3)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  19277  PhD Robert Dominko  Materials science and technology  Head  2007 - 2010  746 
2.  05958  PhD Darko Hanžel  Physics  Researcher  2007 - 2010  177 
3.  18146  PhD Gregor Mali  Physics  Researcher  2007 - 2010  381 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,278 
2.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,987 
Today’s generation of Li-ion battery use LiCoO2 as active cathode material. Besides being toxic, lithium cobalt oxide suffers also due to high price of cobalt and its low worldwide quantity. The proper choice of transition metals are Mn and Fe based compounds. One of potential cathode material that has been recently discovered by our and Swedish group Li2(Mn/Fe)SiO4 satisfy the demands for new generation of large scale Li-ion batteries. It is cheap and made from constituents that are abundant and even more – exploring the oxidation state Mn(II) to Mn(IV) one can expect specific capacity to be around 300mAh/g. That is twice as that presently obtained from LiCoO2. However there are two disadvantages which limit applicability of Li2(Mn/Fe)SiO4 based cathode material. The one is its low electronic conductivity which can be solved with a proper electrochemical wiring. The second obstacle is electrochemical stability of Li2MnSiO4 and ability of Li2FeSiO4 to deliver only one lithium per crystal unit in the stability electrolyte potential range. Therefore it is worth to expect that mixing of Mn and Fe will result a Li2(Mn/Fe)SiO4 based cathode material that will improve stability and enable >1 reversible electron reaction per transition metal (exploring reversibility of Mn(II) to Mn(IV)). The project will therefore focus on: (a) fundamental research to develop Fe/Mn silicate-based nano-cathode materials for Li-ion batteries for cheap large-scale applications based on practical experiments and theoretical calculations and (b) different characterisation techniques (solid-state NMR, in-situ XRD, electrochemical tests, Mössbauer spectroscopy, etc.) will be used for evaluation of properties of proposed material.
Significance for science
This is a target oriented basic research project. It combines the basic knowledge from the conventional field of materials science, the ab initio theoretical approach (DFT) and combination of different „in-situ” characterisation techniques with one goal: to prepare and characterise novel, environmental friendly and high energy density electrode materials for lithium ion batteries. Such an interdisciplinary approach where we are simultaneously using different characterisation techniques is very rare in the battery research – due to extreme complexity of the system (this is multi-component system with several different phases and different thermodynamic and kinetics problems). The use of combinations of „in-situ” characterisation techniques supported with computer simulations is very rare in our community. However, their complexity enables us obtaining of new knowledge about materials and very good insight into physical and chemical properties of selected materials in the real systems. Results obtained with the combination of different „in-situ” characterisation techniques (in-situ combination of XRD and electrochemistry, in-situ combination of XRD and synthesis, in-situ combination of Mössbauer spectroscopy and electrochemistry, in-situ combination of XAS and electrochemistry) give complete picture about the properties of investigated cathode materials and these results are very well accepted in the international community. Such a combined approach in the materials investigation is already in use with other type of materials and it will be in our opinion very useful setup in the future, since the need for energy storage is more and more important. Within the project we established new approach of the materials characterisation with solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which is unique in the field of the research of polymorphs, since it enables much easier structural characterisation. Preliminary tests with the use of computer simulations show that approach is correct and it can be used also with other polymorphs that contain paramagnetic centres.
Significance for the country
Energy storage from the renewable sources is a worldwide problem and from this aspect the project is of the primary interest in the world. Work on this project is promoting our project group and research group to the top world class groups, what is at the same time also a promotion for Slovenia as a country on the research field and within the group of potential industrial partners interested into this kind of research. Work on the project has attracted several different world respected researchers who are helping us with specialized knowledge and instrumental methods not available in Slovenia (like Neutron diffraction). Collaboration with foreign institutions is reflected also in shared PhD student between University of Ljubljana and Universite de Picardie Jules Verne v Amiens (financed by French side) who works on the topic of the project. Project leader is at the same time also thesis advisor on the Slovenian side of this collaboration and a coordinator of the one part of the research (dealing with cathode materials) in the virtual network for Li-ion batteries (ALISTORE-ERI) what again confirms his competences and experience in the filed of advanced materials for Li-ion batteries. All strong international relations enable even more qualitative research approach and at the same time make our position much stronger on the worldwide level. At the same time we can say that, although that knowledge is not directly applicable within the Slovenian industry, it can be successfully used in solving of some problems that occurs at our industrial partners.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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