Berkeley Lab Discovers Fastest Magnesium-Ion Solid-State Conductor

Researchers of the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) Berkeley, made steps towards the development of a solid-state magnesium-ion battery, which is expected to be energy dense and safe.

In contrast to normal lithium batteries, which are highly flammable due to their liquid electrolyte carrying charge back and forth between the battery’s cathode and anode, the discovered magnesium-ion solid-state conductor can reduce these safety issues by showing the potential of becoming an electrolyte. Since most electrolytes tend to be corrosive against other parts of batteries, it was the researchers’ goal to create a solid-state electrolyte by using magnesium scandium selenide. This material shows increased magnesium mobility and is therefore comparable to solid-state electrolytes for lithium batteries.

“With the help of a concerted effort bringing together computational materials science methodologies, synthesis, and a variety of characterization techniques, we have identified a new class of solid conductors that can transport magnesium ions at unprecedented speed,” said Pieremanuele Canepa, lead author.

By collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who provided computational resources, and Argonne, who supplied the key experimental confirmation of the magnesium scandium selenide spinel, the team was able to prove that magnesium ions can move through material as rapidly as presumed in their theoretical studies. By using a conducted nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), the researchers were able to demonstrate – differently than expected – that solid-state materials can have good magnesium mobility.

With their study they were also able to identify two fundamental phenomena: the role of anti-site defects and the interplay of electronics and magnesium conductivity, published in “Chemistry of Materials”. These developments are expected to significantly affect the further development of magnesium solid electrolytes.

The team plans further work in order to finally use the conductor in a battery. “This work brought together a great team of scientists from various scientific disciplines, and took the first stab at the formidable challenge of building a solid-state magnesium battery. Although currently in its infancy, this emerging technology may have a transformative impact on energy storage in the near future,” said Shou-Hang Bo, postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley Lab.

Source: Berkeley LAB

 

Image Source: © Berkeley LAB | lbl.gov

 

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