Safer Solid Electrolytes for Better Lithium-ion Batteries

We’ve all seen the scary photographs of laptops and even cars that have burst into flames due to failures in lithium-ion batteries. On a larger (and more costly) scale, battery fires grounded Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner jets for several months in 2013 while the company implemented new features to reduce the risk of overheating and combustion. To blame in many of these spontaneous fires is the formation of branching crystalline masses called dendrites that form when lithium batteries undergo repeated charge-discharge cycles. [Read More]

Looking Inside of Supercapacitors with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

The molecular organization and functioning of supercapacitors have for the first time been explored by researchers from France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the Université d’Orléans. The French scientists devised a technique which provides a new tool for optimizing and improving tomorrow’s supercapacitors. Despite the daunting their name, supercapacitors are not science fiction, but part of everyday life. For instance, these electricity storage devices installed on buses are charged up during braking and provide electricity to open the doors to let you off at your stop. [Read More]

Asymmetric Scattering in Superconductor Dopants

Recently scientists have uncovered materials that can be converted from magnetic insulators or metals into Superconductors, capable of carrying electrical current with no energy loss. It is an extremely promising concept for zero-resistance electronics, energy-storage and transmission systems. Currently, in addition to keeping the materials very cold, a major step to achieving superconductivity is to substitute a different kind of atom into some positions of the “parent” material’s crystal framework. [Read More]