Advanced Li-ion batteries

Synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials for advanced Li-ion batteries. The next generation of Li-ion batteries requires the development of new functional materials to achieve better performances. In particular, rechargeable batteries providing improved storage capacities (i.e. gravimetric and volumetric energy densities), higher voltages and longer cycle lives are desirable for several applications. Beside the well-known use in portable electronics, the application of Li-ion batteries to high-power systems (i.e. electric or hybrid-electric vehicles) is nowadays attracting considerable attention. In this context, the role of nano-structures and nano-particulates is crucial, since decreasing the size of the host materials can significantly improve the cell performances. For example, some important consequences of the reduction in size are: an increased ratio surface per weight (or per volume) allows a more efficient charge transfer process; reduced diffusion (migration) lengths of the charge carriers result in enhanced power delivery; a “novel” red-ox chemistry is responsible for relevant shift in thermodynamic properties; a reduced volume of the host particles favours both effective acceptance of local strain and more stable mechanical behaviour; the presence of an extended interface opens also the possibility for electron and ion storage in neighbouring nano-phases.
Furthermore, in the near future, advanced Li-ion batteries should fulfil higher safety standards together with acceptable costs and suitable lifetimes. In this respect, nanostructures and nano-architectures are potential challenges to meet these requirements.

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