As he prepares to enter PNNL's Energy Sciences Center later this year, Vijayakumar 'Vijay' Murugesan is among DOE leaders exploring solutions to design and build transformative materials for batteries of the future.
Researchers at PNNL have come up with a novel way to use silicon as an energy storage ingredient, replacing the graphite in electrodes. Silicon can hold 10 times the electrical charge per gram, but it comes with problems of its own.
Scientists have uncovered a root cause of the growth of needle-like structures—known as dendrites and whiskers—that plague lithium batteries, sometimes causing a short circuit, failure, or even a fire.
PNNL researchers demonstrate how the excitation of oxygen atoms that contributes to better performance of a lithium-ion battery also triggers a process that leads to damage, explaining a phenomenon that has been a mystery to scientists.