Rechargeable Batteries: From in depth studies to challenges for new developments

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Rechargeable Batteries: From in depth studies to challenges for new developments

Among the methods used around the world to store electricity, electrochemical storage systems, like batteries, can convert chemical energy into electrical energy. The amount of electrical energy that batteries are able to deliver depends on the cell potential and capacity, both of which are directly linked to the chemistry of the system (electrode materials and electrolyte). Lithium-ion batteries play a crucial role because of their high energy density. They have conquered most of today's portable electronics market and have great potential for the future, from powering electric vehicles to grid energy storage. Development of advanced technologies is an important challenge, in particular for materials chemistry and interfaces.

IPREM researchers are working to improve our understanding of chemical and electrochemical surface phenomena that are essential to ionic and electronic transfers during cycling. Coupling XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) with electrochemistry, often supplemented by theoretical approaches, has proved highly effective for exploring exploring redox processes, interfacial mechanisms and surface reactivity as functions of lithium insertion/extraction.

Recently, IPREM researchers, working within the framework of the French RS2E network on electrochemical energy storage and the Alistore ERI (European research institute), have contributed to our knowledge of the mechanisms and performance of new electrode positive materials like Li-rich layered metal oxides. These studies revealed, in relation with their very high capacity and in addition to classic cationic activity, a redox anionic activity (Nat. Mat. 2013), a delicate balance between these cumulative processes (J. Phys. Chem. C 2016). This is associated with cationic migrations and voltage decay especially evidenced for small-sized elements like titanium (Nat. Mat. 2015).

All these results open the door to future research and development, including sustainable technologies beyond Li-ion batteries.