Skip to content Skip to navigation

Scientists discover how oxygen loss saps a lithium-ion battery’s voltage

Oxygen molecules seep out of the billions of nanoparticles.
Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
Jun 14 2021
Faculty, Fellow, Research, Stanford

When lithium ions flow in and out of a battery electrode during charging and discharging, a tiny bit of oxygen seeps out and the battery’s voltage – a measure of how much energy it delivers – fades an equally tiny bit. The losses mount over time, and can eventually sap the battery’s energy storage capacity by 10-15%.

Now researchers have measured this super-slow process with unprecedented detail, showing how the holes, or vacancies, left by escaping oxygen atoms change the electrode’s structure and chemistry and gradually reduce how much energy it can store.

The results contradict some of the assumptions scientists had made about this process and could suggest new ways of engineering electrodes to prevent it.

Study lead, Peter Csernica is a 2016 SGF Fellow.

Read the full article