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Tucson, AZ, United States

Patent
Sion Power and Basf | Date: 2015-06-18

Electrode structures and methods for making the same are generally described. In certain embodiments, the electrode structures can include a plurality of particles, wherein the particles comprise indentations relative to their convex hulls. As the particles are moved proximate to or in contact with one another, the indentations of the particles can define pores between the particles. In addition, when particles comprising indentations relative to their convex hulls are moved relative to each other, the presence of the indentations can ensure that complete contact does not result between the particles (i.e., that there remains some space between the particles) and that void volume is maintained within the bulk of the assembly. Accordingly, electrodes comprising particles with indentations relative to their convex hulls can be configured to withstand the application of a force to the electrode while substantially maintaining electrode void volume (and, therefore, performance). Particles having indentations relative to their convex hulls also occupy a relatively small volume, compared to spheres or other particles including boundaries that fill substantially all of their convex hulls, allowing one to introduce a desired amount of void volume while reducing the percentage of volume within the electrode occupied by particulate material.


Electrode protection in electrochemical cells, and more specifically, electrode protection in both aqueous and non-aqueous electrochemical cells, including rechargeable lithium batteries, are presented. In one embodiment, an electrochemical cell includes an anode comprising lithium and a multi-layered structure positioned between the anode and an electrolyte of the cell. A multi-layered structure can include at least a first single-ion conductive material layer (e.g., a lithiated metal layer), and at least a first polymeric layer positioned between the anode and the single-ion conductive material. The invention also can provide an electrode stabilization layer positioned within the electrode to control depletion and re-plating of electrode material upon charge and discharge of a battery. Advantageously, electrochemical cells described herein are not only compatible with environments that are typically unsuitable for lithium, but the cells may be also capable of displaying long cycle life, high lithium cycling efficiency, and high energy density.


Electrode structures and electrochemical cells, including lithium-sulfur electrochemical cells, are provided. The electrode structures and/or electrochemical cells described herein may include one or more protective layers comprising a polymer layer and/or a gel polymer electrolyte layer. Methods for making electrode structures including such components are also provided.


Articles, systems, and methods related to the configuration of electrically non-conductive materials and related components in electrochemical cells are generally described. Some inventive electrochemical cell configurations include an electrically non-conductive material (e.g., as part of the electrolyte) that is configured to wrap around the edge of an electrode to prevent short circuiting of the electrochemical cell. In some embodiments, the electrically non-conductive material layer can be arranged such that it includes first and second portions (one on either side of an electrode) as well as a third portion adjacent the edge of the electrode that directly connects (and, in some cases, is substantially continuous with) the first and second portions. The electrically non-conductive material layer can be relatively thin while maintaining relatively high electrical insulation between the anode and the cathode, allowing one to produce an electrochemical cell with a relatively low mass and/or volume. The arrangements described above can be formed, for example, by forming a multi-layer structure comprising an electrode and an electrically non-conductive material layer (e.g., as a coating), and folding the multi-layer structure such that the electrically non-conductive material covers the convex surface portion of the resulting crease.


Protective layers in lithium-ion electrochemical cells, and associated electrodes and methods, are generally described. The protective layers may comprise lithium-ion-conductive inorganic ceramic materials, such as lithium oxide, lithium nitride, and/or lithium oxysulfide. The resulting lithium-ion electrochemical cells may exhibit enhanced performance, including reduced capacity fade rates and reduced self-discharge rates.

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