Doe Science news source
The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2018-05-31 15:05:10
  • Article ID: 695332

Solving a Magnesium Mystery in Rechargeable Battery Performance

Study reveals surprising, bad chemical reactivity in battery components previously considered compatible.

  • Credit: Berkeley Lab

    Simulations show the weakening of a bond in a liquid solvent due to the presence of free-floating hydroxide ions, which contain a single oxygen atom bound to a hydrogen atom. This process degrades battery performance. In this illustration, atoms are color-coded: hydrogen (white), oxygen (red), carbon (light blue), nitrogen (dark blue), sulfur (yellow), and fluorine (brown).

The Science

Packing more energy into smaller rechargeable batteries could extend the range of electric vehicles. Magnesium-based batteries have potential but also have chemical roadblocks. Now, a team of Molecular Foundry scientists and users has discovered a new kind of chemical reactivity. The self-stabilizing, thin oxide surface layer that forms on the magnesium electrode has defects. These defects can expose underlying magnesium ions. The ions trap molecules from the battery’s liquid electrolyte. The battery begins to fail before it’s even charged. Previously, scientists thought the next-generation electrode and electrolyte were compatible.

The Impact

The discovered reactions degrade battery performance even before the battery can be charged. The findings could be relevant to other battery materials and guide the design of next-gen batteries away from such pitfalls.

Summary

Rechargeable batteries based on magnesium, rather than lithium, have the potential to extend electric vehicle range by packing more energy into smaller batteries. But unforeseen chemical roadblocks have slowed scientific progress. The places where solid meets liquid—where the oppositely charged battery electrodes interact with the surrounding chemical mixture known as the electrolyte—are the known problem spots.

Now, a research team has discovered a surprising set of chemical reactions involving magnesium that degrade battery performance even before the battery can be charged up. The findings could be relevant to other battery materials and could steer the design of next-generation batteries toward workarounds that avoid these newly identified pitfalls.

The team used X-ray experiments, theoretical modeling, and supercomputer simulations to develop a full understanding of the chemical breakdown of a liquid electrolyte occurring within tens of nanometers of an electrode surface that degrades battery performance.

The battery they were testing featured magnesium metal as its negative electrode (the anode) in contact with an electrolyte composed of a liquid (a type of solvent known as diglyme) and a dissolved salt, Mg(TFSI)2. Molecular Foundry researchers developed detailed simulations of the point where the electrode and electrolyte meet, known as the interface, indicating that no spontaneous chemical reactions should occur under ideal conditions, either. The simulations, though, did not account for all of the chemical details.

The team employed a unique X-ray technique developed recently at the Advanced Light Source, called APXPS (ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy). This new technique is sensitive to the chemistry occurring at the interface of a solid and liquid, which makes it an ideal tool to explore battery chemistry at the surface of the electrode, where it meets the liquid electrolyte.

What they determined is that the self-stabilizing, thin oxide surface layer that forms on the magnesium has defects and impurities that drive unwanted reactions. A further round of simulations, which proposed possible defects in the oxidized magnesium surface, showed that defects in the oxidized surface layer of the anode could expose magnesium ions that then act as traps for the electrolyte’s molecules. The results could be relevant to other types of battery materials, too, including prototypes based on lithium or aluminum metal. 

Funding

This work was supported by Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, an Energy Innovation Hub, and the Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES), an Energy Frontier Research Center, both funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Portions of this work were supported by a user project at the Molecular Foundry, an Office of Science scientific user facility, and its compute cluster (Vulcan) managed by the High Performance Computing Services Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and portions of this work used the computing resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a scientific user facility at LBNL, all of which are supported by the DOE Office of Science. The researchers also used resources at the Advanced Light Source, a scientific user facility which is supported by the Director, DOE, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Q.L. would like to acknowledge the support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Publications

Y. Yu, A. Baskin, C. Valero-Vidal, N.T. Hahn, Q. Liu, K.R. Zavadil, B.W. Eichhorn, D. Prendergast, and E.J. Crumlin, “Instability at the electrode/electrolyte interface induced by hard cation chelation and nucleophilic attack.” Chemistry of Materials 29, 8504 (2017). [DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b03404]

Contact patient services
X
X
X
  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Forever Young Catalyst Reduces Diesel Emissions

Atom probe tomography reveals key explanations for stable performance over a cutting-edge diesel-exhaust catalyst's lifetime.

Sense Like a Shark: Saltwater-Submersible Films

A nickelate thin film senses electric field changes analogous to the electroreception sensing organ in sharks, which detects the bioelectric fields of prey.

Enhanced Detection of Nuclear Events, Thanks to Deep Learning

Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are exploring deep learning to interpret data related to national security, the environment, the cosmos, and breast cancer. In one project a deep neural network is interpreting data about nuclear events as well as - sometimes better than - today's best automated methods or human experts.

A Bit of Quantum Logic--What Did the Atom Say to the Quantum Dot?

Let's talk! Scientists demonstrate coherent coupling between a quantum dot and a donor atom in silicon, vital for moving information inside quantum computers.

Sodium- and Potassium-based Batteries Hold Promise for Cheap Energy Storage

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found new evidence suggesting that batteries based on sodium and potassium hold promise as a potential alternative to lithium-based batteries.

ORNL researchers use AI to improve mammogram interpretation

In an effort to reduce errors in the analyses of diagnostic images by health professionals, a team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory has improved understanding of the cognitive processes involved in image interpretation, work that has enormous potential to improve health outcomes for the hundreds of thousands of American women affected by breast cancer each year. The ORNL-led team found that analyses of mammograms by radiologists were significantly influenced by context bias, or the radiologist's previous diagnostic experiences.

Scientists Make the First Molecular Movie of One of Nature's Most Widely Used Light Sensors

Scientists have made the first molecular movie of the instant when light hits a sensor that's widely used in nature for probing the environment and harvesting energy from light. The sensor, a form of vitamin A known as retinal, is central to a number of important light-driven processes in people, animals, microbes and algae, including human vision and some forms of photosynthesis, and the movie shows it changing shape in a trillionth of an eye blink.

Scientists isolate protein data from the tiniest of caches - single human cells

Scientists have captured the most information yet about proteins within a single human cell, giving scientists one of their clearest looks yet at the molecular happenings inside a human cell. The team detected on average more than 650 proteins in each cell - many times more than conventional techniques capture from single cells.

Researchers Generate Electricity and Hydrogen from Live Bacteria

Using a family of photosynthetic bacteria that commonly live in lakes and seas, researchers at the Technion have developed a technology to generate electricity and hydrogen energy. The researchers believe their technology can serve as a promising source of clean, environment-friendly energy that will not emit pollutants during production or use (hydrogen fuel).

Carbon Nanotube Optics Poised to Provide Pathway to Optical-Based Quantum Cryptography and Quantum Computing

Researchers at Los Alamos and partners in France and Germany are exploring the enhanced potential of carbon nanotubes as single-photon emitters for quantum information processing. Their analysis of progress in the field is published in this week's edition of the journal Nature Materials.


  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Department of Energy Selects 84 Scientists to Receive Early Career Research Program Funding

The Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 84 scientists from across the nation - including 30 from DOE's national laboratories and 54 from U.S. universities - to receive significant funding for research as part of the DOE Office of Science's Early Career Research Program.

Three Argonne Scientists Receive DOE Early Career Awards

Three Argonne researchers have earned the DOE's 2018 Early Career Research Program awards.

Four SLAC Scientists Awarded Prestigious DOE Early Career Research Grants

Four scientists at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will receive Early Career Research Program awards for research that's developing new ways to study fundamental particles with machine learning and study nanoscale objects and quantum materials with powerful X-ray laser beams.

PPPL Physicists Aim to Unlock Mysteries of Fusion with Early Career Research Awards

Article describes PPPL winner of DOE Early Career Awards.

Ames Laboratory's Ke Earns DOE Early Career Research Award

Ames Laboratory scientist Liqin Ke is one of 30 scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) national laboratories to be selected for funding as part of the DOE's Early Career Research Program.

6 Berkeley Lab Researchers Receive DOE Early Career Research Awards

Six scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science to receive significant funding for research through its Early Career Research Program.

´╗┐Stony Brook's AERTC Selected for Leadership Role in Nationwide Consortium on Offshore Wind Industry

Stony Brook's Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) will play a key role in a nationwide research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority was awarded a $18.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to establish the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week. New York State, through NYSERDA, has committed an additional $20.5 million to fund the consortium supporting Gov. Cuomo's initiative Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).

Professor Emily Liu Receives $1.8 Million DoE Award for Solar Power Systems Research

Li (Emily) Liu, associate professor of nuclear engineering and engineering physics in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to receive a $1.8 million award to study high-temperature molten-salt properties and corrosion mechanisms.

Vasilis Fthenakis Receives IEEE's William R. Cherry Award

UPTON, NY; Vasilis Fthenakis, a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory and Founder and Director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, will receive the 2018 William R. Cherry Award from the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

New PPPL director Steve Cowley is honored with knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II

Steven Cowley, newly named director of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) effective July 1, has received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth "for services to science and the development of nuclear fusion."


  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

As Future Batteries, Hybrid Supercapacitors Are Super-Charged

A new supercapacitor could be a competitive alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

Forever Young Catalyst Reduces Diesel Emissions

Atom probe tomography reveals key explanations for stable performance over a cutting-edge diesel-exhaust catalyst's lifetime.

Sense Like a Shark: Saltwater-Submersible Films

A nickelate thin film senses electric field changes analogous to the electroreception sensing organ in sharks, which detects the bioelectric fields of prey.

A Bit of Quantum Logic--What Did the Atom Say to the Quantum Dot?

Let's talk! Scientists demonstrate coherent coupling between a quantum dot and a donor atom in silicon, vital for moving information inside quantum computers.

New Tech Uses Isomeric Beams to Study How and Where the Galaxy Makes One of Its Most Common Elements

A new measurement using a beam of aluminum-26 prepared in a metastable state allows researchers to better understand the creation of the elements in our galaxy.

Simulations of Magnetically Confined Plasmas Reveal a Self-Regulating Stabilizing Mechanism

A mysterious mechanism that prevents instabilities may be similar to the process that maintains the Earth's magnetic field.

Seeing All the Colors of the Plasma Wind

2-D velocity imaging helps fusion researchers understand the role of ion winds (aka flows) in the boundary of tokamak plasmas.

Renewable Solvents Derived From Lignin Lowers Waste in Biofuel Production

New class of solvents breaks down plant biomass into sugars for biofuels and bioproducts in a closed-loop biorefinery concept.

Scientists Studying Nuclear Spin Make a Surprising Discovery

The size of a nucleus appears to influence the direction of certain particles emitted from collisions with spinning protons.

Simulating Turbulent Bubbly Flows in Nuclear Reactors

With a better understanding of bubbly flows, researchers can improve the safety and operation of our nuclear reactors.


Spotlight

Monday June 18, 2018, 09:55 AM

Creating STEM Knowledge and Innovations to Solve Global Issues Like Water, Food, and Energy

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Friday June 15, 2018, 10:00 AM

Professor Emily Liu Receives $1.8 Million DoE Award for Solar Power Systems Research

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thursday June 07, 2018, 03:05 PM

Celebrating 40 years of empowerment in science

Argonne National Laboratory

Monday May 07, 2018, 10:30 AM

Introducing Graduate Students Across the Globe to Photon Science

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday May 02, 2018, 04:05 PM

Students from Massachusetts and Washington Win DOE's 28th National Science Bowl(r)

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Thursday April 12, 2018, 07:05 PM

The Race for Young Scientific Minds

Argonne National Laboratory

Wednesday March 14, 2018, 02:05 PM

Q&A: Al Ashley Reflects on His Efforts to Diversify SLAC and Beyond

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday February 15, 2018, 12:05 PM

Insights on Innovation in Energy, Humanitarian Aid Highlight UVA Darden's Net Impact Week

University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Friday February 09, 2018, 11:05 AM

Ivy League Graduate, Writer and Activist with Dyslexia Visits CSUCI to Reframe the Concept of Learning Disabilities

California State University, Channel Islands

Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

Photographer Adam Nadel Selected as Fermilab's New Artist-in-Residence for 2018

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

Fermilab Computing Partners with Argonne, Local Schools for Hour of Code

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

Wednesday December 20, 2017, 01:05 PM

Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Monday December 18, 2017, 01:05 PM

The Future of Today's Electric Power Systems

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Monday December 18, 2017, 12:05 PM

Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

Stairway to Science

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

After-School Energy Rush

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 10:05 AM

Bringing Diversity Into Computational Science Through Student Outreach

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Thursday September 21, 2017, 03:05 PM

From Science to Finance: SLAC Summer Interns Forge New Paths in STEM

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday September 07, 2017, 02:05 PM

Students Discuss 'Cosmic Opportunities' at 45th Annual SLAC Summer Institute

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday August 31, 2017, 05:05 PM

Binghamton University Opens $70 Million Smart Energy Building

Binghamton University, State University of New York

Wednesday August 23, 2017, 05:05 PM

Widening Horizons for High Schoolers with Code

Argonne National Laboratory

Saturday May 20, 2017, 12:05 PM

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Monday May 15, 2017, 01:05 PM

ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

Argonne National Laboratory

Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

Friday January 27, 2017, 04:00 PM

Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tuesday November 08, 2016, 12:05 PM

Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday May 13, 2016, 04:05 PM

More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Monday April 25, 2016, 05:05 PM

Giving Back to National Science Bowl

Ames Laboratory

Friday March 25, 2016, 12:05 PM

NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Tuesday February 02, 2016, 10:05 AM

Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Monday November 16, 2015, 04:05 PM

Rare Earths for Life: An 85th Birthday Visit with Mr. Rare Earth

Ames Laboratory

Tuesday October 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

University of Utah

Wednesday March 06, 2013, 03:40 PM

Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday November 16, 2012, 10:00 AM

Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

Texas Tech University

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 10:45 AM

Don't Get 'Frosted' Over Heating Your Home This Winter

Temple University

Wednesday July 06, 2011, 06:00 PM

New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday April 22, 2011, 09:00 AM

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

Wake Forest University

Friday April 15, 2011, 12:25 PM

Like Superman, American University Will Get Its Energy from the Sun

American University

Thursday February 10, 2011, 05:00 PM

ARRA Grant to Help Fund Seminary Building Green Roof

University of Chicago

Tuesday December 07, 2010, 05:00 PM

UC San Diego Installing 2.8 Megawatt Fuel Cell to Anchor Energy Innovation Park

University of California San Diego

Monday November 01, 2010, 12:50 PM

Rensselaer Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Announces First Deployment of New Technology on Campus

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday September 10, 2010, 12:40 PM

Ithaca College Will Host Regional Clean Energy Summit

Ithaca College

Tuesday July 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

Texas Governor Announces $8.4 Million Award to Create Renewable Energy Institute

Texas Tech University





Showing results

0-4 Of 2215