Available Technology

BSA 12-07: CUBICON Materials that Outperform Lithium-Ion Batteries

The demand for batteries to meet high-power and high-energy system applications has resulted in substantial research and development activities. Lithium-ion batteries are a chief contender today, but they still suffer from limitations in energy and power density because of their existing cathode designs. These newly invented cubic ionic conductor (CUBICON) battery materials improve safety and performance when used as electrodes or in cases requiring high ionic conductivity�"all while reducing cost.
Patent Abstract: 
The CUBICON materials have a framework provided by a cation M in octahedral configuration coupled with 3 cations T in tetrahedral configuration, and 10 anions X. The framework carries a charge of -n. The general material formula is AxMT3X10, where the x A species provide a charge of +n. The A species are relatively mobile in the framework, providing good ionic conductivity. The synthesis method is based on solid-state chemistry and generally involves (1) mixing stoichiometric amounts of metal oxide, a metaphosphate, and urea, (2) heating the mixture under flowing ammonia gas, and (3) heating the mixture to a higher temperature under flowing ammonia. The high yield and purity attained by this method translate well to industrial scale production.
CUBICON materials exhibit good capacity for accepting foreign ions into the framework as well as high ionic conductivity. They are also less expensive than most lithium compounds used in batteries. By incorporating sodium, a more abundant element than lithium, the CUBICON materials reduce cost. Their reversible capacity yields high performance, while lithium dendrites, which can cause shorting leading to overheating or catastrophic failure of batteries, are inhibited by the lower amount of lithium required.
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