Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are rechargeable batteries widely used in various devices, from smartphones and laptops to electric cars. However, the current energy densities of LIBs limit the driving range of electric vehicles, as they need frequent recharging.
One of the challenges with LIBs is the formation of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI), a layer that forms on the anode inside battery cells. The SEI formation consumes a significant amount of lithium ions, reducing the battery’s energy density and initial Coulombic efficiency.
To address this issue and increase the energy density of LIBs, researchers at Tsinghua University have developed a promising prelithiation strategy. They introduced a method called transfer printing, which involves printing patterns onto an intermediate medium and then applying them onto the final battery substrate.
The team’s prelithiation strategy involves roll-to-roll electrodeposition and transfer printing, allowing for continuous prelithiation of LIB anodes. Through simulations and electrochemical tests, they demonstrated that this approach greatly improved the initial Coulombic efficiencies of graphite-based and silicon/carbon-based electrodes, nearly reaching 100%.
Furthermore, the researchers found that the prelithiation strategy enhanced the stability of SEI films on anodes. When combined with commonly used cathodes such as NMC and LFP, the prelithiated electrodes significantly increased the energy density of LIBs.
The transfer printing approach developed by Yang, Ma, and their colleagues offers high-performance, controllable, scalable, and industry-adaptable prelithiation for LIBs. Their findings hold promise for enabling large-scale and reliable prelithiation of battery electrodes. This research could inspire other teams to devise similar strategies to enhance the energy density of LIBs, ultimately facilitating the wider adoption of electric vehicles.