Skip to Content
Find More Like This
Return to Search

Intermetallic Electrodes Improve Safety and Performance in Lithium-ion Batteries

Argonne National Laboratory

Contact ANL About This Technology

<span style="font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Cambria; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;"><em><font color="#000000">Cycling stability of LaSn3 and In-substituted LaSn3.</font></em></span>
Cycling stability of LaSn3 and In-substituted LaSn3.

Technology Marketing Summary

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have become the battery of choice for everything from cell phones to electric cars, but there is still much room for improvement. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory are leading efforts to revolutionize battery technology with the design and development of new battery materials for electrolytes, electrodes, and interfaces that will increase the specific energy of advanced batteries, while simultaneously providing enhanced stability at a lower cost. To help improve the stability and safety of lithium-ion batteries, Argonne researchers have developed a new class of intermetallic materials  that can be used for the battery’s negative electrode.



Conventional lithium-ion battery configurations often contain graphite electrodes, which operate at a potential very close to that of metallic lithium and are extremely reactive. This composition can cause lithium-ion batteries to overheat, particularly if the battery is in a charged state or if it is overcharged without protective electronic circuitry. Argonne scientists have developed a new intermetallic structure type that can be effectively used as a negative electrode (anode) for non-aqueous lithium electrochemical cells and batteries.

The composition of these new electrodes contains the basic structural unit of a MM'3 intermetallic compound with a LaSn3-type structure, in which the M and M' atoms are comprised of one or more metals. The Argonne innovation reveals a new class of negative electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries that operate either by lithium insertion or by metal displacement reactions or a combination of both.

In addition to improving on the safety of current graphite electrodes, these new intermetallic electrodes offer greater structural stability to lithium insertion and extraction reactions. The Argonne-developed electrodes also provide a superior charge capacity.  The LaSn3-type structure resulted in specific and gravimetric capacities of 650 mAh/g and 4920 mAh/mL, respectively (based on a density of 7.57 g/mL). This compares to graphite’s specific capacity of 372 mAh/g and gravimetric capacity of 818 mAh/mL (based on a density of 2.2 g/mL).

  • Significant improvement in energy density
  • Improves safety
  • Increases reliability
  • Greater structural stability
  • Superior charge capacity
Applications and Industries
  • Transportation applications, such as electric and hybrid-electric vehicles
  • Portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers
  • Medical devices
  • Space, aeronautical, and defense-related devices
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 8,124,280
Intermetallic electrodes for lithium batteries
This invention relates to intermetallic negative electrode compounds for non-aqueous, electrochemical lithium cells and batteries. More specifically, the invention relates to one or more electrode components or compositions, one of which contains the basic structural unit of a MM'.sub.3 intermetallic compound, in which M and M' are comprised of one or more metals. The MM'.sub.3 intermetallic electrode compounds can be mixed, blended or integrated with one or more other intermetallic compounds, such as isostructural M.sub.3M' compounds. The electrodes are of particular use in rechargeable lithium-ion cells and batteries in numerous applications such as portable electronic devices, medical devices, space, aeronautical and defense-related devices and in transportation applications such as electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.
Argonne National Laboratory 02/28/2012
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact ANL About This Technology

To: Elizabeth Jordan<>