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Anodes Improve Safety and Performance in Lithium-ion Batteries

Argonne National Laboratory

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<span style="font-family: &quot;Cambria&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-no-proof: yes;"><font color="#000000">Reversible insertion of lithium into the new intermetallic anode material</font></span>
Reversible insertion of lithium into the new intermetallic anode material

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 type of anode consisting of intermetallic materials that store lithium based on a novel insertion mechanism.


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 type of anode that improves on the safety of traditional graphite electrodes. By using the ability of a crystal-porous intermetallic to reversibly store lithium, Argonne researchers have discovered an anode with excellent electrical properties. a low oxidation potential, and low reactivity in a lithium cell environment. This new anode contains one or more active metals that can alloy with lithium (e.g., tin) and one or more inactive metals that do not alloy with lithium (e.g., copper).

  • Prevents overcharge,
  • Improves safety,
  • Increases reliability, and has
  • Greater structural stability.
Applications and Industries
  • Transportation applications, such as electric and hybrid-electric vehicles;
  • Portable electronic devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers;
  • Medical devices; and
  • Space, aeronautical, and defense-related devices.
Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 6,528,208
Anodes for rechargeable lithium batteries
A negative electrode (12) for a non-aqueous electrochemical cell (10) with an intermetallic host structure containing two or more elements selected from the metal elements and silicon, capable of accommodating lithium within its crystallographic host structure such that when the host structure is lithiated it transforms to a lithiated zinc-blende-type structure. Both active elements (alloying with lithium) and inactive elements (non-alloying with lithium) are disclosed. Electrochemical cells and batteries as well as methods of making the negative electrode are disclosed.
Argonne National Laboratory 03/04/2003
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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To: Chris Claxton<>