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CUBICON Materials that Outperform Lithium-Ion Batteries

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Micrograph of CUBICON material.
Micrograph of CUBICON material.

Technology Marketing Summary

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.


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.

Applications and Industries

CUBICON materials can be used as electrodes in electrochemical cells, including batteries, and where high ionic conductivity is required, as in the case of solid-state electrolytes.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20130316250
Cubic Ionic Conductor Ceramics for Alkali Ion Batteries
The present invention relates to novel compositions, electrodes, electrochemical storage devices (batteries) and ionic conduction devices that use cubic ionic conductor ("CUBICON") compounds, preferably nitridophosphate compounds. The cubic ionic conductor compound have a framework formula [MT.sub.3X.sub.10].sup.n- (1) and a general formula A.sub.xMT.sub.3X.sub.10 (2), where M is a cation in octahedral coordination, T is a cation in tetrahedral coordination, X is an anion, and the framework has a net negative charge of -n, where a variable number of potentially mobile additional chemical species, A, can fit into the open space within this framework with a net charge of +n.
Brookhaven National Laboratory 04/30/2013
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
BSA 12-07PrototypeAvailable12/30/201312/30/2013

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To: Avijit Sen<>