Researchers at the Korea Institute of Materials Science have developed a novel 3D, porous, carbon-based current collector material for better batteries and capacitors.
Current collectors are vital in manufacturing thin film electrode plates. Their weight and size, however, impose limitations on enhancing energy density and reducing device weight. This limitation is more evident in large-scale energy storage applications like electric vehicles, where repeated charging and moisture ingress can lead to active material delamination and corrosion of the current collector.
Researchers from the Department of Hydrogen Energy Materials at the Korea Institute of Materials Science (KIMS) have developed a novel three-dimensional, porous, carbon-based current collector material. This innovative material was then employed in secondary batteries and supercapacitors, resulting in simultaneous energy density and lifespan enhancements.
Using a floating catalyst chemical vapour deposition (FC-CVD) technique, the researchers have manufactured a current carbon-based collector featuring a stable three-dimensional porous carbon structure capable of withstanding diverse environmental conditions. Additionally, they accomplished the production of electrodes by employing a conventional active material coating process commonly utilised in the secondary battery industry, streamlining the mass production procedure. This approach enabled the research team to overcome limitations in tailoring current collector materials to suit specific operational settings, including electrolytes and operating voltages.
The team of researchers achieved notable enhancements in energy and power density and improved cycling stability by capitalising on the wide pores of the current collectors. The porous structure was engineered to facilitate the efficient transport of lithium ions. Unlike conventional metal foils with a two-dimensional structure and limited interfacial contact area with the active material, the newly developed three-dimensional carbon-based current collector maximised the highly stable interfacial area. This pivotal advancement played a crucial role in enhancing the device’s lifespan throughout its life cycle.
By addressing the fundamental challenges associated with the material, the researcher believes they can pave the way for its commercialization and widespread adoption, enabling its application across varying scales of energy storage devices. The study has redefined the significance of the current collector, which was previously considered a minor component in electrode formation. The researchers aim to spearhead the development of environmentally friendly and highly cost-effective energy conversion technologies.
Reference: Jong Han Jun et al, Intertwined CNT Assemblies as an All-Around Current Collector for Volume-Efficient Lithium-Ion Hybrid Capacitors, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (2023). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.3c02492