The lithium-ion battery is currently the most important type of battery among the rechargeable high-performance batteries. While small lithium-ion batteries are already being used commercially in consumer electronics, electrical tools, hybrid vehicles, and electric cars, the commercial use of larger energy storage units is still in its early stages. The maximum storage capacity of conventional lithium-ion batteries has, however, nearly been reached. In order to achieve advances in performance, it is therefore necessary to press ahead with the development of new storage material and approaches. New electrochemical pairings and new ideas for an even more compact design are needed to achieve another significant jump in energy density.
The scientists at HIU pursue basic research, on the one hand, to further optimize lithium-ion batteries, while on the other conducting research on entirely innovative types of batteries at the same time, batteries that they hope may one day lead to more advanced innovations. For this purpose, experimenters and theoretical modelers work closely together at HIU to achieve improvements in the development of materials as well as in battery architecture.
In HIU's laboratories, battery cells made up of different combinations of materials are tested, determining their energy density, lifespan, and performance. The smallest details, such as the behavior of newly added elements, can exert an enormous influence on the processes of battery charging and discharging. The processes taking place at the nano- or microlevel of a battery can be decisive. The goal of this work is to study how elementary processes affect the functioning of electrochemical energy storage units. The researchers at HIU, furthermore, attempt to understand electrochemical effects by utilizing a combination of experimental measurements and multiscale simulations, in order to draw conclusions about real applications.
The scientists have defined four interdisciplinary topics spanning all the research groups at HIU. These topics are Metal Deposition, Insertion Materials and Electrode Structure, Lithium-Based Conversion Materials, and Batteries Beyond Lithium.
In the research field Electrochemistry, fundamental scientific topics for the development of electrochemical energy units of the next or subsequent generation are being studied.
The goal in the research field Materials is to identify novel materials with potentially higher energy densities that, at the same time, are safer and can be produced at lower costs.
The research field Systems provides a bridge between basic and applied research and views systems with regard to, for example, functionality, design, aging behavior, and the availability of raw materials.
The research field Methods, a multidisciplinary unit at HIU, makes sophisticated, precise observation technology available for the analysis of chemical and physical processes inside a cell, even directly during the processes of charging and discharging.
Young Investigator Group
HIU offers young scientists extensive opportunities to optimally structure their own careers in research. The Helmholtz Association supports young scientists in creating and leading their own research groups. These scientists profit, in turn, from the excellent infrastructure at the respective centers and from their involvement in a renowned and international working environment.