In ordinary commercial batteries, a carbonaceous material (e.g., synthetic graphite) and a lithium-metal oxide are generally used for the two differently charged electrodes, while a lithium conductor salt—dissolved in a mixture of organic solvents—serves as the electrolyte. The goal of the research field Materials is to identify innovative materials with potentially higher energy densities, which at the same time are safe and can be produced at lower cost. Moreover, they should make it possible to maintain rapid charging and discharging for many cycles. To achieve this, it is necessary to develop new or optimized materials for both electrodes and electrolytes. To reach high energy and power densities, the members of the group are working to minimize or completely eliminate the undesired chemical reactions at the interface between the electrode and the electrolyte. The development of suitable syntheses is at the forefront for the new materials since the nature of the process strongly influences the technical properties of a material, e.g., the stability of its charge cycles. Another focus in this research field is the development of entire new ideas for batteries (e.g., the magnesium battery). Such concepts have the potential for reaching much higher storage densities than all previously known ones.
Solid State Chemistry
The research group Solid State Chemistry is concerned with the newest battery systems to follow today's lithium-ion battery. It develops and studies new materials to be used in electrochemical energy storage units of the next generation and subsequently.
Composites / Hybrid Materials
The scientific goal of the research group Composites / Hybrid Materials is the (further) development of innovative electrode materials for the next generation of batteries. It utilizes extremely different methods of preparation, such as solid-state reactions, sol-gel reactions, and hydrothermal reactions, to determine the most effective of theses method leading up to a highly pure final product. Furthermore, physical and structural characterizations are conducted to determine the influence that the morphology as well as the configuration of the atoms plays on the electrochemical properties.
Nanomaterials and Nano-/Microstructures
The research group Nanomaterials and Nano-/Microstructures works on developing nanoscale functional material for lithium-ion batteries. It is made up of three subgroups: Molecular Metal Oxide Composites, Solid Electrolytes, and Nanoscale Hybrid Materials.