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Lithium Ion Electrolytes

li-ion-button164x64.gif Introduction
BASF Battery Materials Laboratory


Modern mobile electronics like cell phones, camcorders and computers (so called CCC application) and power tools typically use lithium ion batteries (LIB) as source for electric power. Their advantage is  high capacity at low weight, high voltage, and  (for these applications) long lifetime.

State of the art LiB use four classes of functional materials:

  • A negative electrode (anode) typically made of carbon or graphite. These materials intercalates lithium cations during charging and release them in the discharging
  • A positive electrode (cathode) consisting of lithium-transition metal oxides (e.g., LiMnO2) or phosphates (e.g., LiFePO4) (layer-structured, spinells or olivines)
  • A polymeric or ceramic separator, separating the electrodes to avoid short circuit
  • A non aqueous, organic electrolyte, consisting of a lithium salt dissolved in an organic aprotic solvent or solvent mixture


Typically Li[PF6] dissolved in alkyl carbonates (e.g. dimethyl carbonate, diethyl carbonate, ethyl methyl carbonate, and ethylene carbonate) is used as electrolyte.

This salt provides outstanding electrochemical stability and highly conductive solutions. However, thermal instability (decomposition starts at about 55°C, under formation of LiF and PF5) and sensitiveness towards hydrolysis (to form HF) are drawbacks to that foster the search for alternatives.

With the now upcoming market for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and electric vehicles (EV), the search for high performance electrolytes and conducting salts will become even more important.

BASF Battery Materials Laboratory

Therefore, in autumn 2010 , in cooperation with the BASF, our group accepts the challenge to develop the next to come conducting salt for lithium ion batteries.

The research is performed in the BASF Battery Materials Laboratory located in the Freiburger Materialforschungszentrum (FMF), including the following competencies:

  • synthesizing new conducting salts
  • analyzing their properties with respect to their applicability in LIBs in particular electrochemical stability and conductivity.
  • developing computational chemistry aided models to predict thermodynamics and physical properties of the target molecules.




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