New York, NY--April 22, 2019--The grand challenge to improve energy storage and increase battery life, while ensuring safe operation, is becoming evermore critical as we become increasingly reliant on this energy source for everything from portable devices to electric vehicles.

A Columbia Engineering team led by Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, announced today that they have developed a new method for safely prolonging battery life by inserting a nano-coating of boron nitride (BN) to stabilize solid electrolytes in lithium metal batteries.

While conventional lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries are currently widely used in daily life, they have low energy density, resulting in shorter battery life, and, because of the highly flammable liquid electrolyte inside them, they can short out and even catch fire.

Energy density could be improved by using lithium metal to replace the graphite anode used in Li-ion batteries: lithium metal's theoretical capacity for the amount of charge it can deliver is almost 10 times higher than that of graphite.

"We decided to focus on solid, ceramic electrolytes.

However, most solid electrolytes are unstable against Li--they can be easily corroded by lithium metal and cannot be used in batteries.

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