Inactive/active Core/Shell Structures for Li-ion Applications

The SAND project funded by Science Foundation Ireland is investigating the use of inactive/active core/shell architectures for Li-ion batteries. The project is specifically addressing aspects of synthesis, focused on preparing tunable structures via wet chemical approaches. The anode materials are being investigated in Li-ion full-cell configurations, to identify anode/electrolyte/cathode combinations for optimal performance. The focus on full cell considerations is aimed at addressing shortcomings of existing literature in alloying mode anode performance. 

Li-ion Batteries of the Future

The Si-DRIVE project is bringing together 16 top EU partners to deliver higher energy density Li-ion batteries at TRL 5. The anodes are being produced by UL in collaboration with Smit Thermal Solutions. The project is combining the high capacity of Si based anodes with inherently safer ionic liquid based electrolytes and Co-free cathode materials. The project is funded by H2020. 

Na-ion Battery Research

Sodium is roughly 1000x more common in the Earth’s crust than Li and as a result, it is highly attractive for large scale stationary storage. Despite its similarity to Li, many active materials that have been widely used for Li-ion batteries (e.g. graphite) do no perform well within Na-ion batteries. In the Geaney group we are investigating anode materials for Na-ion batteries. We are focused on a) the mechanism of Na alloying compared to Li alloying and b) the development of Earth abundant active materials.

Nanowire Doping and Device Characterization

Doping Si and Ge NWs is a necessary step for devices such as single NW transistors. We are investigating novel approaches for NW doping, that simplify the doping process in collaboration with the Ryan group at UL.

Investigating Alternative Catalysts for Nanowire Synthesis

Gold has been used of the synthesis of Si and Ge Nanowires (NWs) for decades. In the Geaney group we are using alternative seed materials like Mg to grow Si NWs. This is an example of a vapour solid solid (VSS) mechanism, where the seed is in solid form during NW growth. This mechanism is attractive as it limits seed agglomeration and allows for a tighter diameter distribution. We are using the solid seeding mechanism in a range of different systems, including silicide NW growth

Advanced Metal Anode Research

Metal anode batteries are highly attractive for increasing energy density values beyond state of the art Li-ion. They have typically be plagued by dead metal and dendrite formation, which lead to rapid performance fade and serious safety concerns. In the Geaney group we are working with a range of hosted and modified anode architectures that allow uniform metal deposition over extended stripping/plating cycles. These offer potential for increasing the energy densities of future batteries.

Sulphur Based Battery Chemistries 

Sulphur is an interesting material for energy storage with applications as a cathode in a range of different battery systems (Li,Na,Al etc.). This chemistry is inherently more complex than standard intercalation based systems and requires complete mechanistic understanding, coupled with significant active material optimisation. In the Geaney group we are investigating Li and Al based sulphur based chemistries. The focus is on understanding capacity fade mechanisms and moving towards practical systems.

 Earth Abundant Active Materials 

To move fully away from fossil fuels, economic and sustainable materials need to be produced for energy storage applications. In the Geaney group we are investigating at sustainable materials that use Earth abundant elements like Fe,Cu,O and S.