The University of Southampton

A new collaborative project that looks to revolutionise battery technology

Published: 15 August 2023

The Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton have received a new £1.25 million EPSRC grant in collaboration with the School of Chemistry which is proposing a radical rethink of battery technology. The ORC has a long established reputation in glass processing within the Zepler cleanrooms and is combining this capability and know-how with specialist battery research being undertaken within the School of Chemistry to improve the safety, sustainability and energy density of lithium batteries.

Dr. Christopher Holmes, Principal Investigator of the grant, said: “The essence of this research is the leverage of interdisciplinary expertise, which I believe is fundamental if we are to successfully revolutionise battery technology. This research, if successful, has the potential to realise a new type of lithium battery technology with huge safety and environmental benefits.”

This new project will employ a novel and disruptive manufacturing approach, never used before in the battery field, to produce all-glass solid-state batteries with enhanced performance and safety. This new project builds on the success of a previous projects, led by Dr. Christopher Holmes and Dr. Pier Sazio, in which the same manufacturing method was used for producing planar optics. The selection, synthesis and characterisation of the materials to build the batteries will be done in collaboration with battery experts from the School of Chemistry, Professor Nuria Garcia-Araez and Professor Andrew Hector.

Professor Nuria Garcia-Araez from the School of Chemistry has been researching batteries for a decade. She said: “There is a growing interest in making solid state batteries as they can be much safer than the current state-of-the-art lithium batteries. Our approach of using glass materials is particularly promising since glasses can be made into ultrathin and virtually defect-free films with very high mechanical strength. These glass films are well suited to block the growth of lithium dendrites, which are one of the primary causes of lithium battery explosion.”

Christopher added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to explore a solution to a global challenge and sets about it through combining unique capabilities and academic excellence at Southampton.”

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