Lithium-ion batteries are crucial for energy storage, especially for portable electronic devices and electric vehicles. However, modern day lithium-ion batteries are limited by their low energy density. Furthermore, they have a limited life time and occasional safety issues occur, caused by reactions or decomposition of the organic-liquid electrolytes used in these batteries. Hence, there is a significant interest to develop high energy density, safer lithium-ion batteries, based on metallic lithium and solid-state inorganic electrolytes. Unfortunately, most inorganic electrolytes suffer from a low ionic conductivity at room temperature.
The goal of my research is to develop a high performance solid-state electrolyte that can be used in an all-solid-state battery at moderate temperatures. The major focus is on nanoconfined LiBH4. It was recently shown that confinement of this compound in mesoporous silica increases its room-temperature ionic conductivity by more than 3 orders of magnitude. The origin of this tremendous improvement in ionic conductivity is not fully understood. Hence this project is geared towards unravelling the origin of this effect and its applicability to other lithium based electrolytes.
 Blanchard, De Jongh et al., Adv. Funct. Mater. 25, 2015, 184-192.