GOALI/Collaborative Research: Roll-to-Roll Atomic Layer Deposition of Selenium-based Battery Cathodes

  • Datta, Dibakar D. (PI)
  • Mckenna, William W. (CoPI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


This Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) award supports fundamental scientific research across multiple length-scales ranging from atomic to macro-scale for manufacturing of industrial-scale selenium-based battery electrodes. The most commonly used lithium-ion batteries are not sufficient to meet the ever-increasing energy demand of our society. Lithium-selenium batteries are a viable replacement for lithium-ion batteries. However, the lack of basic knowledge that controls the processing-structure-performance relations is hindering the progress of manufacturing lithium-selenium batteries at industrial scale. This project addresses these issues and creates transformative new insights into roll-to-roll atomic layer deposition, which is a novel and largely unexplored manufacturing process for selenium battery electrode manufacturing. The roll-to-roll technology is an important manufacturing platform for mass-production of many film-type products. It is seen as a potential 'game-changer' for the U.S. economy. Atomic layer deposition is a layer-by-layer process that results in the deposition of thin films one atomic layer at a time. This research enables broad penetration of high-power batteries into applications where conventional batteries are not suitable, leading to major energy savings and carbon dioxide reduction. The GOALI partnership facilitates in translating laboratory knowledge into manufacturing technology and provides an opportunity for students to combine academic experience with industrial research and development. The award provides opportunities for U.S. Military Veterans, elementary to high-school students, and STEM teachers to engage in activities in both academic and industrial settings.

Lithium-selenium batteries have the potential to store twice the energy as state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries and potentially be employed for high power applications. This research elucidates key aspects that control the processing-structure-performance relations in nanolayered selenium-based electrodes manufactured by roll-to-roll (R2R) atomic layer deposition (ALD). The computational plan focuses on molecular dynamics (MD), density functional theory (DFT), DFT with finite element solvers (DFT-FE), and ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) simulations for electrode development. The experimental plan focuses on the study of industrial-scale R2R modeled on laboratory-scale R2R, electrochemical analysis, and analytical characterization of ALD coating/Se/2D carbon electrode (cathode) architectures. The GOALI partner is involved in translating the laboratory ALD results into R2R ALD small-scale manufacturing runs and packaging the materials into commercial-scale pouch cells. The effort combines state-of-the-art pilot-line R2R manufacturing of both electrodes and the ALD coatings with advanced microstructural characterization employing techniques such as TEM and surface science XPS. Electroanalytical testing of electrodes is performed at multiscale, from laboratory 2032 (22 mm diameter x 3.2 mm height) button cells to commercial pouch cells. The academia-industry partnership that is at the core of this research brings a unique intellectual advantage to the approach, allowing a broad spectrum of learning starting at fundamental mechanistic insight to fabricating industrial-scale electrodes.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date9/1/198/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $194,626.00


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