Ionic Materials Technology Overview

Better batteries can revolutionize transportation and the electric grid as well as make our lives more productive and enjoyable through the use of safer and longer lasting consumer electronics and IoT devices.

We have invented the World’s first solid polymer electrolyte that works at room temperature.  Because of the incredible properties of IM’s polymer, it is possible to create a truly solid battery that is SAFER (eliminates toxic and flammable liquid electrolytes); LONGER LASTING (greater energy density per weight and volume); and COST EFFECTIVE (eliminates complicated and costly process of making batteries with liquid electrolytes and is based on efficient high volume, low cost polymer processing techniques).

Properties of our battery are:

  • Enables higher energy anodes and cathodes
  • Eliminates safety issues with liquid electrolytes
  • Reduces battery cost through novel manufacturing

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Previous attempts at solid electrolytes have thus far been unsuccessful. Other solid polymers have only been able to function at impractically high temperatures, while ceramic electrolytes have struggled to overcome manufacturability, brittleness, stability, cost and other challenges. Ionic Materials is the first solid with all the necessary properties to replace liquid electrolytes.

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The World’s First Practical Solid State Battery Technology
Has the Potential to Power the Future of Mobility

At the core of Ionic Materials’ technology is a solid polymer that has all of the properties required to replace the liquid electrolytes used in currently-available batteries. Developed by a world-class team of battery scientists, electrochemists, cell assembly engineers, materials scientists, and polymer and process engineers, Ionic Materials’ polymer electrolyte enables next-generation rechargeable battery performance.

Conventional batteries consist of liquid electrolytes that are flammable, toxic and expensive. Replacing these electrolytes with Ionic Materials’ polymer electrolyte improves battery safety, enables the use of higher performance and lower cost active materials, and allows the use of simpler and lower-cost manufacturing methods. Ionic Materials’ solid battery allows lithium ions to pass through it and prevents dendrites from shorting the battery, a common issue with lithium metal batteries.

Solving the Long-Standing Problems with Lithium Ion Batteries

While lithium ion batteries are common, particularly in consumer electronics and electronic vehicles, they have a fundamental problem: their liquid electrolytes are unstable when the temperature rises, are susceptible to shorts caused by dendrites and – as demonstrated by recent headlines around mobile phones and hoverboards – can catch fire and explode under certain circumstances.

Though the first solid ion-conductors were discovered by Michael Faraday in 1839, the biggest barrier to adoption has been the need for the electrolyte to meet the demanding requirements of a battery. For the last 30-40 years, researchers have tried to develop solid electrolytes for batteries. Each of the two main classes have issues: polymers suffer from low conductivity at room temperature and lack of high voltage compatibility, while ceramics are brittle, are associated with complex manufacturing and have issues in scaling to high volumes.

Ionic Materials has demonstrated solid-state pouch cells with composite LCO and NCM cathodes to become the first large format solid-state battery to function at room temperature and allow safe battery performance across a broad temperature range.

Significant Benefits of Ionic Materials’ Solid Polymer Include:

Inherent Battery Safety:  The liquid electrolyte and separator are top sources of all battery safety incidents. Ionic Materials replaces both with an inherently safe, nonflammable polymer. Removing the liquid also results in a more recyclable battery. Ionic Materials’ batteries can be folded, cut, and damaged; they don’t ignite and continue to perform.

Lower Battery Cost:  Ionic Materials enables novel, low cost manufacturing techniques (reduced CAPEX and processing cost), and low cost anode and cathode chemistries, (e.g. sulfur).

Higher Battery Performance:  Liquid electrolytes are incompatible with many next generation anodes and cathodes. Ionic Materials is a true “platform technology” enabling the use of a wide range of electrode chemistries, including lithium metal anodes, sulfur cathodes, and more, resulting in much higher energy density and performance.

Key Properties of Ionic Materials’ Polymer

  • Up to 1.3 mS/cm at room temperature
  • Lithium transference number of 0.7
  • High voltage capability (5 volts)
  • Can accommodate high loadings in the cathode
  • High elastic modulus
  • Low cost precursors
  • Stable against Lithium
  • Conducts multiple ions

Best Battery Chemistries: Ionic Materials has teams focused on enabling the best battery chemistries, including lithium metal anodes, high voltage intercalation cathodes, sulfur conversion cathodes and a proprietary system that we refer to as our “High Wh/L” chemistry. All of these chemistries have the potential to dramatically improve performance compared to conventional lithium ion.

Awards Recognition

Ionic Materials was recently awarded a $3 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant from the Department of Energy to focus on the development of a polymer electrolyte and Lithium/Polymer interface to enable Lithium cycling and development of solid intercalation cathodes. Work on this program is scheduled to being in early 2017.