Understanding Lithium Iron Phosphate for Better Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4, or LFP) is one of the newer materials being used in lithium-ion batteries, and it is known to be safer and longer-lasting than the lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) compound used in smart phones, laptops, and other consumer electronics. A barrier to the material's widespread adoption has been that the process by which lithium ions move in and out of LFP as the battery stores and releases its energy is not well understood. Now, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have confirmed the particle-by-particle mechanism by which lithium ions move in and out of electrodes made of LFP. Their findings could lead to better performance in lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, medical equipment, and aircraft. In this video clip, materials scientist Josh Sugar describes the technical approach he and colleagues took to analyze LFP.