Samsung says it can immediately double capacity of Li-ion batteries

Samsung Battery

Samsung Electronics has developed a silicon carbide-free graphene coating that it says could immediately double the capacity of lithium-ion batteries. That would be an impressive feat indeed, considering that capacity has increased only twofold since Li-ion batteries were first commercialized in 1991.

Many researchers are investigating the potential of silicon as an anode material, but it suffers from poor cycle life. Samsung’s new process creates a sort of protective layer around the silicon to make battery life longer. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the coating allows the cell to reach volumetric energy densities almost two times higher than those of current commercial Li-ion batteries.

In “Silicon carbide-free graphene growth on silicon for lithium-ion battery with high volumetric energy density,” recently published in the journal Nature Communications, a team from the Samsung Advanced Institue of Technology (SAIT) describe how they developed the technology of direct graphene growth over silicon nanoparticles without silicon carbide formation.

Son In-hyuk of SAIT said, “This observation suggests that the two-dimensional layered structure of graphene and its silicon carbide-free integration with silicon can serve as a prototype in advancing silicon anodes to commercially viable technology.”

The SAIT team fabricated the anode material by growing graphene directly on a silicon surface while avoiding silicon carbide formation by developing a chemical vapor deposition process that includes CO2 as a mild oxidant. The graphene-coated silicon nanoparticles reach a volumetric capacity of 2,500 mAh cm−3, which the team says is the highest value reported to date for any Li-ion battery anodes, while exhibiting excellent cycling and rate performance.

silicon carbide-free graphene coating

(a) A low-magnification TEM image of Gr–Si NP. (b) A higher-magnification TEM image for the same Gr–Si NP from the white box in a. (Insets) The line profiles from the two red boxes indicate that the interlayer spacing between graphene layers is ~3.4 Å, in good agreement with that of typical graphene layers based on van der Waals interaction. (c) A high-magnification TEM image visualizing the origins (red arrows) from which individual graphene layers grow. (d) A schematic illustration showing the sliding process of the graphene coating layers that can buffer the volume expansion of Si.   Source: Son et al.

The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface use a novel approach to accommodating the well-known problematic volume expansion of silicon: a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. This allows the designers to avoid providing a void space in the electrode to accommodate silicon expansion.

Industry watchers said the technology may be available for actual products in two or three years.


Source: Green Car Congress, Korea Bizwire
 TechStage (CC BY-ND 2.0)

  • James Poch

    Very promising. I would love to hear a little more detail on the application potential. For example, is this limited to just phones or are we talking about automotive applications?

  • jstack6

    very good, coming from a big company like Samsung I’m sure they will do it soon. Let us know how they plan to produce them in large quantity and when they have the first products with them in it. .

  • Robert Cattle

    Let’s have cycle figures before we all applaude!

    • Rob Andrews

      Tested to… 200 cycles, so in other words, this technology is still years away! 🙁

      When paired with a
      commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free
      graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy
      densities of 972 and 700 Wh l−1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively,
      1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion

      Read more at:

      • Robert Cattle

        Thanks… So double capacity and collapse cycles … Seems logical .. Ex director of SAFT UK
        best wishes from Rob

      • Robert Cattle

        Double capacity and collapse cycles.. Seems logical….. Ex director of SAFT UK

      • Robert Cattle

        Oh I forgot, it’s not cycles but the depth of discharge also?


    Ah yes. This week’s fantastic breakthrough on battery technology that will change everything. I’ve been reading this article three or four times a month for the last ten years. Doesn’t happen.

    • Michael B

      I agree with the sentiment, but wouldn’t say every month for ten years. They HAVE, however, been popping up quite frequently in the past month or two (no?!). And as over-hyped as these breakthroughs/announcements can be, I nevertheless hold out a lot of hope, if not expectation, that at least ONE will materialize in the next few years, by 2020 for sure.

    • Tommolog

      I agree. We get this amazing announcement and then you never hear about the company again. The difference with this is that the announcement is from Samsung. This isn’t an upstart company which nobody’s heard of that is looking for capitol. While I’m still a little skeptical, the fact that it’s coming from one of the industry leaders is definitely promising.

      • iDriver

        I am also hopeful. One would think Samsung needs to catch up with players like Panasonic and LG if they want to be part of the next wave of 200+ mile range BEVs. Wondering whether we will hear anything from BMW on this. If the Samsung technology would be only 2-3 years away from commercialisation, BMW should be more bullish about pushing more BEV models (rather than creating a hydrogen hype).
        I actually found this article ( which does not seem to have been picked up by international sites, mentioning BMW and Samsung would already be working on an improved battery (available next year if we can believe the statement at the end of the article) – but not with double the capacity though.
        Anyway fingers crossed the new battery tech it will soon make it to market!

    • ned_plimpton

      This a largely a problem of announcements getting lost in translation between the R&D world and the consumer blogosphere.

      Anyone who has ever done academic or industrial research realizes the significance of newly published papers detailing new techniques that have never been done before. And we also realize it’s not a new product announcement. Far from it.

      The consumer blogosphere/forum-sphere seems to think they’re reading about new soon-to-be released products, and is then disappointed when it’s not in the EVs that come out the following year.

      “We get this amazing announcement and then you never hear about the company again.”

      “And as over-hyped as these breakthroughs/announcements can be…”

      @Tommolog:disqus @Timm_E:disqus – That’s the thing, they’re announcements about new techniques, not companies. There is a huge difference. And they only seem “over-hyped” if you don’t appreciate the difference.

      If you’re reading an article about something “published in a journal” it’s really far away from ever becoming a product, but it’s important enough to other scientists to be published. It’s not a trivial achievement to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

      Also, lot’s of battery R&D announcements is a very good sign. It means many of the world’s smartest people are trying to solve the same problem.

    • King Kamehameha

      Yep. Let’s see Samsung put their money where their mouth is.

  • dogphlap dogphlap

    Apple must be breathing a sigh if relief that a lot of the ill will that existed between Samsung and themselves has been reigned in. They just might need one of those batteries in a future iphone.

  • jamcl3

    So “immediately” means two or three years? Interesting. We will be watching. In the meantime, there are lots of other developments underway.