Laser Technology Enables The Battery Cell of Tomorrow

Using laser applications a new research group at TU München examines the process chain for lithium-ion cells. (Source: A. Heddergott, TUM)

The Technical University of Munich has founded a new research group for battery production at the institute for machine tools and industrial management (IWB). The group conducts research along the entire process chain for lithium-ion cells from the manufacturing of the individual components to the final battery cell and the assembly of the modules.

High-performance battery cells are of great importance for applications in electric mobility and stationary energy storage. The increase in gravimetric and volumetric energy density as well as the reduction of production costs are crucial for higher market penetration. The understanding of the manufacturing processes for lithium-ion batteries is essential for achieving these goals. Therefore, within the department battery production of the IWB of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), which was newly founded in July 2019, scientists are working on the production of innovative battery cells.

From mixing the electrode materials to electrochemical characterization of the produced cells and the battery module assembly, all steps are investigated at the iwb production line. Within the framework of research and industry projects, the processes are validated for various cell formats. The production portfolio includes different cell types from small laboratory cells to large pouch and hard case cells. In addition to conventional lithium-ion batteries with novel materials such as silicon composite anodes, research is also being conducted on the production of all-solid-state batteries with anodes consisting of metallic lithium for future battery generations.

Along the production chain of batteries, from electrode production to module assembly, there are diverse laser applications across the entire technology spectrum. Short and ultrashort-pulse lasers are used to introduce microstructures into the electrode material. Thus, a significant increase in the performance of lithium-ion cells can be achieved by enlarging the electrode surface. Due to the high achievable cut edge quality and the flexibility of shape a pulsed laser cutting process is also used for separating the electrode materials. A laser welding process is applied for the electrical and mechanical connection of the current collectors in both the internal and external contacting of the battery cells. Especially the research on new battery materials and cell types opens up a broad field for the development of new laser-based processes.

Consequently, laser technology represents an important tool in battery research and will be examined in greater detail within the framework of the new department. (Source: TU Munich)

Links: TU Munich battery production research group, Munich, Germanyiwb / TU Munich, Munich, Germany

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