UCF researchers are making lithium-ion batteries more efficient. Photo credit: Adobe Stock

UCF Researcher Is Working to Extend Battery Life in Smartphones, Electric Cars

By: Robert H. Wells on

A University of Central Florida researcher is working to make portable devices and electric vehicles stay charged longer by extending the life of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries powering them.

Assistant Professor Yang Yang is doing this by making the batteries more efficient, with some of his latest work focusing on keeping an internal metal structure, the anode, from falling apart over time by applying a thin, film-like coating of copper and tin. The new technique is detailed in a recent study in the journal Advanced Materials.

An anode generates electrons that travel to a similar structure, the cathode, inside the battery, thus creating a current and power.

“Our work has shown that the rate of degradation of the anode can be reduced by more than 1,000 percent by using a copper-tin film compared to a tin film that is often used,” said Yang, who is with UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center.

UCF battery expert Yang Yang
UCF nanoscience assistant professor Yang Yang is an expert in battery improvement including making them safer and able to withstand extreme temperatures.

Yang is an expert in battery improvement including making them safer and able to withstand extreme temperatures.

The technique is unique because of its use of the copper-tin alloy and is an important improvement in stabilizing rechargeable battery performance, Yang says. It is also scalable for use in the smallest smartphone battery to larger batteries that power electric cars and trucks.

“We are motivated by our most recent research progress in alloyed materials for various applications,” he says. “Each alloy is unique in composition, structure and property.”

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation through its Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems’ Electrochemical Systems program and through UCF’s startup funding and preeminent postdoctoral programs.

Study co-authors included Guanzhi Wang, a doctoral student in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the paper’s first author; Megan Aubin, a doctoral student in UCF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Abhishek Mehta, a graduate of UCF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering doctoral program; Huajun Tian and Jinfa Chang, postdoctoral scholars in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center; Akihiro Kushima, an assistant professor in UCF’s Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center; and Yongho Sohn; a professor in UCF’s Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center.

Yang holds joint appointments in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, which is part of the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. He is a member of UCF’s Renewable Energy and Chemical Transformation (REACT) Cluster. Before joining UCF in 2015, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Rice University and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. He received his doctorate in materials science from Tsinghua University in China.

Share This Article

Featured Content image

Arecibo Observatory’s Telescope Collapses

The instrument platform of the 305-meter telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico fell at approximately 7:55 a.m. Puerto Rico time today, Dec. 1. No injuries were reported as a...

Read More

Featured Content image

Doctoral Students Recognized for Aerospace Research

Two UCF doctoral candidates are being recognized for their efforts in advancing human space exploration. NASA awarded Yuen Yee Li Sip a three-year fellowship to support her research project on...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF RESTORES Starts New Mental Health Services in Orange County for COVID-19

In response to the psychological toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Central Florida’s psychological trauma clinic, UCF RESTORES, is working with Orange County on two new projects to provide...

Read More

Featured Content image

Easing Solar Power Restrictions May Benefit Florida’s Economy and Environment, Study Finds

A new report co-authored by a University of Central Florida researcher has found that easing state regulations affecting solar energy production in Florida could result in a more than $3 billion economic...

Read More