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

Florida Python Hunters May Have a New Tool Thanks to Optics Research at UCF

Just as the governor announced the start of python hunting season in Florida this month, researchers at the University of Central Florida have published a first- of-its-kind study that shows...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF’s 5 NSF CAREER Grant Recipients Making Breakthroughs in Healthcare and Engineering

This year’s five UCF National Science Foundation CAREER grant recipients are finding innovative and bold new ways to solve challenges that could be game changers in healthcare and engineering. For...

Read More

Featured Content image

Natasha Stubbs Joins the College of Graduate Studies in Academic Support Services

The College of Graduate Studies today welcomes Natasha Stubbs, PhD, as Director of Academic Support Services. The Miami native comes to UCF by way of Nova Southeastern University where she...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF Research Flies Three-for-Three on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity

University of Central Florida research has now flown on the first three flights of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, with Saturday’s successful launch and landing at Spaceport America in New...

Read More