The team started from a long-known mineral: Argyrodite. It is a silver, germanium and sulphur-containing mineral discovered near
A team led by Hans-Joerg Deiseroth in
The individual components of argyrodite can be replaced by a number of other atoms without altering the typical structure of the mineral. The term argyrodite now refers to an entire class of compounds that have a specific arrangement of atoms and type of structure.
The team produced a version of the mineral in which silver is replaced by lithium, germanium by phosphorus, and some of the sulphur atoms by halides (chloride, bromide or iodide), resulting in argyrodite-like structures.
In the crystal lattice the phosphorus, sulphur and halide atoms adopt a dense tetrahedral packing arrangement in which the gaps are filled somewhat regularly with lithium ions.
The scientists have thoroughly examined the lithium argyrodites by single-crystal X-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
This analysis allowed precise characterisation of the crystal structures of these compounds and provided fascinating insights into the dynamics of the mobile lithium ions.
Batteries that doesn’t need recharging is not a new innovation anyway. European researchers have already built prototypes of a combination solar cell and ultra-thin flexible battery.
This technology could lead to cell phones that don’t need rechargers or clothes that gather light and provide power to a variety of hungry accessories.
The “Solar Battery” is not only thin, but also flexible enough to integrate with a wide range of electronic devices, including flat, bendable objects like a smart card and, potentially, flexible mobile phones and e-readers.
Prototypes of the solar battery weigh as little as two grams and are less than one millimeter thick. The organic solar cell used in the prototype is based on a mix of electrically conducting polymers and Fullerenas. The cells can be cut or produced in special shapes and can be printed on a roll-to-roll machine at low temperature, offering the potential of low-cost, high-volume production.