A123 Systems has been granted a patent for materials and methods for coating an electrochemically active electrode material in a lithium-ion battery. The patent describes a process where a polymer coating is applied directly to the electrode material, followed by a metal catalyst and a continuous metal coating. The coatings are applied to the exterior surfaces of secondary particles within the electrode material. GlobalData’s report on A123 Systems gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on A123 Systems, battery management systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. A123 Systems's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Coating for electrochemically active electrode material in lithium-ion battery

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: A123 Systems LLC

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11682758B2) describes an electrochemically active electrode material for lithium-ion batteries. The electrode material consists of a continuous polymer coating directly coupled to the exterior surface of the electrode material. A metal catalyst is adhered to the polymer coating to catalyze an electroless deposition (ELD) reaction. The electrode material is then covered with a continuous metal coating.

The electrochemically active electrode material can be made from various materials, including graphite powder or graphite MesoCarbon MicroBeads (MCMBs). The continuous metal coating is typically made of copper, while the metal catalyst can be a precious metal such as palladium, platinum, rhodium, gold, or silver.

The continuous polymer coating, which is between 1-5% by weight of the electrode material, provides a protective layer and enhances the adhesion of the metal catalyst. The continuous metal coating, which is between 5-20% by weight of the electrode material, ensures complete coverage and protection of the electrode material.

The metal catalyst can be either discontinuous or continuous on the exterior surface of the polymer coating. In the case of a discontinuous catalyst, the areal density of the catalyst is between 500-10,000 particles/µm2. The continuous metal coating can have a uniform or non-uniform thickness, with a radial distance between the exterior surface of the electrode material and the metal coating being substantially the same around the entire surface.

The patent also describes a method for metallizing the electrode material, which involves coating the exterior surface of the electrode material with a polymer, annealing a metal catalyst to the polymer, and depositing a continuous metal layer via electroless deposition.

The coated electrode material can be used in battery cells, where it exhibits a capacity of at least 80% of the maximum capacity at a C-rate of 10 C.

Overall, this patent presents an innovative approach to enhance the performance and durability of electrochemically active electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries through the use of a continuous polymer coating, metal catalyst, and metal coating.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.