NTU develops ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years


NTU 50294NTU develops ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years

Singapore | Posted on October 14th, 2014

The new generation batteries also have a long lifespan of over 20 years, more than 10 times compared to existing lithium-ion batteries.

This breakthrough has a wide-ranging impact on all industries, especially for electric vehicles, where consumers are put off by the long recharge times and its limited battery life.

With this new technology by NTU, drivers of electric vehicles could save tens of thousands on battery replacement costs and can recharge their cars in just a matter of minutes.

Commonly used in mobile phones, tablets, and in electric vehicles, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries usually last about 500 recharge cycles. This is equivalent to two to three years of typical use, with each cycle taking about two hours for the battery to be fully charged.

In the new NTU-developed battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide.

Titanium dioxide is an abundant, cheap and safe material found in soil. It is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays.

Naturally found in spherical shape, the NTU team has found a way to transform the titanium dioxide into tiny nanotubes, which is a thousand times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. This speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery, allowing for superfast charging.

Invented by Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, the science behind the formation of the new titanium dioxide gel was published in the latest issue of Advanced Materials, a leading international scientific journal in materials science.

Prof Chen and his team will be applying for a Proof-of-Concept grant to build a large-scale battery prototype. With the help of NTUitive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NTU set up to support NTU start-ups, the patented technology has already attracted interest from the industry.

The technology is currently being licensed by a company for eventual production. Prof Chen expects that the new generation of fast-charging batteries will hit the market in the next two years. It also has the potential to be a key solution in overcoming longstanding power issues related to electro-mobility.

“Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars,” added Prof Chen.

“Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.”

The 10,000-cycle life of the new battery also mean that drivers of electric vehicles would save on the cost of battery replacements, which could cost over US$5,000 each.

Easy to manufacture

According to Frost & Sullivan, a leading growth-consulting firm, the global market of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is projected to be worth US$23.4 billion in 2016.

Lithium-ion batteries usually use additives to bind the electrodes to the anode, which affects the speed in which electrons and ions can transfer in and out of the batteries.

However, Prof Chen’s new cross-linked titanium dioxide nanotube-based electrodes eliminates the need for these additives and can pack more energy into the same amount of space.

Manufacturing this new nanotube gel is very easy. Titanium dioxide and sodium hydroxide are mixed together and stirred under a certain temperature so battery manufacturers will find it easy to integrate the new gel into their current production processes.

Recognised as the next big thing by co-inventor of today’s lithium-ion batteries

NTU professor Rachid Yazami, the co-inventor of the lithium-graphite anode 30 years ago that is used in today’s lithium-ion batteries, said Prof Chen’s invention is the next big leap in battery technology.

“While the cost of lithium-ion batteries has been significantly reduced and its performance improved since Sony commercialised it in 1991, the market is fast expanding towards new applications in electric mobility and energy storage,” said Prof Yazami, who is not involved in Prof Chen’s research project.

Last year, Prof Yazami was awarded the prestigious Draper Prize by The National Academy of Engineering for his ground-breaking work in developing the lithium-ion battery with three other scientists.

“However, there is still room for improvement and one such key area is the power density – how much power can be stored in a certain amount of space – which directly relates to the fast charge ability. Ideally, the charge time for batteries in electric vehicles should be less than 15 minutes, which Prof Chen’s nanostructured anode has proven to do so.”

Prof Yazami is now developing new types of batteries for electric vehicle applications at the Energy Research Institute at NTU (ERI@N).

This battery research project took the team of four scientists three years to complete. It is funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore, under its Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) Programme of Nanomaterials for Energy and Water Management.

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About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London, and also an Interdisciplinary Graduate School.

NTU is home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

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Bio-inspired way to grow graphene for electronic devices


BioGraphene-320Dr. Gao (left) and research assistant Ms Lim Xiao Fen working on the wafer-scale graphene growth and transfer in the Graphene Research Centre’s clean roomGraphene, a form of two-dimensional carbon, has many desirable properties that make it a promising material in many applications. However, its production especially for high-end electronics such as touch screens faces many challenges. This may soon change with a fresh approach developed by National Univ. of Singapore (NUS) researchers that mimics nature.

Inspired by how beetles and tree frogs keep their feet attached to submerged leaves, the findings published recently in Nature revealed a new method that allows both the growth and transfer steps of graphene on a silicon wafer. This technique enables the graphene to be applied in photonics and electronics, for devices such as optoelectronic modulators, transistors, on-chip biosensors and tunnelling barriers.

Professor Loh Kian Ping, Head of the NUS Department of Chemistry, led a team to come up with the one-step method to grow and transfer high-quality graphene on silicon and other stiff substrates. This promises the use of graphene in high-value areas where no technique currently exists to grow and transfer graphene with minimal defects for use in semiconductors.

Prof Loh, who is also a Principal Investigator with the Graphene Research Centre at NUS Faculty of Science, explained: “Although there are many potential applications for flexible graphene, it must be remembered that to date, most semiconductors operate on “stiff” substrates such as silicon and quartz.”

Thus, a transfer method with the direct growth of graphene film on silicon wafer is needed for enabling multiple optoelectronic applications, he said.

In the process called “face-to-face transfer”, Dr. Gao Libo, the first author who is with the Graphene Research Centre, grew graphene on a copper catalyst layer coating a silicon substrate. After growth, the copper is etched away while the graphene is held in place by bubbles that form capillary bridges, similar to those seen around the feet of beetles and tree frogs attached to submerged leaves. The capillary bridges help to attach the graphene to the silicon surface and prevent its delamination during the etching of the copper catalyst.

The novel technique can potentially be deployed in batch-processed semiconductor production lines, such as the fabrication of large-scale integrated circuits on silicon wafers.

The researchers will be fine-tuning the process to optimise the high throughput production of large diameter graphene on silicon, as well as target specific graphene-enabled applications on silicon. They are also looking at applying the techniques to other two-dimensional films.

Source: National Univ. of Singapore

EV Group Introduces Roll-To-Roll Nanoimprint Lithography System For Biomedical, Optical And Flexible Electronics Applications


Electronics-research-001(Nanowerk News) EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of  wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and  semiconductor markets, today introduced the EVG®570R2R—the industry’s first  roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprint lithography (NIL) tool.

 

 

Jointly developed with  the Industrial Consortium on Nanoimprint (ICON), helmed by A*A*STAR‘s Institute of  Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), the EVG570R2R utilizes hot embossing  to mass-produce films and surfaces with micro- and nanometer-scale structures  for a variety of medical, consumer and industrial applications, including  micro-fluidics, plastic electronics and photovoltaics.  The first system has  been installed in IMRE’s Singapore facility, where it will be used by IMRE to  conduct industrial research on the potential uses for large-scale nanoimprint  patterning, as well as by EV Group for product demonstrations with prospective  customers.

roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprint lithography tool
EV  Group unveils the industry’s first roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprint lithography  tool, the EVG®570R2R, which mass-produces films and surfaces with micro- and  nanometer-scale structures for a variety of medical, consumer and industrial  applications, including micro-fluidics, plastic electronics and photovoltaics.
Roll-to-roll nanoimprint technology is an attractive approach to  manufacturing micro- and nano-scale patterns due to its low cost, continuous  high throughput and large-area patterning capabilities.  Hot embossing, which is  one method of implementing roll-to-roll patterning, is particularly well suited  for devices used in biological and medical applications due to its low cost,  high throughput, material flexibility and monolithic approach.  By partnering  with IMRE, EVG has been able to leverage IMRE’s core competencies in materials  science with its own expertise in temperature embossing and pressure uniformity  to develop the EVG570R2R, whose innovative imprint module design provides  excellent temperature and pressure uniformity for micro- and nanoscale  patterning on a broad range of materials.
“While roll-to-roll nanoimprint lithography holds much promise  in enabling a variety of new applications, previous efforts to develop the  technology lacked a holistic approach,” stated Professor Andy Hor Tzi Sum,  executive director of IMRE.  “As part of this new ICON project, IMRE is bringing  together technology innovators from across the ecosystem to help drive this  technology toward commercialization.  Companies like EV Group have been  instrumental in building the foundational tools and solutions needed to make  roll-to-roll nanoimprint a viable manufacturing process.”
The EVG570R2R is the latest addition to EV Group’s extensive  suite of nanoimprint products, which also include the EVG®770 automated NIL  stepper, the EVG®750 automated hot embossing system, the IQ  Aligner® automated  UV-NIL and u-CP systems, the EVG®510HE and EVG®520HE semi-automated hot  embossing systems, and the EVG®620 and EVG®6200 automated UV-NIL systems.
Paul Lindner, EV Group’s executive technology director,  commented, “With the EVG570R2R, EV Group now offers the largest imprint product  portfolio to support a wide variety of applications, including medical,  point-of-care diagnostics, flexible electronics, displays, solar, architectural  glass and other structured films, biotechnology, security and optics.  We are  very proud of this particular development and working with IMRE and the ICON  organization.  EVG is once again laser focused on turning its R&D efforts  into world-class production-ready solutions, and we look forward to seeing the  results.”
About EV Group
EV Group (EVG) is a leading supplier of equipment and process  solutions for the manufacture of semiconductors, microelectromechanical systems  (MEMS), compound semiconductors, power devices and nanotechnology devices.  Key  products include wafer bonding, thin-wafer processing, lithography/nanoimprint  lithography (NIL) and metrology equipment, as well as photoresist coaters,  cleaners and inspection systems.  Founded in 1980, EV Group services and  supports an elaborate network of global customers and partners all over the  world.  More information about EVG is available at http://www.EVGroup.com.
Source: EV Group (press release)

Read more: http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/newsid=32659.php#ixzz2hLcRynTc

The World’s 20 Hottest Startup Scenes


Carbon NanotubeSure, Silicon  Valley is still No. 1, but some surprising cities like Sao Paulo, Brazil and  Bangalore, India have become successful startup hubs over the past decade.  Startup Genome’s Startup Ecosystem Report 2012 ranked the top 20 most active startup scenes in the  world based on criteria including funding, entrepreneurial mindset,  trendsetting, support, talent and more.

According to data compiled by financial-software firm Intuit, some of the cities even outshine entrepreneurial  darling Silicon Valley. For example, 20 percent of Santiago, Chile‘s  entrepreneurs are women compared with a paltry 10 percent in the Valley.

For the full list and more about the top 20 entrepreneurial cities around the  world, take a look at the infographic below.

Click  to Enlarge+

The World's 20 Hottest Startup Scenes (Infographic)

 

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227832#ixzz2cA93pTCb

Integration Of Photonic And Electronic Components


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Better integration of photonic and electronic components in nanoscale devices may now become possible, thanks to work by Khuong Phuong Ong and Hong-Son Chu from the A*A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing and their co-workers in Singapore and the US. From computer simulations, they have identified that the compound BiFeO3 has the potential to be used to efficiently couple light to electrical charges through light-induced electron oscillations known as plasmons. The researchers propose that this coupling could be activated, controlled and switched off, on demand, by applying an electrical field to an active plasmonic device based on this material. If such a device were realized on a very small footprint it would give scientists a versatile tool for connecting components that manipulate light or electric currents.

poles

Thin poles standing in water barely affect waves rolling past them. Similarly, nanostructured devices typically do not interact with light waves

Many devices used in everyday life — whether they be televisions, mobile phones or barcode scanners — are based on the manipulation of electric currents and light. At the micro- and nano-scales, however, it is typically challenging to integrate electronic components with photonic components. At these small dimensions, the wavelengths of light become long relative to the size of the device. Consequently, the light waves are barely detectable by the device, just as passing waves simply roll past thin poles in a water body (see image).

“The fact that, in theory, the properties of BiFeO3 [could] be [so readily controlled] by applying an electric field makes it a promising material for high-performance plasmonic devices,” explains Ong. He says that they expected such favorable properties after they had calculated the behavior of the material. But when they studied the behavior of the proposed BiFeO3-based device, they found that it could outperform devices based on BaTiO3, which is one of the best materials currently used for such applications.

Like BaTiO3, BiFeO3 can be fabricated relatively easily and cheaply. The new material is therefore a particularly promising candidate for device applications. Ong, Chu and their collaborators will now explore that potential. “We will design BiFeO3 nanostructures optimized for applications such as optical devices for data communication, sensing and solar-energy conversion,” says Ong.

According to Ong and Chu, an important step on the path to producing practical devices will be assessing the compatibility of BiFeO3-based structures with standard technologies, which typically use materials known as metal-oxide semiconductors. This future work will involve collaborations with experimental groups at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and at the National University of Singapore.

 

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of High Performance

 

A*STAR’S IMRE AND CIMA NANOTECH TO DEVELOP MATERIALS FOR NEXT GENERATION TRANSPARENT CONDUCTORS


(JCN) – A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and Cima NanoTech, a US multinational company, have signed an agreement to jointly work on new sustainable nanomaterials, processes and devices for transparent conductors used to make cheaper and more efficient electronics and organic solar cells.

IMRE and Cima NanoTech are collaborating to develop new transparent conductive materials and components, based on Cima’s SANTE(TM) Technology and IMRE’s know-how in printed electronics. These innovations will enable efficient conductive interfaces with high transparency, which can be developed into low cost and high performance products for displays, organic solar cells, and flexible electronics.

Conventional Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) and Transparent Conductive Oxides (TCO) used in today’s solar cells, OLEDs, flat panel TVs, and touchscreen displays have limitations in conductivity, flexibility, and cost. These new materials and processes that IMRE and Cima are developing will potentially enable faster response touch screens for large flexible displays and reduce production cost.

“Cima is particularly interested in IMRE’s extensive electronics materials systems and device fabrication capabilities, said Mr Jon Brodd, Cima NanoTech’s Chief Executive Officer (Singapore). IMRE and CIMA are working together to develop enabling nanotechnology materials, components, and processing methods to support new market applications in transparent conductors and printed electronics with SANTE, Cima NanoTech’s self aligning nanoparticle network.

“We are collaborating with Cima to develop new transparent conductor applications that will lead to cheaper, flexible, more eco-friendly and sustainable products,” said Dr Zhang Jie, the key scientist leading IMRE’s printed electronics initiative. The research team will develop applications using novel, sustainable transparent conductor materials as an alternative to conventional ITO-based materials.

“Innovations in materials R&D are crucial in evolving today’s devices into new products with tomorrow’s technology. IMRE’s research portfolio covers the entire printed electronics value chain that includes materials, processes, optimisation and reliability testing for integrated printed electronics prototypes. I am glad that we can present a diverse suite of capabilities in partnering Cima in the area of transparent conductors and printed electronics,” said Prof Andy Hor, IMRE’s Executive Director.

About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)

The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) is a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The Institute has capabilities in materials analysis & characterisation, design & growth, patterning & fabrication, and synthesis & integration. We house a range of state-of-the-art equipment for materials research including development, processing and characterisation. IMRE conducts a wide range of research, which includes novel materials for organic solar cells, photovoltaics, printed electronics, catalysis, bio-mimetics, microfluidics, quantum dots, heterostructures, sustainable materials, atom technology, etc. We collaborate actively with other research institutes, universities, public bodies, and a wide spectrum of industrial companies, both globally and locally. For more information about IMRE, please visit www.imre.a-star.edu.sg

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore’s lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy. In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories. Please visit www.a-star.edu.sg

About Cima NanoTech Inc

Cima NanoTech is an advanced nanomaterials company that has developed SANTE(TM), our self aligning silver nanoparticle network. SANTE Technology provides ultra low conductivity at high transparency as well as flexibility in a low cost, clean manufacturing process. SANTE Technology was a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award Winner, and top 10 Greentech/Cleantech recipient. SANTE is used for applications like Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) shielding, Touch Displays, Photovoltaic, OLED Lighting, Flexible Displays, and other electronic applications. Cima NanoTech’s headquarters is in the United States with business development centers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Israel and Singapore. Cima NanoTech’s Asia Headquarters & Product Development lab is located at the new CleanTech One building in Singapore. Production is also done at manufacturing facilities in Israel, Japan, and Korea. Please visit www.cimananotech.com for more information.

Source: A*STAR

Contact: Mr Eugene Low Manager, Corporate Communications for Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) DID: +65 6874 8491 Mobile: +65 9230 9235 Email: loweom@scei.a-star.edu.sg Ms Kelly Ingham Vice President of Marketing Cima NanoTech Pte Ltd DID: +65 6570 2018 Mobile: +65 97291434 Email:kingham@Cimananotech.com For technical enquiries, please contact: Dr Zhang Jie Senior Scientist III and Manager for SERC Printed Electronics Programme Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) DID: +65 6874 4339 E-mail: zhangj@imre.a-star.edu.sg