Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Production of high density ceramic and cermet thin films

Technology #7026

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Categories
Researchers
Richard M. Laine
Managed By
Joohee Kim
Licensing Specialist, Physical Sciences & Engineering 734.764.8202
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
Publications
Materials That Can Replace Liquid Electrolytes in Li Batteries: Superionic Conductivities in Li1.7Al0.3Ti1.7Si0.4P2.6O12. Processing Combustion Synthesized Nanopowders to Free Standing Thin Films
JOURNAL OF POWER SOURCES 269, 2014

Owing to their composition and geometry, thin films of ceramics and ceramic-metal composites materials possess desirable electrical and mechanical properties. Current methods of production rely on slow and energy-intensive processes like sol-gel processing or vapor deposition. Improvements in the production of thin film ceramics are needed because they can be used for various applications, including Lithium-ion batteries. This new technology has been used to produce dense films of solid electrolyte Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO), and can also create thin film cathodes materials that contain Lithium and block inter-diffusion of atoms. These films promise to make Lithium-ion batteries safer by replacing the liquid electrolyte, and because of their thin nature, they can power unobtrusive devices for sensing and transmission in order to improve connectivity and help usher in the Internet of Everything. The cermets (ceramic-metal composites) produced are mechanically strong while being porous with high surface area, making them well-suited for use as catalysts.

Improvements in thin film production

This method improves upon existing technologies because it is able to generate precursor nanopowders with controlled composition and a small size. These nanopowders are the key for this method of film production because they can be dispersed in a low viscosity solution that makes it easy to process the powders into films. Another feature of this method is that it prevents the formation of large crystalline grains in the film, a key advantage over existing methods because large grains hinder the electrical properties and make the films susceptible to brittle fracture. Additionally, this methods cuts down on the time and energy demands needed to produce sintered thin films.

Applications

  • Solid electrolyte for thin film batteries
  • Cathode thin films for Lithium-ion batteries
  • Ceramic-metal composite films

Advantages

  • Thin films with thickness between 10 and 40 microns
  • Small crystal grain sizes
  • Reduced energy and time demands during production
  • Ability to add dopants
  • LLZO films have electrical properties that match those of bulk LLZO