A team of researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering, the University of Texas at Austin, have uncovered a family of anode materials, which can increase the charge capacity of lithium-ion battery anodes by twofold. This discovery is a breakthrough, which opens the window to lighter, cheaper, and compact batteries in the years to come. In lithium-ion batteries, the energy is put in storage by transferring lithium between two electrodes, which are made up of conductive materials that generate the electric current, making the batteries function effectively.

The new electrode materials have the potential to improve the performance substantially and have always been the in the focus for extensive scientific research. However, several efforts to enhance lithium-ion battery electrodes are concentrated on on constructing novel nanomaterials bit by bit and this procedure scales up inadequately, preventing commercial feasibility.

To overcome this issue, a team of material scientists at Cockrell School, mechanically under the guidance of Arumugam Manthiram, a professor of mechanical engineering and the director at the Texas Materials Institute, has created a new class of anode materials by utilizing a top-down production process in which the eutectic metal alloys are turned into nanostructured metal foils.

This novel family of anode materials, which Arumugam Manthiram has named as the Inter-digitated Eutectic Alloy (IdEA) anode, save time as well as materials by producing an anode with only two easy steps, while the traditional method requires multiple steps to produce lithium-ion battery anodes commercially.