Samsung unveils solid-state lithium metal batteries

Samsung unveils solid-state lithium metal batteries
(From left) Yuichi Aihara, Principal Engineer from SRJ, Yong-Gun Lee, Principal Researcher and Dongmin Im, Master from SAIT

Samsung unveiled a solid-state battery that combines high energy density (942 Wh/L) with long cycle life (1.000 cycles). The study was published in one of the world’s leading scientific journals, the Nature Energy.

This pouch battery cell uses a solid electrolyte and a lithium metal anode (silver-carbon composite layer), which differentiates it from current mainstream batteries that use liquid electrolytes and graphite/silicon anodes.

Most recent battery technology advances have been achieved by improving the cathodes. It’s nice to finally see some solid advancements made in the anode and electrolyte fronts.


Let’s see the press release.


On March 9 in London, researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) presented a study on high-performance, long-lasting all-solid-state batteries to Nature Energy, one of the world’s leading scientific journals.


Compared to widely used lithium-ion batteries, which utilize liquid electrolytes, all-solid-state batteries support greater energy density, which opens the door for larger capacities, and utilize solid electrolytes, which are demonstrably safer. However, the lithium metal anodes that are frequently used in all-solid-state batteries, are prone to trigger the growth of dendrites1 which can produce undesirable side effects that reduce a battery’s lifespan and safety.


To overcome those effects, Samsung’s researchers proposed utilizing, for the first time, a silver-carbon (Ag-C) composite layer as the anode. The team found that incorporating an Ag-C layer into a prototype pouch cell enabled the battery to support a larger capacity, a longer cycle life, and enhanced its overall safety. Measuring just 5µm (micrometers) thick, the ultrathin Ag-C nanocomposite layer allowed the team to reduce anode thickness and increase energy density up to 900Wh/L. It also enabled them to make their prototype approximately 50 percent smaller by volume than a conventional lithium-ion battery.


This promising research is expected to help drive the expansion of electric vehicles (EVs). The prototype pouch cell that the team developed would enable an EV to travel up to 800km on a single charge, and features a cycle life of over 1,000 charges.


As Dongmin Im, Master at SAIT’s Next Generation Battery Lab and the leader of the project explained, “The product of this study could be a seed technology for safer, high-performance batteries of the future. Going forward, we will continue to develop and refine all-solid-state battery materials and manufacturing technologies to help take EV battery innovation to the next level.”


The full study gives us more details than the press release.


  • Cycle life: 95 % SoH after 600 cycles and 89 % SoH after 1.000 cycles
  • Volumetric energy density: 942 Wh/L with potential to surpass 1.000 Wh/L

SoH (State of Health) is used to measure battery capacity retention.

With this kind of volumetric energy density the BMW i3, which currently uses NCM 622 battery cells from Samsung SDI, could get a 89,9 kWh battery and an approximate WLTP range of 660 km. It would still have a range of 627 km after 386.100 km [(660 + 627) / 2 x 600] and 587 km after 623.700 km [(660 + 587,4) / 2 x 1.000].


For this study Samsung used a NCM cathode, which is very common nowadays. However, solid electrolytes and lithium metal anodes can also be combined with cobalt-free cathodes, such as LFMP or LiFePO4 as we can see in other study.

Finally, it’s also great news that the solid-state battery technology seems to be closer to reach production than it was anticipated in 2016, as we can see from the battery cell roadmap below.


BMW Group Technology Workshops –E-Mobility in December 2016


The way things are heading now, it seems that in the not so distant future we’ll get solid-state batteries with lithium metal anodes combined with high energy dense cathodes (NCMA) and cobalt-free cathodes (LFMP).

You can read the full article published at Nature Energy with the unlocked Sci-Hub link below.



More info:

Pedro Lima
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4 months ago

What is the Wh/kg metric? (gravimetric energy density)

It is suspiciously missing from the article.

4 months ago
Reply to  sola

The study doesn’t mention the overall gravimetric energy density, but it does mention mAh/g in respect to the cathode:

Cathode: NCM
Voltage: 3,76 V
Gravimetric energy density: 146 mAh/g at 0,5 C (548,96 Wh/kg) and 210 mAh/g (789,6 Wh/kg) at 0,2 C

To know the gravimetric energy density of the battery cell we also need to include the weight of other materials beside the cathode, such as the anode, electrolyte and case.

However, with 200 mAh/g at the cathode level, we can reach an overall energy density of 500 Wh/kg.

See the example of Sion Power battery cells (page 14):

My very simplistic estimation for the Samsung cells of the study is 365 Wh/kg at 0,5 C and 525 Wh/kg at 0,2 C.

4 months ago

Wow, so if this technology actually works out, do you think that a potential result could be electrified flight with NCMA cathodes due to the higher energy density, and cheaper more durable long range EVs with the LFMP cathodes?

4 months ago
Reply to  Marcel

I don’t see why not, there are already some small electric planes (9 passengers) out there with current battery technology.

Battery: 920 kWh
Battery chemistry: Lithium Ion (NMC)
Battery weight: 3.600 kg (~60% MTOW)

4 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Oh yeah, I’ve seen that one before. More energy dense batteries would of course either enable more passengers or else longer range. In about 5 years the transport landscape is going to look completely different than it does now.

Carlo Marzetti
4 months ago

Interesting reading, as usual.
Especially the sentences at the bottom seem to be spot on.
During their EV Day, General Motors actually let guests have glimpses of just that.
Although GM did not mention it in the press release, Navigant Research engineer and Forbes contributor Sam Abuelsamid wrote “We were also shown a lithium metal test cell that should eventually double the energy density.”
Weirdly, he seemed to be the only one realizing that it was one of the EV Day highlights.
His story is here:

4 months ago
Reply to  Carlo Marzetti

Thanks for sharing Carlo. That’s a good article.

4 months ago

Exciting. But still a lot of questions. Any idea about thermal characteristics? Does it need cooling? Is performance affected by low / high temperatures? And how about power density and fast charging capabilities?

4 months ago
Reply to  carlos

“Given the criticality of the operating temperature in EV batteries, we investigated the effect of temperature on voltage profiles and interfacial resistances of ASSBs (Fig. 6f and Supplementary Fig. 15).
As the temperature decreased, the resistance increased, and the discharge capacity decreased accordingly. The discharge capacity at 45 °C (99.5%) was comparable to that attained at 60 °C, and the discharge capacity at 25 °C decreased to 90.7%. Encouragingly, more than 40% of the capacity was still exhibited at −10 °C. We believe that the low-temperature performance of the ASSBs can be further improved by further lowering the interfacial resistance and increasing the ion conductivity of the solid electrolyte.”

It works better with higher temperatures.

“The charge–discharge curves for a 0.6Ah pouch-type full cell at a 0.5C/0.5C charge/discharge rate (Supplementary Fig. 16) indicate that the average cell voltage was approximately 3.76V, and the discharge capacity was 146mAhg−1 , which is 70% of the discharge capacity at 0.2C (210mAhg−1). Importantly, the discharge capacity was maintained without significant decline over a long cycle and remained at 95% and 89% after 600 and 1,000 cycles, respectively.”

Power density is not that great, but it’s compensated with the high energy density.

4 months ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Thanks for the digging. Excellent. Still some work to do to make them work at ambient temperatures and probably some battery heater required. Good that overheating isn’t an issue

3 months ago

Nice to hear about the 2nd generation ev cell, very good article detailing the technology otherwise it would have been hard to know what this battery is capable of. This battery could be good for consumer electronics their smart phone line-up and would like to see them soon in their phones.

The obvious next step could be Sodium Glass for the 3rd generation ev battery, which offers even better life with 23,000 cycles with little degradation, sounds like it is a decade away.