Interview with Girolamo Mincuzzi, Manager of the Micro-size laser processing group at ALPHANOV
What is the role of Alphanov within GIGAGREEN? Can you describe the main innovation the Surface modification of coated electrodes and separator will bring to the project and the battery sector?
Alphanov developed in recent years deep know-how on surface functionalisation by ultrashort pulse lasers. By using lasers, specific and well-defined modification of the material surface can be induced by tailoring interesting properties like wettability, surface-to-area ratio, tribological behavior, adhesion, etc. This means that any chemical or toxic material can be used, and the properties of the bulk material will remain unchanged, but the surface performance will be, nevertheless, boosted, transforming thus the material into a smart material. This is the know-how Alphanov would like to apply within GIGAGREEN to improve the performances of the batteries that will be developed in the project. In this sense, the company has identified two interesting points in which Alphanov’s technology can play a significant role.
Jointly with the University of Parma, Alphanov will work, on the one hand, on the improvement of active layers adhesion for both electrodes on charge collectors (Aluminium and Copper). Battery manufacturers often face problems like poor electromechanical bonding, high interface resistance, or delamination phenomena, all of them related to the adhesion of active layers on collectors. This could be a particularly critical point when to get rid of toxic solvents, the active layers use water with the result of sensibly reducing the battery performance.
On the second hand, Alphanov will develop and apply to GIGAGREEN the concept of “3D batteries”. This means that thanks to laser texturing, the surface-to-area ratio of the electrodes promoting a higher rate of ionic exchanges can be increased. Therefore, it will be possible to achieve thicker electrodes (read generate higher capacity) without a reduction of other electrical parameters.
From the point of view of the femtosecond laser community, a successful demonstration of the mentioned processes represents a true test bench to get a foothold in today a new industrial sector which faces an astonishing expansion. For this reason, the ambition is to go ahead and show that all the processes Alphanov will develop can be extended over a large area with a throughput that is compatible with industrial production.