A new simulation method has been developed by University of Cambridge researchers that can predict the structure and behavior of a variety of materials. The method will provide a deeper understanding of what materials to use to in making better batteries. The software predicts characteristics of materials before they are synthesized to guide and interpret experiments.
Researchers were able to successfully calculate structures of lithium silicides to better understand batteries made with silicon and have also projected new battery structures based on germanium. Experiments using lithium silicides have shown the material to be stable in physical tests predicted by the simulation method. The team will be experimenting with germanium to see if the projected structures are consistent with physical testing.