Advanced materials are central to the innovation of cutting-edge battery technologies, a cornerstone in the global transition to green energy. These materials are highly susceptible to regular air and therefore cannot be transported without proper protection. Temple University partnered with Ephemeron Labs Inc. to protect air-sensitive battery components during transit between labs.
"As many industries transition to green technology, the importance of batteries is well understood,” says Dmitriy Dikin, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Temple University. However, the intricate process of handling sensitive materials during battery research is generally less understood. These materials are often developed in specialized environments to maintain their integrity and protect them from external influences. Exposing battery components to oxygen and moisture for a fraction of a second can dramatically alter their properties and, as a result, their unique performance.
“Many materials are synthesized inside what we call a ‘glove box’ (a sealed enclosure) and need to be taken out and moved to other experimental and diagnostic apparatus, sometimes even shipped to another university," says Dikin.
While some options to transport air-sensitive materials exist on the market, Dikin says they are either too expensive or too specialized for most researchers. The need for an affordable, versatile, and user-friendly material-handling device became evident. Dikin’s team partnered with Ephemeron Labs Inc., based in Philadelphia, PA, to develop a portable, airtight transfer module.
“Our project's goal is to create an affordable, compact, user-friendly device,” Dikin says. His team’s ambition is to make this innovation universally compatible at one-third of the production cost of traditional devices. Achieving this goal will alleviate material transport costs for researchers, ultimately accelerating battery technology development across different labs.
This project will allow us to break through a critical barrier to investigating battery materials, supporting the growing research focus both within Pennsylvania and across the United States.Terrence McGuckin, CEO, Ephemeron Labs Inc.
“Manufacturing yield is crucial for sustainable business development and for supporting increased electrification usage in the industrial and transportation sectors,” says Terrence McGuckin, CEO of Ephemeron Labs Inc. “We expect this invention to greatly enhance yield and accelerate process development and deployment for lithium batteries and other materials for electrochemical storage.”
The collaboration of academia and industry not only addresses a logistical issue but also contributes to the global shift towards sustainable energy solutions.
“This project will allow us to break through a critical barrier to investigating battery materials, supporting the growing research focus both within Pennsylvania and across the United States,” McGuckin says.