Unique Carbon-Coated Cathodes Improve Electrical Conductivity (ANL-IN-09-043)

Stage: Prototype

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a coating process for cathodes that improves their electrical conductivity. This procedure, which uses carbon precursors, has proved superior to conventional methods that involve high temperatures and other extremes during the manufacturing process.

A team of Argonne researchers, led by inventors Khalil Amine and Ali Abouimrane, has developed a unique coating process that improves the conductivity of cathodes. The process consists of suspending or dissolving an electro-active material and a carbon precursor in a solvent and then depositing the carbon precursor on the electro-active material to form a carbon-coated electro-active material.

The process dispenses with the high temperature, pressure, and manufacturing extremes common in conventional chemical vapor deposition and other pyrolysis methods. When carbon-coated metal oxides (for electro-active materials) are prepared, the metal oxide often reduces to the metal species. Argonne’s method can produce carbon-coated metal oxides without the problems associated with reductions. The carbon precursor can be graphene, graphene oxide, carbon nanotubes, their derivatives, or a combination of any two or more such carbon precursors.

Applications and Industries

Coatings for electrodes used in batteries for

  • Electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
  • Portable electronic devices
  • Medical devices
  • Space, aeronautical, and defense-related devices


  • Can be charged and discharged faster than non-coated materials
  • Carbon coating assures that metal oxide will not reduce to the metal species
  • Improves electronic conductivity
  • High capacity and high current rate ideal for use in lithium batteries