Researchers at Northwestern University in the U.S have designed a way to use "crumpled graphene balls" to improve Li-ion batteries. The team explained that in current batteries, lithium is usually atomically distributed in another material like graphite or silicon in the anode. However, using an additional material 'dilutes' the battery's performance.
Since Lithium is a metal, it sounds logical to use lithium by itself, but researchers have spent years trying to do so without sufficient success. The biggest challenge has been that when lithium charges and discharges, it can generate dendrites and filaments, with implications for safety and reliability. The team said: "At best, it leads to rapid degradation of the battery's performance. At worst, it causes the battery to short or even catch fire."