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Quantum Sensors Research to Improve Battery Performance

By IQT News posted 23 Dec 2020

(EETimes) A project led by researchers at the University of Sussex is using a quantum-based sensor to measure battery behavior, with the expectation that the resulting data can be used to improve battery technology.
The project addresses a crucial need to increase energy density, durability and safety in batteries, thus driving the industrial revolution towards an increasingly green ecosystem. To achieve these and other green goals, intensive research and development in these areas are needed while implementing environmental policies.
In an interview with EE Times, Peter Kruger, research professor of experimental physics at the University of Sussex, highlighted how batteries seem to be the first big market for quantum battery sensors, as EVs require large battery packs with high storage capacity. “That would mean the first significant commercial impact of quantum sensors,” said Kruger.
The goal of the project is to implement quantum magnetometer technology to examine if microscopic battery current flows accurately. In this way, rapid assessments of the chemistries of new and existing batteries will accelerate the creation of superior battery technology, thereby facilitating electrification.
Kruger pointed out that there have been many cases of lithium battery failures in recent years that have made the headlines, such as the case of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. Monitoring the current flow could allow preventive actions to be taken before these battery failures occur. Quantum sensors could provide batteries with a some sort of intelligence by monitoring their health and reducing the most worn cells load.
The research group’s aim is to develop small, low-power, portable devices that require no infrastructure and minimal running costs, thus being suitable for economic production.
The academics will also work closely with CDO2, Magnetic Shields Ltd and QinetiQ to achieve their goal. Magnetic Shields Ltd will provide the magnetic noise-free environment required to allow the sensor technology to be tested with unprecedented sensitivity.
Batteries are the key to decarbonization, but improvements are needed in both chemistry and boundary technology.

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