An affordable and high-performance alternative to lithium batteries in electric vehicles and other portable electronics


Long-lasting, quick-charging batteries are essential to the expansion of the electric vehicle and aerospace markets, but today’s lithium-ion batteries fall short of what is needed. They are too heavy, too expensive, and take too long to charge. Solid-state, lithium-metal batteries have become the holy grail for battery chemistry since they hold substantially more energy in the same volume and charge in a fraction of the time compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries. However, the stability of these batteries has always been poor. Lithium batteries move lithium ions from the cathode to the anode during charging. When the anode is made of lithium metal, needle-like structures called dendrites form on the surface. These structures grow like roots into the electrolyte and pierce the barrier separating the anode and cathode, causing the battery to short or even catch fire. Silicon is an attractive alternative metal that can address the safety issues of Lithium; however, until now its great potential has been overlooked.

Technology Overview

Researchers at Northeastern are developing a novel architecture consisting of an Si composite anode, along with a sulfide solid electrolyte, to greatly enhance properties of all‑solid‑state lithium batteries. Silicon has an ultrahigh room-temperature capacity, it prevents the risk of dendrite formation as seen in lithium batteries, and it is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, thus being very affordable. Sulfide solid-state electrolytes exhibit exceedingly high room-temperature ionic conductivities, which enables the solid-state battery to work without extra heating. The silicon anode composite exhibits high charge and discharge capacity, high initial columbic efficiency, and much better stability than lithium metal. Even at the high current density, the energy density of this battery is still beyond the average energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries. Both anode and cathode are stabilized by fabricating ion-conductive and electron-conductive layers, which is a scalable interface stabilization method and alleviate the side reactions with sulfide electrolytes. This is the first time that researchers have compared the merits and demerits of using a silicon anode in solid-state batteries with lithium metal. Demonstrating excellent compatibility, high processabilit, having high energy density and low cost shows the great potential of silicon to replace lithium in the practical application of solid-state batteries. 


  • Scalable
  • Suitable for large scale manufacturing
  • Low cost
  • Safe and reliable
  • High performance 


  • Electric vehicles
  • Portable electronics
  • Aerospace 


  • Research Collaboration 
  • Partnership 
  • Licensing 
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Daxian Cao
Hongli (Julie) Zhu