2012 R&D 100 Winner
Blessed with high energy density and relatively economical construction, lithium-ion batteries have begun to appear in electric or hybrid vehicles. To meet the high energy-density requirement of these applications, a battery maker must either develop a high?capacity cathode or compensate for a low cathode capacity by greatly increasing the number of cells.

A new, layered manganese-nickel material, developed by Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Ill., Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea, and ECOPRO Co. Ltd., Chungbuk, South Korea, addresses this problem by providing higher energy and longer life than any other currently manufactured lithium-ion cathode technology. The High-Energy Concentration-Gradient Cathode Material for Plug-in Hybrids and All-Electric Vehicles differs from a typical lithium-ion cell in that the highly reactive material in each cathode particle is kept away from the electrolyte by an outer shell consisting of a concentration gradient. In this system, reactive nickel ions are gradually replaced by manganese ions until a manganese-rich composition is reached at the surface. This surface is highly stable with respect to the electrolyte. The gradual change in shell composition is accomplished in such a way that the layered structure of each cathode particle remains the same as the structure of the bulk core, thus maintaining lithium-ion pathways throughout the particles. In addition to up to 100% higher energy capacity, the new material also improves structural and thermal stability.

Lithium-ion cathode material

Argonne National Laboratory
Hanyang University

Development Team

Khalil Amine and Ilias Belharouak, Argonne National Laboratory











Team members from ECOPRO Co. Ltd.










Team members from Hanyang University


The High-Energy Concentration-Gradient Cathode Material for Plug-in Hybrids and All-Electric Vehicles Development Team
Khalil Amine, Principal Developer, Argonne National Laboratory
Dong Che Lee, Principal Developer, ECOPRO Co. Ltd.
Yang-Kook Sun, Principal Developer, Hanyang University
Ilias Belharouak, Argonne National Laboratory
Moon Ho Choi, ECOPRO Co. Ltd.
Hyung-Joo Noh, Hanyang University