inductors greater than the state of the art. The magnetics are tunable to a remarkable degree, presenting the possibility for improved voltage gain. This is one of the division’s most remarkable successes, with potential application to a fundamental Army need for miniature size and weight of power supplies.
SEDD’s work on high-performance and high-value passives has significantly advanced the state of the art. In particular, SEDD has demonstrated a miniature on-chip inductor fabricated by thick electroplating with high quality factors and high inductance density, which is the enabling technology for microscale power conversion technology.
Smart Grid Technology
SEDD researchers have begun building the tools and components necessary to implement smart grid technology in the tactical Army environment. They are building a hardware test and experimentation facility to model the tactical command post’s integrated electrical power environment. Equipment includes a real-time digital simulator (RTDS)—cutting-edge equipment in the public electric utility industry—to enhance flexibility. SEDD has partnered with other agencies, notably the Department of Energy, for specific proposals, which aligns with the anticipated technology handoff to the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), which already has initiatives to do the tactical integration and networking.
Related work in intelligent power management, energy harvesting, and micro-grid implementations has shown results that will enable soldiers to increase their reliance on electrical/electronic devices by reducing the weight loads on their shoulders.
Significant progress has been made in the area of fuel cells. In particular, a field test of an M100 direct methanol fuel cell system demonstrated that fuel cells can provide a high energy density, that will reduce logistics and provide both cost savings and weight savings. The new MSME CRA on electronic materials and electrochemical systems will substantially impact this program, and it will leverage computational expertise in academia with the experimental expertise at ARL.
SEDD researchers have developed an additive to the electrolyte of lithium-ion batteries that modifies the solid electrolyte interface/interphase (SEI) layer chemistry and improves its stability, which has helped SEDD demonstrate the excellent voltage stability of Li-ion cells. This effort also involved computational work that proposed a reaction mechanism for the formation of the SEI layer. This is a good example of joint computational and experimental work.
Work on the Li-Air battery also produced promising results toward developing a low-cost non-precious-metal-based catalyst: the developed catalyst lifted the discharge voltage by at least 0.2 V, improved discharge rate capability, and reduced cell reaction activation energy. Work on Li-La-Zr-oxide doped with Al to stabilize the cubic phase as solid electrolyte for lithium-based batteries also shows significant promise.