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SEPTEMBER 2023 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 33 Look for manufacturing partners that can provide detailed, comprehensive feedback on your PCB design before your prototypes are fabricated. Not all do. is will reveal yield or reliability issues with your design, improve the integrity of your production schedule, and ultimately improve the quality of the boards. e manufacturer will also be able to tell you if your design fits within their capabilities and limitations, saving endless prototyping head- aches later. Some PCB manufacturers offer multiple pro- totyping services that range from basic service all the way up to custom PCB manufacturing including DFM checks and access to experts who can advise on design improvements. Conclusion Prototyping is a necessary step on the road to production, so it's important to pick the right strategy for your project. An approach that works for one board may not be right for the next, and it will take time and experience to know which strategy is the best fit for each case. Be flexible in your approach to prototyping options. Whether you choose to etch your own prototypes in your garage or engage profes- sional experts from your PCB manufacturer, remember to plan ahead and don't get discour- aged if one prototype is not enough. DESIGN007 Matt Stevenson is vice president at Sunstone Circuits, a division of American Standard Circuits. To read past columns, click here. Lithium plating is a phenomenon that can occur in lithium-ion batteries during fast charging. It occurs when lithium ions build up on the surface of the bat- tery's negative electrode instead of intercalating into it, forming a layer of metallic lithium that contin- ues growing. This can damage the battery, shorten its lifespan, and cause short-circuits that can lead to fire and explosion. Dr. Xuekun Lu explains that lithium plating can be significantly mitigated by optimizing the microstruc- ture of the graphite negative electrode. The graphite negative electrode is made up of randomly distrib- uted tiny particles, and fine-tuning the particle and electrode morphology for a homogeneous reaction activity and reduced local lithium saturation is the key to suppress lithium plating and improve the bat- tery's performance. "Our research has revealed that the lithiation mechanisms of graphite particles vary under distinct conditions, depending on their surface morphology, size, shape and orientation. It largely affects the lith- ium distribution and the propensity of lithium plat- ing," said Dr. Lu. The study provides new insights into developing advanced fast-charging protocols by improving the understanding of the physical processes of lithium redistribution within the graphite particles during fast charging. In addition to faster charging times, the study also found that refining the microstructure of the graph- ite electrode can improve the battery's energy den- sity. This means that electric cars could travel fur- ther on a single charge. (Source: Queen Mary University of London) New Ways to Suppress Lithium Plating in Auto Batteries for Faster Charging EVs

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