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Nanoporous Tin with a Granular Hierarchical Ligament Morphology as a Highly Stable Li-Ion Battery Anode

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posted on 07.12.2016 by John B. Cook, Eric Detsi, Yijin Liu, Yu-Lun Liang, Hyung-Seok Kim, Xavier Petrissans, Bruce Dunn, Sarah H. Tolbert
Next generation Li-ion batteries will require negative electrode materials with energy densities many-fold higher than that found in the graphitic carbon currently used in commercial Li-ion batteries. While various nanostructured alloying-type anode materials may satisfy that requirement, such materials do not always exhibit long cycle lifetimes and/or their processing routes are not always suitable for large-scale synthesis. Here, we report on a high-performance anode material for next generation Li-ion batteries made of nanoporous Sn powders with hierarchical ligament morphology. This material system combines both long cycle lifetimes (more than 72% capacity retention after 350 cycles), high capacity (693 mAh/g, nearly twice that of commercial graphitic carbon), good charging/discharging capabilities (545 mAh/g at 1 A/g, 1.5C), and a scalable processing route that involves selective alloy corrosion. The good cycling performance of this system is attributed to its nanoporous architecture and its unique hierarchical ligament morphology, which accommodates the large volume changes taking place during lithiation, as confirmed by synchrotron-based ex-situ X-ray 3D tomography analysis. Our findings are an important step for the development of high-performance Li-ion batteries.