Jo, Groombridge, De La Verpilliere, Lee, Son, Liang, Boies, De Volder (2020) Continuous-Flow Synthesis of Carbon-Coated Silicon/Iron Silicide Secondary Particles for Li-Ion Batteries ACS nano 14(1) 698-707
The development of better Li-ion battery (LIB) electrodes requires an orchestrated effort to improve the active materials as well as the electron and ion transport in the electrode. In this paper, iron silicide is studied as an anode material for LIBs because of its higher conductivity and lower volume expansion compared to pure Si particles. In addition, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) can be synthesized from the surface of iron-silicides using a continuous flow coating process where precursors are first spray dried into micrometer-scale secondary particles and are then flown through a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) reactor. Some CNTs are formed inside the secondary particles, which are important for short-range electrical transport and good utilization of the active material. Surface-bound CNTs on the secondary particles may help establish a long-range conductivity. We also observed that these spherical secondary particles allow for better electrode coating quality, cyclability, and rate performance than unstructured materials with the same composition. The developed electrodes retain a gravimetric capacity of 1150 mAh/g over 300 cycles at 1A/g as well as a 43% capacity retention at a rate of 5 C. Further, blended electrodes with graphite delivered a 539 mAh/g with high electrode density (∼1.6 g/cm3) and areal capacity (∼3.5 mAh/cm2) with stable cycling performance.