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Unique mussel wet-adhesion improves lithium-ion battery performance

(Nanowerk Spotlight) Binders are used in fabricating lithium-ion batteries to hold the active material particles together and in contact with the current collectors. The characteristics of the binder material used are critical for the performance of the battery.
The anode is a critical component for storing energy in lithium-ion batteries. Silicon has recently attracted considerable attention as an anode material in lithium battery technology due to its unparalleled capacity, which is about ten-fold higher than those of the conventional graphite anodes. Despite the excellent capacity, however, silicon suffers from short cycle life. The cycle life of silicon is typically less than a couple hundred of charge-discharge cycles limiting its application.
The reason for the limited cycle life is poor film stability because silicon – during its reaction with lithium ions – undergoes a very large volume expansion by up to 300% during charge and discharge.
And this is where the binders come into play. To minimize the side effects of the large volume expansion, the binders included in the electrode films (both cathodes and anodes) play a critical role in maintaining stable electrode structures over a large number of cycles. Although intensive research related to binders has been performed, the success has been limited.
In an effort to make a highly functional binder, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), led by associate professors Jang Wook Choi and Haeshin Lee, have developed polymers conjugated with mussel-inspired functional groups (catechol groups). Catechol was found to play a decisive role in the exceptional wetness-resistant adhesion.
The results have been published in the [date] online edition of Advanced Materials (“Mussel-inspired Adhesive Binders for High Performance Silicon Nanoparticle Anodes in Li-Ion Batteries”), first-authored by Myung-Hyun Ryou. The results suggests that the binder plays a critical role in the operation of pure silicon and silicon-graphite composite anodes.



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