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Scientists create novel silicon electrodes that improve lithium-ion batteries

June 4, 2013 — Stanford University scientists have dramatically improved the performance of lithium-ion batteries by creating novel electrodes made of silicon and conducting polymer hydrogel, a spongy material similar to that used in contact lenses and other household products.
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Writing in the June 4 edition of the journalNature Communications, the scientists describe a new technique for producing low-cost, silicon-based batteries with potential applications for a wide range of electrical devices.
“Developing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with high energy density and long cycle life is of critical importance to address the ever-increasing energy storage needs for portable electronics, electric vehicles and other technologies,” said study co-author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford.
To find a practical, inexpensive material that increases the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries, Bao and her Stanford colleagues turned to silicon — an abundant, environmentally benign element with promising electronic properties.
“We’ve been trying to develop silicon-based electrodes for high-capacity lithium-ion batteries for several years,” said study co-author Yi Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford. “Silicon has 10 times the charge storage capacity of carbon, the conventional material used in lithium-ion electrodes. The problem is that silicon expands and breaks.”

More http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604094703.htm

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