Graphene Cages Cover Silicon Anodes for High Capacity Batteries
Ever since researchers first discovered that the charge life of Li-ion batteries could be improved by a factor of ten by replacing graphite on the anodes with silicon, there has been a steady stream of research aimed at making silicon actually work as an anode material in real-world batteries.
This has not been easy. The main problem has been that as they take on charge, the anodes swell enormously; when they discharge, they shrink, and the silicon cracks. Another issue has been that when lithium ions travel from anode to cathode through the electrolyte, they create a coating on the electrodes that reduces the battery’s performance.
One researcher who has been focused on developing a practical silicon-based anode is Yi Cui from both Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Now Cui and a team of researchers from both Stanford and SLAC have developed a new approach to using silicon in the anodes of Li-ion batteries—one that might not only be technologically possible, but also commercially viable.