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Small. 2009 Oct;5(20):2236-42. doi: 10.1002/smll.200900382.

Nanostructured silicon anodes for lithium ion rechargeable batteries.

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Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.


Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are integral to today's information-rich, mobile society. Currently they are one of the most popular types of battery used in portable electronics because of their high energy density and flexible design. Despite their increasing use at the present time, there is great continued commercial interest in developing new and improved electrode materials for lithium ion batteries that would lead to dramatically higher energy capacity and longer cycle life. Silicon is one of the most promising anode materials because it has the highest known theoretical charge capacity and is the second most abundant element on earth. However, silicon anodes have limited applications because of the huge volume change associated with the insertion and extraction of lithium. This causes cracking and pulverization of the anode, which leads to a loss of electrical contact and eventual fading of capacity. Nanostructured silicon anodes, as compared to the previously tested silicon film anodes, can help overcome the above issues. As arrays of silicon nanowires or nanorods, which help accommodate the volume changes, or as nanoscale compliant layers, which increase the stress resilience of silicon films, nanoengineered silicon anodes show potential to enable a new generation of lithium ion batteries with significantly higher reversible charge capacity and longer cycle life.

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