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ACS Nano. 2011 Jun 28;5(6):4800-9. doi: 10.1021/nn200770p. Epub 2011 May 10.

Controlling the lithiation-induced strain and charging rate in nanowire electrodes by coating.

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Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185, United States.


The advanced battery system is critically important for a wide range of applications, from portable electronics to electric vehicles. Lithium ion batteries (LIBs) are presently the best performing ones, but they cannot meet requirements for more demanding applications due to limitations in capacity, charging rate, and cyclability. One leading cause of those limitations is the lithiation-induced strain (LIS) in electrodes that can result in high stress, fracture, and capacity loss. Here we report that, by utilizing the coating strategy, both the charging rate and LIS of SnO(2) nanowire electrodes can be altered dramatically. The SnO(2) nanowires coated with carbon, aluminum, or copper can be charged about 10 times faster than the noncoated ones. Intriguingly, the radial expansion of the coated nanowires was completely suppressed, resulting in enormously reduced tensile stress at the reaction front, as evidenced by the lack of formation of dislocations. These improvements are attributed to the effective electronic conduction and mechanical confinement of the coatings. Our work demonstrates that nanoengineering the coating enables the simultaneous control of electrical and mechanical behaviors of electrodes, pointing to a promising route for building better LIBs.


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