NanoDay 2020 Poster 11 – Utkarsh Ahuja

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Surface Engineered Si Nanoparticles with Increased Mechanical, Electrochemical Stability as Anode for Li-ion Battery

Utkarsh Ahuja

Authors: Utkarsh Ahuja, Bo Wang, Pu Hu, Katerina Aifantis

Faculty Mentor: Katerina Aifantis, PhD

College: College of Engineering

Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Numerous experimental studies suggest that the capacity decay of Si porous electrodes is related to significant fracture they undergo during the lithiation/de-lithiation process. In this work modeling and surface engineering of nanosized Si were employed to synthesize nanocomposites with an enhanced electrode integrity. Initially, a multiphysics model was applied to predict the size of the Si particles that will limit damage formation. The model was experimentally verified by ex-situ scanning electron microscopy experiments, which showed for the first-time fracture of Si microparticles. Si particles less than 100 nm were predicted to be mechanically stable during lithiation, and to further increase their stability, a facile one-step in-situ polymerization process was used to synthesize Si/Polymer (Si/P) nanocomposites. The polymer uniformly coated the Si nanoparticles with a thickness of 1.5-2 nm. The as-obtained nanocomposites had a higher capacity than similar Si/P composites reported previously, which was 2000 mAh/g at ~700 mA/g and retained 66% after 100 cycles. A 15% higher capacity retention was observed for Si/P nanocomposite electrode when compared with pure Si electrode. The enhanced capacity retention of nanocomposite electrode can be attributed to the engineered polymeric layer which can buffer the expansion upon alloying and enables formation of a stable solid electrolyte interface layer. Scanning electron microscopy images and elemental mapping showed that the polymer layer also enhanced the adhesion of the nanocomposite electrode with the current collector.


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