Highly structured nano-composite anodes for secondary lithium ion batteries
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Interest in high performance portable energy devices for electronics and electric vehicles is the basis for a significant level of activity in battery research in recent history. Li-ion batteries are of particular interest due to their high energy density, decreasing cost, and adaptable form factor. A common goal of researchers is to develop new materials that will lower the cost and weight of Li-ion batteries while simultaneously improving the performance. There are several approaches to facilitate improved battery system-level performance including, but not limited to, the development of new material structures and/or chemistries, manufacturing techniques, and cell management. The performed research sought to enhance the understanding of structure-property relationships of carbon-containing composite anode materials in a Li-ion cell through extensive materials and anode performance characterization. The approach was to focus on the development of new electrode material designs to yield higher energy and power characteristics, as well as increased thermal and electrical conductivities or mechanical strength, using techniques that could be scaled for large volume manufacturing. Here, three different electrode architectures of nanomaterial composites were synthesized and characterized. Each electrode structure consisted of a carbon substrate that was conformally coated with a high Li capacity material. The dimensionality and design for each structure was unique, with each offering different advantages. The addition of an external coating to further increase the stability of high capacity materials was also investigated.