Silicon has the highest theoretical capacity of any known anode material, and silicon coated carbon nanotubes (Si-CNTs) have shown promise of dramatically increasing battery capacity. However, capacity fading with cycling and low rate capability prevent widespread use. Here, three studies on differing aspects of these batteries are presented. Here, three studies on differing aspects of these batteries are presented. The first examines the rate capability of these batteries. It compares the cycling of electrodes hundreds of microns thick with and without ten micron access holes to facilitate diffusion. The holes do not improve rate capability, but thinner coatings of silicon do improve rate capability, indicating that the limiting mechanism is the diffusion through the nanoscale bulk silicon. The second attempts to enable stable cycling of anodes heavily loaded with silicon, using a novel monolithic scaffolding formed by coating vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNTs) with nanocrystalline carbon. The structure was only able to stabilize the cycling at loadings of carbon greater than 60% of the electrode by volume. These electrodes have volume capacities of ~1000 mAhr/ml and retained over 725 mAhr/ml by cycle 100. The third studies the use of an encapsulation method to stabilize the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) and exclude the electrolyte. The method was only able to stabilize cycling at loadings below 5% silicon, but exhibits specific capacities as high as 3000 mAhr/g of silicon after 20 cycles.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy



Date Submitted


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silicon, lithium ion batteries, carbon nanotubes