Unravelling the Reaction Mechanism of SiO Anodes for Liion Batteries by Combining in situ 7Li and ex situ 7Li/29 Si Solid-state NMR Spectroscopy

Keitaro Kitada, Oliver Pecher, Pieter C.M.M. Magusin, Matthias F. Groh, Robert Weatherup, Clare P. Grey

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    Abstract

    Silicon monoxide is a promising alternative anode material due to its much higher capacity than graphite, and improved cyclability over other Si anodes. An in-depth analysis of the lithium silicide (LixSi) phases that form during lithiation/delithiation of SiO is presented here and the results are compared with pure-Si anodes. A series of anode materials is first prepared by heating amorphous silicon monoxide (a-SiO) at different temperatures, X-ray diffraction and 29Si NMR analysis revealing that they comprise small Si domains that are surrounded by amorphous SiO2, the domain size and crystallinity growing with heat treatment. In and ex situ 7Li and 29Si solid-state NMR combined with detailed electrochemical analysis reveals that a characteristic metallic LixSi phase is formed on lithiating a-SiO with a relatively high Li concentration of x = 3.4-3.5, which is formed/decomposed through a continuous structural evolution involving amorphous phases differing in their degree of Si-Si connectivity. This structural evolution differs from that of pure-Si electrodes where the end member, crystalline Li15Si4, is formed/decomposed through a two-phase reaction. The reaction pathway of SiO depends, however, on the size of the ordered Si domains within the pristine material. When crystalline domains of 5 nm within a SiO2 matrix are present, a phase resembling Li15Si4 forms, albeit at a higher overpotential. The continuous formation/decomposition of amorphous LixSi phases without the hysteresis and phase change associated with the formation of c-Li15Si4, along with a partially electrochemically active SiO2/lithium silicate buffer layer, are paramount for the good cyclability of a-SiO.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAmerican Chemical Society. Journal
    Early online date9 Apr 2019
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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