Advanced Materials, Vol.28, No.27, 5696-5704, 2016
Advances in the Application of Silicon and Germanium Nanowires for High-Performance Lithium-Ion Batteries
Li-alloying materials such as Si and Ge nanowires have emerged as the forerunners to replace the current, relatively low-capacity carbonaceous based Li-ion anodes. Since the initial report of binder-free nanowire electrodes, a vast body of research has been carried out in which the performance and cycle life has significantly progressed. The study of such electrodes has provided invaluable insights into the cycling behavior of Si and Ge, as the effects of repeated lithiation/delithiation on the material can be observed without interference from conductive additives or binders. Here, some of the key developments in this area are looked at, focusing on the problems encountered by Li-alloying electrodes in general (e.g., pulverization, loss of contact with current collector etc.) and how the study of nanowire electrodes has overcome these issues. Some key nanowire studies that have elucidated the consequences of the alloying/dealloying process on the morphology of Si and Ge are also considered, in particular looking at the impact that effects such as pore formation and lithium-assisted welding have on performance. Finally, the challenges for the practical implementation of nanowire anodes within the context of the current understanding of such systems are discussed.