Gao Liu at LBNL has developed a new kind of composite anode based on silicon that can absorb eight times the lithium of current Li-ion batteries and maintains a high capacity of 2100 mAh/g in Si after 650 cycles. The key to such improved cyclability is a tailored polymer with dual functionality: it conducts electricity and binds closely to silicon particles as they undergo more than a 300% volume change during the lithiation process (Figure 1).
More information on the chemistry and characterization of the new conductive polymer binder can be found in the following LBNL News Release: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2011/09/23/better-li-ion-batteries/. The research team reported its findings in Advanced Materials, available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201102421/abstract.
This conductive polymer binder technology has been awarded a $240,000 grant from the University of California’s Discovery proof-of-concept grant program to accelerate its entrance into the marketplace.