5 years ago

Atomistic Origins of High Capacity and High Structural Stability of Polymer-Derived SiOC Anode Materials

Atomistic Origins of High Capacity and High Structural Stability of Polymer-Derived SiOC Anode Materials
Kejie Zhao, Hong Sun
Capacity and structural stability are often mutually exclusive properties of electrodes in Li-ion batteries (LIBs): a gain in capacity is usually accompanied by the undesired large volumetric change of the host material upon lithiation. Polymer-derived ceramics, such as silicon oxycarbide (SiOC) of hybrid Si–O–C bonds, show an exceptional combination of high capacity and superior structural stability. We investigate the atomistic origins of the unique chemomechanical performance of carbon-rich SiOC using the first-principles theoretical approach. The atomic model of SiOC is composed of continuous Si–O–C units caged by a graphene-like cellular network and percolated nanovoids. The segregated sp2 carbon network serves as the backbone to maintain the structural stability of the lattice. Li insertion is first absorbed at the nanovoid sites, and then it is accommodated by the SiOC tetrahedral units, excess C atoms, and topological defects at the edge of or within the segregated carbon network. SiOC expands up to 22% in volumetric strain at the fully lithiated capacity of 1230 mA h/g. We examine in great detail the evolution of the microscopic features of the SiOC molecule in the course of Li reactions. The first-principles modeling provides a fundamental understanding of the physicochemical properties of Si-based glass ceramics for their application in LIBs.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsami.7b10906

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b10906

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