Science & Tech
U of A chemists confirm importance of nano-sizing silicon to improve lithium ion batteries.
University of Alberta chemists have taken a critical step toward creating a new generation of silicon-based lithium ion batteries with 10 times the charge capacity of current cells.
“We wanted to test how different sizes of silicon nanoparticles could affect fracturing inside these batteries,” said Jillian Buriak, a U of A chemist and Canada Research Chair in Nanomaterials for Energy.
Silicon shows promise for building much higher-capacity batteries because it’s abundant and can absorb much more lithium than the graphite used in current lithium ion batteries. The problem is that silicon is prone to fracturing and breaking after numerous charge-and-discharge cycles, because it expands and contracts as it absorbs and releases lithium ions.
Existing research shows that shaping silicon into nano-scale particles, wires or tubes hel...