Conductive Polymer Binder for High-Tap-Density Nanosilicon Material for Lithium-Ion Battery Negative Electrode Application
High-tap-density silicon nanomaterials are highly desirable as anodes for lithium ion batteries, due to their small surface area and minimum first-cycle loss. However, this material poses formidable challenges to polymeric binder design. Binders adhere on to the small surface area to sustain the drastic volume changes during cycling; also the low porosities and small pore size resulting from this material are detrimental to lithium ion transport. This study introduces a new binder, poly(1-pyrenemethyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid) (PPyMAA), for a high-tap-density nanosilicon electrode cycled in a stable manner with a first cycle efficiency of 82%—a value that is further improved to 87% when combined with graphite material. Incorporating the MAA acid functionalities does not change the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (LUMO) features or lower the adhesion performance of the PPy homopolymer. Our single-molecule force microscopy measurement of PPyMAA reveals similar adhesion strength between polymer binder and anode surface when compared with conventional polymer such as homopolyacrylic acid (PAA), while being electronically conductive. The combined conductivity and adhesion afforded by the MAA and pyrene copolymer results in good cycling performance for the high-tap-density Si electrode.