Free-standing electrodes, which are free from additives (binders and conductive agents) and even current collectors, are useful in terms of both application research and fundamental study. Here, we demonstrate the preparation of binder-free monolithic carbon electrodes embracing Si nanoparticles in their well-defined porous scaffolds via the one-pot sol-gel reaction followed by carbonization. The free-standing electrodes with a thickness of 150 μm work out as a high-areal-density anode for Li-ion batteries, delivering up to ca. 7 mA h cm-2. As the Si content increases, the capacity decay on cycling becomes pronounced, which is likely to associate with the fracturing and pulverization of Si nanoparticles even with the size smaller than 100 nm after long-term cycles. The thermogravimetry-mass spectrometry profile of the cycled electrode corroborates the successive electrolyte decomposition to grow solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) mainly composed of lithium alkylcarbonates, polymeric species, and LiF, rendering the electrode mass nearly double of its original state after 200 cycles. The elemental mapping analysis reveals that LiF is generated inhomogeneously in the monolithic electrodes unlike the other SEI components, resulting in the concentration gradient depending on the distance from a Li counter electrode.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces