Paul V. Braun

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, USA

Lithium-ion battery electrodes are nearly universally formed via tape casting of a slurry containing a mixture of active material, binder, and conductive carbon. However, the electrochemical and mechanical properties of slurry cast electrodes are often limited by weak interconnections between particles and between the particles and the substrate. We suggest conformal electrodeposition of high-quality electrode materials would provide opportunities to enhance battery performance (energy density, power density, and flexibility) and broaden the scope of available electrode form factors (size, shape, porosity, and 3D integration). We have now made considerable advances in the direct electrodeposition at modest temperatures of high performance tin-based Li-ion anodes and LiCoO2, NaCoO2, LiMn2O4, and Al-doped LiCoO2-based Li-ion cathodes. The electrolytically active materials were formed either as solid films, or where significant volume changes upon cycling are present, via a templating process, as a 3D mesostructured film. The capacities are near-theoretical, and in the case of the electroplated oxides, the crystallinities and electrochemical capacities of the oxides are comparable to powders synthesized at much higher temperatures (700 ~ 1000°C). The electrodeposition method significantly broadens the scope of battery form factors and functionalities, enabling a variety of highly desirable battery properties including microbatteries, and high energy, high power, and flexible designs.