Tin Nanoneedles: A High Performance, Cost Effective, Industry-Scalable Anode Technology for Lithium-ion Batteries

M.G. Norton, D.T. Mackay, L.A. Heersema
Washington State University, US

Keywords: lithium-ion batteries, anodes, nanomaterials

Summary:

Tin and tin alloys have shown promise as a next generation anode to replace carbon in lithium ion batteries. While tin can hold more charge than carbon, prior attempts to use it as an anode material have been unsuccessful, in part because of the large volume expansion of 300% that occurs during the lithiation/delithiation process. This volume change can be accommodated by using the tin in a one-dimensional nanostructured form (e.g., nanowire). Electroplating from a basic solution was used to grow tin nanoneedles directly onto copper substrates (the current carrier in a lithium-ion battery). The temperature of the electrolyte solution during plating is close to room temperature, which allows a wide range of substrates to be used. Furthermore, the process is both cost efficient and industry scalable. Button cells made using the nanostructured tin anode have demonstrated capacity up to 850mAh/g (the theoretical maximum capacity for tin is 994 mAh/g) with cycle stability exceeding that of other one-dimensional nanostructured anode materials.