The primary components of a lithium-ion battery are the anode, cathode and electrolyte. Depending on material choices, lithium-ion battery voltage, energy capacity, life and safety can vary dramatically.

While cathode and electrolyte technologies have advanced over the last decade, the marketplace desperately needs a new anode to maximize overall advances in battery performance. Although graphite has been the traditional Li-ion battery anode material, silicon-based anodes are particularly attractive because they offer the highest theoretical specific energy density (4,200 mAh/g), (i.e., the most energy for a given volume). While silicon alone can absorb lithium better than any battery anode material, it breaks down after only a few cycles. OBSERVATION: “It has been well known for some time that silicon can store a great deal of lithium, an attribute that could provide a lithium battery with unprecedented storage capacity. The problem was that no one knew how to make one of those that wouldn’t self-destruct after a few dozen cycles. Technically speaking, the term is self-pulverization, which comes about as the result of the silicon swelling in size when loading up with lithium, and then shrinking back down when unloaded.” – Graphene: Tiny Particles are Making a Big Impact on Batteries

May 3rd, 2013 | Author: RP Siegel