Mussel-Inspired Conductive Polymer Binder for Si-Alloy Anode in Lithium-Ion Batteries
The excessive volume changes during cell cycling of Si-based anode in lithium ion batteries impeded its application. One major reason for the cell failure is particle isolation during volume shrinkage in delithiation process, which makes strong adhesion between polymer binder and anode active material particles a highly desirable property. Here, a biomimetic side-chain conductive polymer incorporating catechol, a key adhesive component of the mussel holdfast protein, was synthesized. Atomic force microscopy-based single-molecule force measurements of mussel-inspired conductive polymer binder contacting a silica surface revealed a similar adhesion toward substrate when compared with an effective Si anode binder, homo-poly(acrylic acid), with the added benefit of being electronically conductive. Electrochemical experiments showed a very stable cycling of Si-alloy anodes realized via this biomimetic conducting polymer binder, leading to a high loading Si anode with a good rate performance. We attribute the ability of the Si-based anode to tolerate the volume changes during cycling to the excellent mechanical integrity afforded by the strong interfacial adhesion of the biomimetic conducting polymer.