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Silicon electrodes are of interest to the lithium ion battery industry due to high gravimetric capacity (∼3580 mAh/g), natural abundance, and low toxicity. However, the process of alloying and dealloying during cell cycling, causes the silicon particles to undergo a dramatic volume change of approximately 280% which leads to electrolyte consumption, pulverization of the electrode, and poor cycling. In this study, the formation of an ex-situ artificial SEI on the silicon nanoparticles with citric acid has been investigated. Citric acid (CA) which was previously used as a binder for silicon electrodes was used to modify the surface of the nanoparticles to generate an artificial SEI, which could inhibit electrolyte decomposition on the surface of the silicon nanoparticles. The results suggest improved capacity retention of ∼60% after 50 cycles for the surface modified silicon electrodes compared to 45% with the surface unmodified electrode. Similar improvements in capacity retention are observed upon citric acid surface modification for silicon graphite composite/ LiCoO2 cells.

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