Enhanced lithiation and fracture behavior of silicon mesoscale pillars via atomic layer coatings and geometry design

J. C. Ye, Y. H. An, T. W. Heo, M. M. Biener, R. J. Nikolic, M. Tang, Hanqing Jiang, Y. M. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Crystalline silicon nanostructures are commonly known to exhibit anisotropic expansion behavior during the lithiation that leads to grooving and fracture. Here we report surprisingly relatively uniform volume expansion behavior of large aspect-ratio (∼25), well-patterned, n-type (100) silicon micropillars (∼2 μm diameter) during the initial lithiation. The comparison results with and without atomic layer metal oxides (Al 2O3 and TiO2) coatings reveal drastically enhanced solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) formation, higher volume expansion, and increased anisotropy. Square-pillars are found to exhibit nearly twice volume expansion without fracture compared to circular-pillars. Models are invoked to qualitatively address these beneficial or detrimental properties of silicon for lithium ion battery. Our experiments and computer simulations point at the critical relevance of SEI and pristine geometry in regulating volume expansion and failure. ALD-coated ultrathin metal oxides can act as an ion channel gate that helps promote fast Li+ transport into the bulk by changing the surface kinetics, suggesting new ways of designing electrodes for high-performance lithium ion battery applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - 2014


  • Atomic layer deposition
  • Fast lithium ion transport
  • Lithium ion battery
  • Silicon micropillars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Enhanced lithiation and fracture behavior of silicon mesoscale pillars via atomic layer coatings and geometry design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this