Electrochemical Study of Hollow Carbon Nanospheres as High-Rate and Low Temperature Negative Electrodes for Lithium Ion Batteries Open Access
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The continued advancements in portable electronics have demanded more advanced power sources. To date, lithium ion batteries have been the state-of-the-art for portable devices. One significant drawback of lithium ion batteries is the slow charging times and their performance at low temperatures. In this dissertation, we explore the electrochemical behavior of a new lithium ion, negative electrode active material, hollow carbon nanospheres (HCNS). HCNS are ~50 nm in diameter hollow spheres with ~5 – 10 nm graphic walls which have a nominal reversible capacity of ~220 mAh/g. We assembled and cycled HCNS as a lithium ion anode material and compared it to graphite, currently used as the anode material in most commercial lithium ion batteries. The charging mechanism of HCNS is an intercalation of the lithium ions into the graphitic walls of the spheres, similar to graphite, determined by diffraction and electroanalytical techniques. However, the HCNS electrodes cycled at much higher charge and discharge rates than graphite. Additionally, we demonstrated HCNS cycling at low temperatures (-20 *C) in electrolytes not obtainable by graphite due to material exfoliation during cycling. Although, due to the large surface area of HCNS, the first cycle coulombic losses are very high. This work has resulted in an understanding of a potentially new lithium ion battery anode material with significantly better cycling attributes than the current anode material.