Synergic effects of the decoration of nickel oxide nanoparticles on silicon for enhanced electrochemical performance in LIBs†
Significant efforts continue to be directed toward the construction of anode materials with high specific capacity and long cycling stability for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). In this context, silicon is preferred due to its high capacity even though it has a problem of excessive volume expansion during electrochemical reactions as well as poor cyclability due to a reduction in conductivity. Hence, the hybridization of silicon with suitable materials could be a promising approach to overcome the abovementioned problems. Herein, we demonstrate the uniform decoration of nickel oxide (NiO) nanoparticles (15–20 nm) on silicon nanosheets using bis(cyclopentadienyl) nickel(II) (C10H10Ni) at low temperatures, taking advantage of the presence of two unpaired electrons in an antibonding orbital in the cyclopentadienyl group. The formation and growth mechanism are discussed in detail. The electrochemical study of the nanocomposite revealed an initial delithiation capacity of 2507 mA h g−1 with a reversible capacity of 2162 mA h g−1, having 86% retention and better cycling stability for up to 500 cycles. At the optimum concentration, NiO nanoparticles facilitate Li+-ion adsorption, which in turn accelerates the transport of Li+-ions to active sites of silicon. The Warburg coefficient and Li+-ion diffusion at the electrodes confirm the enhancement in the charge transfer process at the electrode/electrolyte interface with NiO nanoparticles. Further, the NiO nanoparticles with uniform distribution suppress the agglomeration of Si nanosheets and provide sufficient space to accommodate a volume change in Si during cycling, which also reduces the diffusion path length of the Li-ions. It also helps to strengthen the mechanical stability, which might be helpful in preventing the cracking of silicon due to volume expansion and maintains the Li-ion transport pathway of the active material, resulting in enhanced cycling stability. Due to the synergic effect between NiO nanoparticles and Si sheets, the nanocomposite delivers high reversible capacity.