Commercial micrometer silicon (Si) powder was investigated as a potential anode material for lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. The characterization of this powder showed the mean particle size of approx.75.2 nm, BET surface area of 10.6 m2/
g and average pore size of 0.56 nm. Its band gap was estimated to 1.35 eV as determined using UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectra. In order to increase the surface area and porosity which is important for Li-ion batteries, the starting Si powder was ball-milled and threatened by metal-assisted chemical etching. The mechanochemical treatment resulted in decrease of the particle size from 75 nm to 29 nm, an increase of the BET surface area and average pore size to 16.7 m2
/g and 1.26 nm, respectively, and broadening of the X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) lines. The XRD patterns of silver metal-assisted chemical etching (MACE) sample showed strong and narrow diffraction lines typical for powder silicon and low-intensity diffraction lines typical for silver. The metal-assisted chemical etching of starting Si material resulted in a decrease of surface area to 7.3 m2
/g and an increase of the average pore size to 3.44 nm. These three materials were used as the anode material in lithium-ion cells, and their electrochemical properties were investigated by cyclic voltammetry and galvanostatic charge-discharge cycles. The enhanced electrochemical performance of the sample prepared by MACE is attributed to increase in pore size, which are large enough for easy lithiation. These are the positive aspects of the application of MACE in the development of an anode material for Li-ion batteries.
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