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Microstructure and defect engineering of graphite anodes by pulsed laser annealing for enhanced performance of lithium-ion batteries

by Nayna Khosla, Jagdish Narayan, Roger Narayan, Xiao-guang Sun, Mariappan Paranthaman
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214 to 225

Nanosecond pulsed laser annealing significantly improves cyclability and current carrying capacity of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). This improvement is achieved by engineering of microstructure and defect contents present in graphite in a controlled way by using pulsed laser annealing (PLA) to increase the number density of Li+ ion trapping sites. The PLA treatment causes the following changes: (1) creates surface steps and grooves between the grains to improve Li+ ion charging and intercalation rates; (2) removes inactive polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF) binder from the top of graphite grains and between the grains which otherwise tends to block the Li+ migration; and (3) produces carbon vacancies in (0001) planes which can provide Li+ charging sites. From X-ray diffraction data, we find upshift in diffraction peak or reduction in planar spacing, from which vacancy concentration was estimated to be about 1.0%, which is higher than the thermodynamic equilibrium concentration of vacancies. The laser treatment creates single and multiple C vacancies which provide sites for Li+ ions, and it also produces steps and grooves for Li+ ions to enter the intercalating sites. It is envisaged that the formation of these sites enhances Li+ ion absorption during charge and discharge cycles. The current capacity increases from an average 360 mAh/g to 430 mAh/g, and C–V shows significant reduction in SEI layer formation after the laser treatment. If the vacancy concentration is too high and charge-discharge cycles are long, then trapping of electrons by Li+ may occur, which can lead to Li0 formation and Li plating causing reduction in current capacity.