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On Plastic Deformation and Fracture in Si Films during Electrochemical Lithiation/Delithiation Cycling, DOI:10.1149/2.098310jes
An in situ study of deformation, fracture, and fatigue behavior of silicon as a lithium-ion battery electrode material is presented. Thin films (100–200 nm) of silicon are cycled in a half-cell configuration with lithium metal foil as counter/reference electrode, with 1M lithium hexafluorophosphate in ethylene carbonate, diethylene carbonate, dimethyl carbonate solution (1:1:1, wt%) as electrolyte. Stress evolution in the Si thin-film electrodes during electrochemical lithiation and delithiation is measured by monitoring the substrate curvature using the multi-beam optical sensing method. The stress measurements have been corrected for contributions from residual stress arising from sputter-deposition. An indirect method for estimating the potential errors due to formation of the solid-electrolyte-interphase layer and surface charge on the stress measurements was presented. The films undergo extensive inelastic deformation during lithiation and delithiation. The peak compressive stress during lithiation was 1.48 GPa. The stress data along with the electron microscopy observations are used to estimate an upper bound fracture resistance of lithiated Si, which is approximately 9–11 J/m2. Fracture initiation and crack density evolution as a function of cycle number is also reported.