Toward an Ideal Polymer Binder Design for High-Capacity Battery Anodes
The dilemma of employing high-capacity battery materials and maintaining the electronic and mechanical integrity of electrodes demands novel designs of binder systems. Here, we developed a binder polymer with multifunctionality to maintain high electronic conductivity, mechanical adhesion, ductility, and electrolyte uptake. These critical properties are achieved by designing polymers with proper functional groups. Through synthesis, spectroscopy, and simulation, electronic conductivity is optimized by tailoring the key electronic state, which is not disturbed by further modifications of side chains. This fundamental allows separated optimization of the mechanical and swelling properties without detrimental effect on electronic property. Remaining electronically conductive, the enhanced polarity of the polymer greatly improves the adhesion, ductility, and more importantly, the electrolyte uptake to the levels of those available only in nonconductive binders before. We also demonstrate directly the performance of the developed conductive binder by achieving full-capacity cycling of silicon particles without using any conductive additive.