Dendritic Copper Current Collectors as a Capacity Boosting Material for Polymer-Templated Si/Ge/C Anodes in Li-Ion Batteries

Christian L. Weindl, Christian E. Fajman, Zhuijun Xu, Tianle Zheng, Gilles E. Möhl, Narendra Chaulagain, Karthik Shankar, Ralph Gilles, Thomas F. Fässler, Peter Müller-Buschbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dendritic copper offers a highly effective method for synthesizing porous copper anodes due to its intricate branching structure. This morphology results in an elevated surface area-to-volume ratio, facilitating shortened electron pathways during aqueous and electrolyte permeation. Here, we demonstrate a procedure for a time- and cost-efficient synthesis routine of fern-like copper microstructures as a host for polymer-templated Si/Ge/C thin films. Dissolvable Zintl clusters and sol-gel chemistry are used to synthesize nanoporous coating as the anode. Cyclic voltammetry (CV) with KOH as the electrolyte is used to estimate the surface area increase in the dendritic copper current collectors (CCs). Half cells are assembled and tested with battery-related techniques such as CV, galvanostatic cycling, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, showing a capacity increase in the dendritic copper cells. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is used to estimate the removal of K in the bulk after oxidizing the Zintl phase K12Si8Ge9 in the polymer/precursor blend with SiCl4. Furthermore, scanning electron microscopy images are provided to depict the thin films after synthesis and track the degradation of the half cells after cycling, revealing that the morphological degradation through alloying/dealloying is reduced for the dendritic Cu CC anodes as compared with the bare reference. Finally, we highlight this time- and cost-efficient routine for synthesizing this capacity-boosting material for low-mobility and high-capacity anode coatings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2309-2318
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number2
StatePublished - 17 Jan 2024


  • Li-ion battery
  • PS-b-PEO
  • Zintl phase
  • dendritic copper
  • sol−gel


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