Open Access Nano Express

Lithium ion storage between graphenes

Yue Chan* and James M Hill

Author Affiliations

Nanomechanics Group, School of Mathematical Sciences, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:203  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-203

Published: 9 March 2011

Abstract

In this article, we investigate the storage of lithium ions between two parallel graphene sheets using the continuous approximation and the 6-12 Lennard-Jones potential. The continuous approximation assumes that the carbon atoms can be replaced by a uniform distribution across the surface of the graphene sheets so that the total interaction potential can be approximated by performing surface integrations. The number of ion layers determines the major storage characteristics of the battery, and our results show three distinct ionic configurations, namely single, double, and triple ion forming layers between graphenes. The number densities of lithium ions between the two graphenes are estimated from existing semi-empirical molecular orbital calculations, and the graphene sheets giving rise to the triple ion layers admit the largest storage capacity at all temperatures, followed by a marginal decrease of storage capacity for the case of double ion layers. These two configurations exceed the maximum theoretical storage capacity of graphite. Further, on taking into account the charge-discharge property, the double ion layers are the most preferable choice for enhanced lithium storage. Although the single ion layer provides the least charge storage, it turns out to be the most stable configuration at all temperatures. One application of the present study is for the design of future high energy density alkali batteries using graphene sheets as anodes for which an analytical formulation might greatly facilitate rapid computational results.