Silicon has been the subject of an extensive research effort aimed at developing new anode materials for lithium ion batteries due to its large specific and volumetric capacity. However, commercial use is limited by a number of degradation problems, many of which are related to the large volume change the material undergoes during cycling in combination with limited lithium-diffusivity. Silicon rich silicon oxides (SiOx), which converts into active silicon and inactive lithium oxide during the initial lithiation, have attracted some attention as a possible solution to these issues. In this work we present an investigation of silicon rich amorphous silicon nitride (a-SiNx) as an alternative convertible anode material. Amorphous SiN0.89 thin films deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition show reversible reactions with lithium when cycled between 0.05 and 1.0 V vs. Li+/Li. This material delivers a reversible capacity of approximately 1,200 mAh/g and exhibits excellent cycling stability, with 41 nm a-SiN0.89 thin film electrodes showing negligible capacity degradation over more than 2,400 cycles.
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