We show that anodes made by depositing thin films of polymer-derived silicon oxycarbide (SiCO) on copper have properties that are comparable to, or better than that of powder-based SiCO anodes. The great advantage of the thin film architecture is its simplicity, both in manufacturing and in application. The films are produced by spraying a film of the liquid polymer-precursor on copper, and then converting it into SiCO by heating at ∼1000 °C; at this point they are ready for constructing electrochemical cells. They show a capacity of ∼1000 mA h g-1, 100% coulombic efficiency, good capacity at very high C-rates, and minimal fading at ∼60 cycles. However, if the films are thick they delaminate due to the volume change as lithium is cycled in and out. The transition from thin-film to thick-film behavior occurs when the SiCO films are approximately 1 μm thick. An analytical method for estimating this transition is presented. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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