Alloying materials are good candidates for Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). In comparison with conventional carbonaceous anodes, the formation of Li alloys may warrant larger specific capacity and higher power density due to superior lithium diffusivity. However, the single metal electrodes (e.g., Sn or Zn) are fragile upon cycling: the volume changes typically associated with lithiation and delithiation may cause their rapid collapse. Intermetallic compounds MxM’y can offer an improved cyclability due to their better ability in accommodating the strain associated with Li insertion and deinsertion.
Porous alloys with hierarchical porosity and open, ramified micro/nanostructures may be particularly suitable for application due to easy solution permeation, fast interfacial kinetics and large capacity/energy density. This paper presents the synthesis of porous Cu-Zn alloys by electrochemical deposition with the Dynamic Hydrogen Bubble Template (DHBT) method. The Zn-rich materials show interesting room T performances as electrodes in Li-Ion batteries. Of particular value their ability to retain good performances at low temperature, where carbonaceous materials like graphite fail.

Top. Scheme (a) illustrating the DHBT electrodeposition at high current density with H2 evolution. SEM images (b) of a Cu18Zn82 sample showing macroscopic porosity and nano-dendritic structure.
Bottom. Comparison of low T performances of Cu18Zn82 and commercial graphite (current load : 0.1 A g-1): potential profiles (c) and capacity retention (d).

A. Varzi, L. Mattarozzi, S. Cattarin, P. Guerriero, S. Passerini
3D porous Cu-Zn Alloys as Alternative Anode Materials for Li-Ion Batteries with Superior Low T Performance
Adv. Energy Mater. (2017) 1701706.